Central’s quickness, size too much for Vikings
Niles raced out to a quick lead, but Kalamazoo Central’s quickness and size proved to be too much.
After falling behind 9-2 in the first four minutes, the visiting Giants got rolling and topped the Vikings 82-57 Tuesday, in cross-divisional Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference boys basketball.
Kalamazoo Central (9-3, 6-0 SMAC East) was paced by 6-foot-8 Isaiah Livers with 20 points, 6-5 Orlando Little with 17 and 6-5 Rog Stein with 16.
Niles (1-8, 0-5 SMAC West) got 13 points from Chris Brown, 12 from Gavin Rasler and 10 from Tyler Phillips.
The score was knotted a 18-all at the end of the first quarter.
“We wanted to make we rebounded the ball and were solid in transition,” Niles coach Todd Pawielski said. “In those two areas, we did a really nice job. We hung around and made some shots.”
The Giants took a 30-28 lead on a Stein layup in the second quarter and took a 43-35 edge into halftime.
In the third period, Niles went down by 13 at 48-35, cut the gap to eight at 51-43 on a slashing layup by Chris Brown.
A 10-0 run by Kalamazoo Central pushed the differential up to 18 and the Giants’ lead never dipped below 16 the rest of the way.
Niles committed 27 turnovers, including 17 in the middle two quarters.
“Unfortunately, we have a frequent tendency to follow one turnover with another. We get in a hurry sometimes,” Pawielski said. “Kalamazoo Central is certainly very good and athletic, but I thought we had a ton of turnovers tonight that were unforced.
“We have to make sure we run our offense and get where we’re supposed to be. At times, we’re still panicking a little bit too much.”
Ramsey Nichols talked about his team’s press.
“We turned it on and we turned it off,” Nichols said. “We’re not one of those teams that are going to press you all game.
“We got behind early and needed to pick the pace up. That’s why we continued to put the pressure on.”
Benton Harbor visits Niles Friday, Jan. 29. It will be homecoming for the Vikings.
KALAMAZOO CENTRAL 82, NILES 57
Jeremiah Vincent 2, Orlando Little 17, Rog Stein 16, Isaiah Livers 20, Jeremy Richard 5, Coby Williams-Jackson 8, William Wright 0, Bass Ollie 9, James Vallar 3, Prescott Coleman 0, Maurice Davis 2, Jevon Walker 0. TOTALS: 34 12-18 82.
Alex Harpenau 5, Jake Hamm 0, Gavin Rasler 12, Chris Brown 13, Derek Brown 6, Tyler Phillips 10, Bryce Lake 5, Devin Kuemin 0, Gatlin York 2, Austin Curran 0, Dustin Anders 1, Dawson Clemens 0, Donovan Jennings 3. TOTALS: 21 7-11 57.
Kalamazoo Central 18 43 65 82
Niles 18 35 48 57
3-point baskets: Kalamazoo Central 2 (Little, Livers), Niles 8 (D. Brown 2, Phillips 2, Harpenau. Rasler, C. Brown, Lake). Total fouls (fouled out): Kalamazoo Central 14 (none), Niles 15 (Harpenau, 7:39, fourth quarter). Shooting: Kalamazoo Central 34-of-61 for 58-percent, Niles 21-of-42 for 50-percent. Rebounding: Kalamazoo Central 34 (Little 5, Livers 5), Niles 22 (Hamm 7). Turnovers: Kalamazoo Central 18, Niles 27. Records: Kalamazoo Central 9-3, 6-0 SMAC East; Niles 1-8, 0-5 SMAC West.