Vikings pumped for tip-off
Published 8:28 pm Thursday, December 12, 2013
For the Niles boys basketball team, the 2013-14 season opener has finally arrived.
The Vikings are coming off a 6-14 season and must find a way to replace leading scorer Alec Brown, who averaged 19 points per game. Brown is now playing at Lake Michigan College.
Niles coach Todd Pawielski must also find replacements for Jesse Jordan, Anthony Bice, Cole Clemens, Mitch Dehn and Gevonta Nichols.
The Vikings return Tate Brawley and Matthew Miller. Pawielski believes Brawley will be the leader of his team and one of the best player in the Big 16.
Niles takes on Mattawan in a game that was originally scheduled to be on the road tonight. Mattawan is redoing its gym floor and it was not ready for the season opener so the game was switched to Niles. The second meeting of the two teams will be played in Mattawan.
The Wildcats are 1-0 following their victory Tuesday night against Paw Paw.
“We expect another tough game from a Mattawan team that beat us three times last season,” Pawielski said. “We were not good in our first scrimmage of the year against Bridgman and Holland, but played reasonably well last Saturday at the Okemos scrimmage.”
Mattawan returns three of its top seven players, including 6-foot-4 junior forward Derek Ditto, who is a returning All-West Division player.
Pawielski said defense and turnovers will be a key.
“We have to improve defensively in keeping the ball out of the lane,” he said. “Offensively, we need to slow down a little and not try to make everything happen at once.”
Possible starters for Friday night’s opener are Brawley, Matt Miller, Conner Glick, Jeremy Wortham, Gabe Stokes, Ra’Quon Glenn or Gavin Rasler. Brawley, Miller and Glick and Wortham are seniors, Stokes and Glenn juniors and Rasler a sophomore.
The Brandywine boys team (0-1) will attempt to square its record when it hosts Benton Harbor Dream Academy at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Niles girls basketball team (3-0) will try to remain undefeated on the season and in the Big 16 West Division as it hosts Mattawan tonight.
The Wildcats are 0-2 to start the season after losses to Kalamazoo Central (67-17) and Paw Paw (50-33).
Against the Redskins, the Wildcats were led by Emma Toner with 12 points and Brooke Ditto with seven.
Niles is coming off a 53-13 victory over Dowagiac in which Elyse Zimmerman scored 17 points Tuesday night. Zimmerman has scored 38 points in the last two games for the Vikings.
Brandywine will also attempt to remain undefeated as it hosts Benton Harbor Dream Academy at 5 p.m. Saturday.
The Bobcats are 2-0, but have not played in more than a week after Wednesday night’s game at Berrien Springs was postponed due to weather.
Both Niles and Brandywine had their matches postponed Wednesday night due to weather.
The Vikings and Bobcats will return to the mat Saturday.
Niles will be competing in the Gibby Duals hosted by Carlton Airport.
Wrestling is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.
Brandywine will compete in the Coldwater Invitational, which is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.