Benton Harbor Tigers maul Niles Lady Vikings, 49-29

Published 5:06 pm Friday, December 14, 2007

By By STEVE MORRISON / Niles Daily Star
NILES – The Lady Vikings basketball team started out with a roar, mounting an early 4-0 lead at Niles High School on Friday night.
Nichole Sly and Courtney Teske made two successive nifty lay-ups, and Niles was looking good at the outset.
Then the Benton Harbor Tigers stormed right back with a barrage that sunk the Viking ship 49-29.
The quick and tough Tiger defensive attack was a barricade that allowed the Niles offense few opportunities to score.
Benton Harbor's 6-foot-2 junior forward, Destiny Williams accounted for nearly half of her team's offense with 23 points, including several of her 10 instant replay field goals. Courtney Webb added 15 for the visitors, including two second half rocket-like threes.
Niles knew that it was up for a tough test of their mettle as Benton Harbor entered the game 5-0. The Tigers' ferocious defense forced 15 Viking turnovers in the first half.
Niles made some well-calculated drives to the basket, but they often hurried shots off the glass, from inside, that wouldn't drop through the cylinder. Baysia Cox scored four field goals to rally her Niles teammates, but the Niles junior center couldn't do it by herself. Lindsay Craig added eight points, including Niles only trey of the evening.
Nichole Sly, Kaitlyn Touhey and Courtney Teske hustled all that they could to thwart the visitors' attack, but the Tigers were in control.
The Vikes had some chances, early in the third quarter, to draw closer. Craig's driving lay-up to begin the frame was a masterpiece, but the Vikes missed two easy inside shots that could have brought them within one at 20-19.
Stymied by the Tigers' quick attack, Niles committed 19 fouls, compared to the visitors' nine. Benton Harbor converted 11-of-18 shots from the line. Niles had few charity opportunities, dropping four-of-six.
The Lady Vikings' record now stands at an even 3-3 on the year, while the Benton Harbor mark, under Coach Lou Harvey, remains unblemished at 6-0.
Coach Jim Arnold reviewed the game. Although he was disappointed, he was positive with the grit of his team. He was pleased that his charges never let up on their efforts.
"We had some chances, but we missed some early in the second half. With only two seniors and a group of aggressive underclassmen they will improve," he said.
George Brawley's junior varsity Vikings downed their opponents 56-34.
Led by Lindsay Lucero's 16 points, they looked in control all of the way. Shannon McKeel sank nine, while Demi Schrader and Alexis McIntee both contributed eight.
"We were playing good defense. Like I say, the kids were doing a heck of a job. This could be the best JV team that I've had, to play defense. We have three freshmen that rotate. We have two juniors, and four sophomores; so they all play well. Strictly team, just a good team effort."
In freshmen action, the Niles squad crushed Benton Harbor 44-4, bringing its record to 4-2.
Alyse Hoyt was beaming about the play of her team. She refused to single out any individuals, but, like Brawley, was pleased with the collective effort of her charges.
"For the second game in a row everyone on the team scored," Hoyt stated with satisfaction.
Leading scorers among the frosh were Savannah Wolnik with 12 and Whitney Ellis, who had nine points.
Timisha Napier 0 1-2 1; Olivia Askew 0 0-0 0; Courtney Webb 4 5-6 15; Destiny Williams 10 3-6 23; Deborah Meeks 2 2-4 6; Kalisha Wooden 0 0-0 0; Iesha Ellis 2 0-0 4
Alyssa Pingel 0 0-0 0; Lindsay Craig 3 1-2 8; Nichole Sly 2 0-0 4; Kaitlynn Touhy 0 0-0 0; Autumn Lucero 1 0-0 2; Courtney Teske 22-2 6; Jenna Grannell 0 0-0 0; Baysia Cox 4 1-2 9
Benton Harbor 9 11 9 20 – 49
Niles 6 6 7 10 – 29
3-point baskets: Courtney Webb (BH) 2, Lindsay Craig (N). Team fouls: Niles 19, Benton Harbor 9