Lady Vikings stop Loy Norrix

Published 6:17 pm Friday, December 21, 2007

By By STEVE MORRISON / Niles Daily Star
NILES – The Loy Norrix Knights of Kalamazoo invaded Niles High School Friday night with the intent of squeezing the life out of Jim Arnold's Lady Vikings with their full-court press.
Niles rallied from a 28-24 halftime deficit to knock off previously undefeated Loy Norrix 50-40.
The Lady Knights entered the contest with a flawless 5-0 record.
During the first quarter the Knights' defense was quicker and faster than the home team, causing hurried passes and multiple turnovers by the young Lady Viking squad. Niles turned the ball over 12 times in the first half compared to Loy Norrix's six miscues.
The visitors surmounted a 17-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Niles center Baysia Cox ran into foul trouble early, forcing Arnold to save her for later on the bench. That misfortune turned out to be a blessing in disguise as her replacement, Courtney Teske came off of the bench to score nine of Niles' 15 points in the second quarter on four driving lay-ups and one free throw after being fouled. Teske's hard-nosed effort brought the Vikes to a four point deficit at the half, 28-24.
Cox came back in the third quarter to score Niles first three field goals of the period, with three inside powerful field goals. Teske then drove in two more baskets, with Lindsay Craig registering two buckets and a free throw. With that surge, the Niles team had taken a narrow 40-38 lead.
In the fourth stanza the Vikings played solid ball control, while limiting the Knights to a paltry to points, both on free throws. With superb passing and excellent shot selection they wore down the Norrix double teaming press. Autumn Lucero came off the sideline to drive for two buckets off of the glass as Niles penetrated the Knight defense to make it 44-38 Niles.
A fast break bomb from Ashley Pingel to Teske for a picturesque lay-up kept the Vikes ahead at 46-40. Craig's four of six at the line thwarted the Knight's attempts to foul the Vikes and catch up by creating a pressure free throw situation. Niles' scrambling defense blocked the Knights out of the middle and forced the visitors to make unsuccessful 3-point launches.
The Vikings "held on" to the ball and the victory.
Arnold was delighted with his team's strong second half comeback.
"We put ourselves in a position to have a chance. I thought the kids executed down the stretch perfectly. Lindsay nailed the free throws at the end. I felt we did a good job overall protecting the basketball when we went to a four-minute freeze. We were just determined to get them to foul. We could run the clock and we cold run some precious minutes off. The more we had the basketball, the more they played into our hands. We played the last three minutes extremely well. Courtney stepped up really big for us. Courtney had a double, double for us. She had 11 rebounds to go with her career-high 19 points," Arnold assessed.
Andrea Hughes 5 0-0 10; Janell Smith 1 0-0 3; Barbara Johnson 1 0-0 2; LaShana Johnson 2 1-2 5; Sharday Hughes 1 1-2 3; Talisha Bridges 4 6-8 14; Elexis Buchanan 1 1-2 3
Alyssa Pingel 0 2-4 2; Lindsay Craig 3 5-8 11; Kaitlyn Touhey 1 0-2 2; Kaliegh Hill 0 2-2 2; Autumn Lucero 3 2-2 8; Nathalie Lund 0 0-0 0; Courtney Teske 9 1-1 19; Jenna Grannell 0 0-0 0; Baysia Cox 3 0-0 6
Loy Norrix 17 11 10 2 – 40
Niles 9 15 16 10 – 50
3-point baskets: Smith (LN). Total fouls: Loy Norrix 17, Niles 14. Fouled out: None