Niles staying calm despite losing streak

Niles’ Gavin Rasler scored seven of his 16 points in the fourth quarter Friday night. (Leader file photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

Niles’ Gavin Rasler scored seven of his 16 points in the fourth quarter Friday night. (Leader file photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

Despite his team’s struggles, Niles boys basketball coach Todd Pawielski is staying calm.

Pawielski, whose team fell to 1-7 after a loss to Lakeshore, 53-45, Friday, has even stayed away from getting technicals.

“I’ve been pretty well behaved this year,” Pawielski joked.
Pawielski also expects his players to be well behaved on the court.

Gavin Rasler, who’s averaging 19 points a game and is the Vikings best player, didn’t meet those expectations and he paid the price. He didn’t start in the Lakeshore game and he was put on the bench after picking up a technical in the fourth quarter.

Pawielski was asked if the team’s losing streak may been a factor in Rasler getting a technical.

“I think it was just in the heat of the moment,” Pawielski said. “He and Lakeshore’s center have known each other for awhile. I don’t think they send each other any Christmas cards. The refs handled the situation well. We kept talking when we shouldn’t have been talking. The technical was kind of a big momentum thing. We kind of had things going in our direction and the crowd was doing a great job.”

Lack of free throws and missed shots were too much for Niles to overcome against Lakeshore. Niles missed all 13 of its shots in the second quarter and finished the game shooting 34-percent from the field. The Vikings were also only 2-of-6 from the free-throw line, while the Lancers were 26-of-33.

“We made a lot of little mistakes (against Lakeshore) and that added up and was the difference in the game,” Pawielski said. “We missed a whole lot of bunnies in the lane. We had a little turnover here and there that was unforced.”

There were positives from the Lakeshore game that Niles can build on. The Vikings scored 18 points in the fourth quarter, including four 3-pointers.

Rasler got his focus back quickly on the court after picking up the technical and scored seven of his 16 points over the final 2:07.

Juniors Jake Hamm, Bryce Lake, Alex Harpenau and Austin Curran, along with sophomore Chris Brown combined to score 22 points and grab 13 rebounds.

“I think some our juniors are really emerging,” Pawielski said. “Chris Brown is getting better and better. We just keep telling the kids to stay confident because we can make those winning plays down the stretch. I really feel at some point we’re going to do that.

“These kids are resilient. They have short memories. I think we’re fine.”

The Vikings are back on the court tonight as they host SMAC powerhouse Kalamazoo Central at 7 p.m.

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