Niles survives upset bid

Published 11:31 pm Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Niles’ Taylor Campbell scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the third quarter to help the Vikings rally from a 12-point first half deficit. Niles went on to defeat Mattawan 61-54 to advance to the Class A District championship game Friday night at 7. (Daily Star Photo/JOSEPH WEISER)

Niles survived a strong upset bid by Mattawan Wednesday night in the semifinals of the Class A District Tournament.

The Vikings rallied from 12 points down late in the second half and then outscored the Wildcats 36-26 in the second half to pull out the 61-54 victory.

Niles will now host Kalamazoo Loy Norrix in the championship game Friday night at 7. The Knight defeated Gull Lake 56-51 to advance to the title contest.



As one might expect, the Vikings were emotionally flat coming out to start the contest.

They were also ice cold.

Niles shot just 8-of-25 in the opening 16 minutes, but a late first half rally trimmed a 12-point deficit down to just three (28-25) heading to the locker room. The Vikings hit just two of their first 12 3-point attempts after making 11-of-25 against Kalamazoo Central Monday night,

The Vikings (18-4) were actually up 5-2 in the opening two minutes of the game, but found themselves down 14-10 at the end of one.

Wildcats slowly built a 26-14 advantage before Niles staged its comeback.

It started with a 3-pointer by Austin Park with 1:58 to go in the half and it ended on a 3-pointer by Matthew McLaughlin with 0.2 left on the clock. The pull-up 3-pointer banked in off the glass and gave the Vikings the momentum heading into the locker room.

Niles carried that momentum over to the third quarter and thanks to the play of senior Taylor Campbell, the Vikings continued to nip at the Wildcats’ heels. Campbell scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the period.

Unfortunately for Niles, it still hadn’t found a way to stop Mattawan from scoring.

The result was the Wildcats took a 46-45 lead into the fourth quarter.

“I’ve been waiting for this breakout game,” Campbell said. “I had an opportunity to get to the hole and get inside and get the ball. My teammates got me the ball.

“We were 2-for-12 from 3-point land and that doesn’t happen to us very often. Working the ball inside is what we went to and I happened to be the guy. I just had to trust our system.”

Myles Busby picked up where Campbell left off in the final eight minutes of action.

The senior netted nine of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, including what turned out to be the game-winner with 2:17 remaining.

Busby’s bucket gave the Vikings to 58-56 lead, while it salted away with a driving basket by McLaughlin and 3-of-4 from the free throw line in the final 36 seconds.

One of the key plays in the final two minutes was a charge that was taken by Austin Parks with 1:49 to play. Niles had just scored to go out two. On the ensuing play, Niles got the basket by McLaughlin to stretch the lead to 58-54.

“We had an awful lot to lose tonight,” Niles coach Todd Pawielski said. “I call it the great escape. We did a real nice job of shot selection in the second half. We attacked the rim and we played just good enough defense to survive. I thought Mattawan played a terrific game tonight.

“He (Campbell) did a tremendous job. He had a nice third quarter at Mattawan and we thought we had a real nice match-up there and Taylor just did the work. Myles Busby hit a huge jump shot there in the fourth quarter. That was a very tough shot. Our kids played really good in the clutch tonight.”

Campbell also had four rebounds to go along with his points. Busby added 12 rebounds and four assists, while Parks, who finished with seven points, had seven rebounds and three assists.

McLaughlin finished the night with 12 points and three rebounds.

Despite the slow start, the Vikings ended up shooting 22-of-49 from the field (45 percent).

Thomas Hoff led the Wildcats with 20 points. Zach Cornish finished with 15 as Mattawan wraps up its season with an 8-13 record.

Loy Norrix…56

Gull Lake…51

Kalamazoo Loy Norrix advanced to the finals with a 56-51 win in a game that went back and forth the entire way.

Norrix (16-6) led 6-0 early but had to settle for a 14-12 advantage after one.

The Knights led 27-23 at halftime and 43-37 heading into the final quarter.

Raymond Ryan led Loy Norrix with 18 points. Bishop Robinson added 17 and 14 rebounds, while

Tony Boykins 11.

Gull Lake (17-4) got 16 points from Dean Kolstad.

Class A District



Seth Wimberly 2 0-0 4; Conner Owen 0 0-2 0; Xavier Prather 3 0-0 6; Brian Bennett 3 0-0 7; Cooper Quartermaine 0 0-0 0; Lucas Hamlink 1 2-2 5; Mike Schau 0 0-0 0; Dean Kolstad 8 0-1 16; Josh Throop 4 0-1 9; Odell Miller 2 0-0 4. TOTALS: 23 3-7 51


Raymond Ryan 7 2-3 18; Darrion Mullen 2 1-3 5; Trent Beamon 1 0-0 3; Tony Boykins 4 3-3 11; Terrell Chaney-Bell 0 0-0 0; Bishop Robinson 6 4-6 17; Darien Heglen 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 21 10-16 56

Gull Lake 12 23 37 51

Loy Norrix 14 27 43 56

3-point baskets: Gull Lake 2 (Bennett, Hamlink), Loy Norrix 4 (Ryan 2, Beamon, Robinson). Total fouls (fouled out): Gull Lake 16 (none), Loy Norrix 12 (none). Varsity records: Gull Lake 17-5, 16-6


Trevor Sweeney 1 0-0 2; Zach Cornish 5 3-4 15; Darren Jacks 3 0-0 7; Luke Srodulski 0 0-0 0; Thomas Hoff 7 2-2 20; Kyle Bitzer 1 2-3 4; Travis Burns 0 0-0 0; Dylan Plachta 0 0-0 0; Josh Sovine 0 0-0 0; Darek Ditto 1 0-0 3; Tyler Albertson 1 0-0 3. TOTALS: 19 7-9 54


Myles Busby 7 2-3 17; Matthew McLaughlin 5 1-2 12; Austin Parks 2 2-4 7; Logan Harpenau 0 0-0 0; Alec Brown 2 0-0 5; Taylor Campbell 6 6-7 20; Quintin Irby 0 0-2 0; Mitchell Dehn 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 22 11-18 61

Mattawan 14 28 46 54

Niles 10 25 45 61

3-point baskets: Mattawan 9 (Cornish 2, Jacks, Hoff 4, Albertson, Ditto), Niles 6 (Busby, McLaughlin, Parks, Brown, Campbell 2). Total fouls (fouled out): Mattawan 19 (Hoff), Niles 10 (none). Varsity records: Mattawan 8-13, Niles 18-4