Rasler leads Niles comeback win over Bears

Gavin Rasler scored all 19 points in the second half as Niles rallied to beat St. Joseph. (Leader photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

Gavin Rasler scored all 19 points in the second half as Niles rallied to beat St. Joseph. (Leader photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

It was a tale of two halves Friday for Niles boys basketball player Gavin Rasler against St. Joseph.

Rasler scored all 19 of his points and had a key assist in the second half to lead the Vikings past the Bears, 38-34, in SMAC West Division action.

Rasler’s inside feed to Tyler Phillips gave Niles the lead for good at 36-34 with 1:25 remaining.

“Gavin has really become an all-around player for us,” said Niles boys basketball coach Todd Pawielski, whose team improved to 4-11 overall and 1-6 in the West Division. “You saw it tonight. We played him a lot on the perimeter. He’s making good decisions and he’s being a leader.

“It was a very nice game by Gavin Rasler.”

Trailing 36-34, the Bears had possession of the ball with 53 seconds left after the Vikings’ Chris Brown air-balled the front end of a one-and-one.

St. Joseph coach Greg Blomgren called three timeouts before getting off a shot. That shot was missed in the paint by Sam Szwabowski with eight seconds left. Alex Harpenau grabbed the rebound for Niles and Rasler was fouled with two seconds showing on the clock. He made both free throws to conclude the game’s scoring.

“We kept telling the kids no three and no and-one,” Pawielski said. “We had three fouls to give so we were in pretty good shape there.”

There were five ties and eight lead changes in the game, which featured runs by both teams. The Vikings biggest lead was at 7-0, while the Bears biggest lead was at 17-9.

Niles was called for a technical in each half that cost them five points.

“We got a little too excited after an and-one and (the officials) thought we were a little too physical on a rebound,” Pawielski said. “We’re not pleased with that, but I’m happy with the way we were able to gut out a win.”

 

NILES 38, ST. JOSEPH 34

At Niles

ST. JOSEPH 34

Sam Szwabowski 5, Cade Shimulunas 6, Michael Hunn 6, Andrew Hodge 2, Griffin Beaudette 2, Ryan Haynes 0, Carter Scramlin 7, Trevor Dilley 2, Izak Ruddell 4, Ian Donoho 0. TOTALS: 13 7-9 34.

NILES 38

Gavin Rasler 19, Tyler Phillips 9, Devin Kuemin 0, Alex Harpenau 0, Derek Brown 4, Chris Brown 4, Dustin Anders 0, Donovan Jennings 0, Bryce Lake 2, Austin Curran 0. TOTALS: 15 6-9 38.
St. Joseph       9          17       28       34
Niles                7          13       26       38

3-point goals: St. Joseph 1 (Scramlin), Niles 2 (Rasler, Phillips). Total fouls (fouled out): St. Joseph 13 (none), Niles 7 (none). Technicals: Niles 2 (Rasler and Chris Brown). Shooting: St. Joseph 13-of-42 for 31-percent, Niles 15-of-39 for 38-percent. Rebounding: St. Joseph 18 (Haynes and Ruddell 4 each), Niles 29 (Rasler 7). Turnovers: St. Joseph 7, Niles 14. Records: St. Joseph 3-12, 2-6 SMAC West; Niles 4-11, 1-6 SMAC West.

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