Gaines’ clutch shots leads Vikings to victory

Published 1:21 pm Saturday, December 12, 2015

Niles’ Emily Gaines (13) hit some clutch shots to help the Vikings beat Portage Northern. (Leader photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

Niles’ Emily Gaines (13) hit some clutch shots to help the Vikings beat Portage Northern. (Leader photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

Last second 3-pointers by Emily Gaines helped the Niles girls basketball team turn back Portage Northern, 50-34, in SMAC West Division action on Friday.

In the boys basketball game, the Vikings squandered a 14-point second quarter lead and fell to the Huskies, 57-38.
Gaines’ 3-pointer as time expired at the end of the second quarter gave Niles a 19-14 halftime lead. The shot highlighted a 14-3 run by the Vikings which gave the hosts a 28-17 lead with 4:04 left in the third quarter.

“We called a timout and got our energy up,”  Niles girls basketball coach Phil D’Amico said about the key run by his squad. “I told our girls that we were turning them over on our press but we weren’t converting. We started putted in a different transition (offense) and we started picking up the pace and I thought that made a difference.”

Another clutch 3-pointer by Gaines at the end of the third quarter gave Niles a 33-23 lead to start the fourth quarter.
Gaines finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. Jazmin Brann added 13 points and six rebounds, while Elyse Zimmerman totaled 10 points.

Zimmerman fouled out with 5:38 left in the game, while Brann picked up her fourth foul with 7:24 left in the fourth quarter.

“We’re coming of age,” D’Amico said. “We’re starting to learn how to play without some of the seniors when foul trouble occurs. We’re able to stop the bleeding a little bit. I think some of the experience we gained in our first two without some our senior leadership really helped tonight. I thought we finished the game and that’s the way we want to play.”

Zimmerman and Maya Brookins, who scored seven points against the Huskies, have missed time because of an injury. Another senior, Antonia Palmer, is out until after January because of an injury.

Gavin Rasler scored 14 points in Niles’ loss to Portage Northern Friday night. (Leader photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

Gavin Rasler scored 14 points in Niles’ loss to Portage Northern Friday night. (Leader photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

The Niles boys basketball team led 24-10 after getting a basket from Gavin Rasler wih 4:14 left in the second quarter.

For the rest of the game, Portage Northern outplayed Niles.

Adam Farran’s 3-pointer as time expired in the second quarter pulled the Huskies within 27-21.

“Hitting that 3-pointer at the end of the half gave them a little life,” said Niles boys basketball coach Todd Pawielski. “We stood and watched a guy shoot a 3, instead of moving a foot and a half and guarding him.”

Niles shot only 20-percent (4-of-20) from the field in the second half, compared to 67-percent (12-of-18) in the first half.

“Our kids did a nice job in the first half,” Pawielski said. “We wanted to slow it down and play out of the lane. When we play too fast we get in trouble. Every quick shot hurt us. We took some ill-advised jump shots.

“Defensively, we gave up way too much penetration. We have to do a better job of staying in front.”

Caleb Eustice scored 26 points, including 16 in the third quarter, to lead the Huskies. Gavin Rasler scored 10 of his 14 points for Niles in the first half. Teammate Tyler Phillips scored 10 of his 12 in the first half. Phillips also pulled down seven rebounds. Jake Hamm contributed nine points and seven rebounds.

Turnovers plagued Niles throughout the game as the Vikings turned the ball over 22 times.

“We’re still working on our turnovers,” Pawielski said. “We’re not going to play a clean game. We’re just trying to make sure that our turnovers don’t lead directly to baskets. Tonight, too many of them did.”



At Niles

Lizzie Kimmel 7, Kayla Blett 10, Colleen O’Keefe 2, Katya Campbell 9, Claire Holly 0, Lauren Henegar 0, Sophia Majewski 2, Celeste Martinez 4, Aubrey Zonts 0, Megan Coy 0. TOTALS: 13 5-10 34.

Jazmin Brann 13, Jaycee Myer 0, Maya Brookins 7, Emily Gaines 17, Elyse Zimmerman 10, Taylor Gibson 0, Lajan Mitchell 2, Alexis Preston 1, Aynslee Myer 0, Tegan Bays 0. TOTALS: 15 14-28 50.
Portage           2          14       23       34
Niles                10       19       33       50
3-point baskeats: Portage 3 (Campbell 2, Martinez), Niles 6 (Gaines 3, Zimmerman 2, Brookins). Total fouls (fouled out): Portage 25 (O’Keefe), Niles 17 (Zimmerman). Shooting: Portage 13-of-36 for 36-percent, Niles 15-of-46 for 33-percent. Rebounding: Portage 22 (Kimmel and Blett 5 each), Niles 28 (Gaines 8). Turnovers: Portage 25, Niles 15. Records: Portage 1-3, 0-2 SMAC West; Niles 2-2, 1-1 SMAC West.


Adam Farran 6, Daryn Snow 7, Connor Smith 5, Caleb Eustice 26, Tommy Henry 9, Javon Lassiter 4, Parker Simon 0, Duane Jackson 0, Andrew Shaw 0. TOTALS: 20 13-16 57.

Tyler Phillips 12, Jake Hamm 9, Gavin Rasler 14, Bryce Lake 0, Derek Brown 2, Alex Harpenau 0, Devin Kuemin 0, Donovan Jennings 1, Austin Curran 0, Dawson Clemens 0, Dustin Anders 0. TOTALS: 16 4-9 38.
Portage           9          21       45       57
Niles                16       27       33       38
3-point baskets: Portage 4 (Farran, Smith, Eustice, Henry), Niles 2 (Hamm 2). Total fouls (fouled out): Portage 16 (none), Niles 13 (none). Shooting: Portage 20-of-48 for 42-percent, Niles 16-of-38 for 42-percent. Rebounding: Portage 21 (Henry 6), Niles 27 (Phillips and Hamm 7 each). Turnovers: Portage 9, Niles 22. Records: Portage 2-0 overall (1-0 SMAC West Division), Niles 1-1 overall (0-1 SMAC West Division).