Vikings tame Tigers
Published 11:19 pm Friday, January 21, 2011
A slow start couldn’t keep the Niles girls’ basketball team from defeating Benton Harbor Friday night in Big 16 West Division action as the Vikings honored their seniors.
The Vikings, winners of two straight, overcame a sluggish first half to defeat the Tigers 66-31.
Niles and Benton Harbor were knotted at 10-10 after one period of play and tied at 13-13 midway through the second quarter before the Vikings went on a 12-7 run to end the first half.
Niles took a 25-20 lead into the locker room and would never be headed by the Tigers again.
“You know, I didn’t think much about it at the time, but what I thought was a key play was when Mo (Maureen Craig) snuck in there and got that steal and scored to put us up by five,” Niles coach Patrick Touhey said. “It was a little bit of a momentum thing going into halftime.”
The Vikings erupted for 20 third quarter points and blew the game open behind the play of seniors Nichole Sly and Alexis McIntee, who was saddle with foul trouble in the opening half.
Sly, who earlier in the day signed to continue her basketball career at Indiana University-South Bend (see related story page 7), scored six points in the quarter, while McIntee had seven of her 11 points.
Craig, who was quite in the opening 16 minutes of play, canned a pair of 3-pointers that helped turn the game into a rout.
While the Vikings were having very little trouble finding the basket, the Tigers struggled at the offensive end and were limited to one shot on most of their trips down the floor.
Benton Harbor managed just four baskets in the third quarter, the last coming at 3:23 to play to cut the lead to 33-28.
Niles finished the third quarter on a 12-0 run, which helped turn a five-point halftime advantage into a 45-28 lead heading into the final quarter.
The offense was even better in the fourth quarter as the Vikings pumped in 21 points to finish with a 41-point second half.
The lead reached 21 on a basket by Whitney Ellis with 6:50 to play and it kept growing as Benton Harbor just couldn’t buy a basket and finished with just three points in the quarter and 11 points in the final 16 minutes.
Sly led the Vikings with a game-high 27 points. Niles also got 10 points from Craig.
“Nichole had a great game today,” Touhey said. “She had her way out there. She found a lot of seems. We spread them out on purpose thinking their help defense wouldn’t be as strong as it needed to be, so she got a lot of opportunities.”
Tiara Allen-Greer led the Tigers with 10 points. She was the lone Benton Harbor player to reach double figures.
Damonica Buford, the Tigers’ leading scorer, finished with four points. She sustained an injury in the first half that limited her minutes.
BENTON HARBOR 31
Damonica Buford 1 2-2 4; Tiara Allen-Greer 5 0-0 10; Melody Willis 2 0-0 4; Deseray Grant 3 0-0 7; Ashley Lewis 1 0-0 2; Asia Buford 0 1-2 1; Nashaye Sutton 1 0-0 3. TOTALS: 13 3-4 31
Starr Ford 0 0-0 0; Alex McIntee 2 4-4 11; Savannah Wolnik 2 3-9 7; Brittani Glenn 0 0-0 0; Maureen Craig 3 2-2 10; Nichole Sly 12 2-7 27; Whitney Ellis 3 0-0 6; Taylor Glick 0 0-0 0; Lexie Arnold 2 0-0 5; Michelle Briand 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 25 11-22 66
Benton Harbor 10 20 28 31
Niles 10 25 45 66
3-point baskets: Benton Harbor 2 (Grant, Sutton), Niles 5 (McIntee, Craig 2, Sly, Arnold). Total fouls: Benton Harbor 16, Niles 11. Fouled out: None. Varsity record: Niles