Portage Central eliminates Niles 58-32

Published 8:41 am Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Niles senior Elyse Zimmerman is fouled as she goes to the basket against Portage Central in the Class A District opener Monday. (Leader photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

Niles senior Elyse Zimmerman is fouled as she goes to the basket against Portage Central in the Class A District opener Monday. (Leader photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

Closing out Monday’s Class A Niles District girls basketball game against Portage Central, Niles outscored Mustangs 12-11 in the fourth quarter and forced them into half of their 18 turnovers.

But by that time the Vikings were in too deep of a hole and fell 58-32 and wound up the 2015-16 season at 7-14.

Niles did not make a field goal in the first half and wound up shooting 19 percent from the floor (8-of-42) for the game. The host school trailed by as many as 12 points in the first quarter, 19 in the second period and 27 in the third stanza.

“That first half, we just had a hard time getting into any kind of rhythm and flow,” second-year Vikings coach Phil D’Amico said. “We just can’t get down by the that much. It was too big of a gap.”

Portage Central coach Rob Brown saw the Vikings turn up the physical play after halftime, but his team held steady.

“The second half got a little frantic and up-and-down,” Portage Central coach Rob Brown said. “In the first half, we did a really nice job on defense and making (Niles) work for everything.

“Our game plan was to stop all the penetration and make them hit shots.”

Portage Central, which lost 41-35 to the Vikings during the regular season, made 10-of-18 field goal attempts in the first half on the way to a 30-12 halftime lead and finished shooting 52 percent from the field (21-of-38).

A balanced attack for the Mustangs, which earned the right to play St. Joseph in the second semifinal Wednesday, March 2 (following Kalamazoo Central vs. Mattawan at 5:30 p.m.), saw senior Broghan Gamble score 23 points, junior MacKenzie Pikkaart 13 and senior Sierra Easter 12.

“That was — by far — Broghan Gamble’s best offensive game (of the season),” Brown said after watching the guard net nine in the first quarter and 13 in the first half.

Niles got eight points each from senior Jazmin Brann and senior Maya Brookins. Brann pulled down 11 rebounds.

The Vikings finished the season on a three-game losing streak.



At Niles


Sierra Easter 6 0-0 12, MacKenzie Pikkaart 5 3-4 13, Broghan Gamble 8 4-4 23, Jessica Roth 0 0-1 0, Kayla Mathieu 0 2-2 2, Maddie Bell 1 0-0 3, Kylee Taylor 1 2-3 5, Anna Kolassa 0 0-0 0, Meg Niedzwiecki 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 21 11-14 58.


Jazmin Brann 1 6-8 8, Emily Gaines 2 2-2 7, Maya Brookins 3 0-0 8, Elyse Zimmerman 1 3-4 6, Antonia Palmer 0 0-0 0, Jaycee Myer 1 0-0 3, Lajan Mitchell  0 0-0 0, Taylor Gibson 0 0-0 0, Tegan Bays 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 8 11-14 32.


Portage Central         17       30       47       58

Niles                             6         12        20       32

3-point baskets: Portage Central 5 (Gamble 3, Bell, Taylor), Niles 5 (Brookins 2, Gaines, Zimmerman, Myer). Total fouls (fouled out): Portage Central 14 (none), Niles 16 (Gaines). Shooting: Portage Central 21-of-38 for 52-percent, Niles 8-of-42 for 19-percent. Rebounding: Portage Central 30 (Easter 9, Pikkaart 7), Niles 26 (Brann 11, Zimmerman 5). Turnovers: Portage Central 18, Niles 22. Varsity record: Niles 4-17.