Niles rallies to beat Loy Norrix

Published 7:59 am Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Niles boys basketball team has not gotten off to the start of the season that it had hoped, and the first half of Tuesday’s game against visiting Kalamazoo Loy Norrix was no different.

The Vikings, despite struggling to shoot the ball early, managed to keep the Knights close. Niles continued to cut the Loy Norrix lead to a single basket, but could not get that ball to drop until Tre Gray knocked down a 3-pointer with just 4:24 remaining, giving the Vikings the lead 41-39.

It would be a lead they would never relinquish as they closed out the game scoring 16 of the game’s last 19 points to pull away to a 54-42 SMAC non-divisional victory over the Knights.

“We were only 1-of-10 from the 3-point line early, but we loved the shots we were getting,” said Niles coach Todd Pawielski. “But when the game was on the line, at winning time, we were at our best.”

Gray led the Vikings in scoring, connecting on a trio of 3-point baskets and connecting on 3-of-4 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.

But it was the presence of Jacob Hamm and Alex Harpenau inside that proved to be the difference for the Vikings.

“As good as Tre Gray played tonight, the seniors led us to this victory,” Pawielski said. “Jake and Alex did a whale of a job for us in the lane tonight, and the really battled.”

Harpenau had eight of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and Hamm dropped 10 of his own in the game. The two seniors would combine for 13 rebounds, four assists, three steals and a pair of blocks.

Despite all the struggles shooting the basketball, the Vikings continued to play their game and soon the shots started to fall.

“We shared the ball well. We made plays down the stretch and a lot of different guys did what they were supposed to do,” Pawielski said. “We ran the offense very well. We played with poise down the stretch and we stressed individual accountability. Do your job and don’t worry about everyone else.”

The Vikings (1-2) will travel to Portage Central on Friday night.



At Niles


Swift 9 2-2 23, Brooks 1 0-0 2, Sire 1 0-0 2, Miles 2 0-0 4, Dunigan 1 0-0 2, Worthy 4 1-2 9. Totals: 18 3-4 42.


Dawson Clements 1 0-0 2, Austin Brookins 1 0-0 2, Bryce Lake 1 2-2 4, Jake Hamm 4 2-2 10, Alex Harpenau 8 0-0 16, Keegan Neuman 1 0-0 2, Trey Grey 3 7-8 18. Totals: 19 15-16 54.


Loy Norrix     12        22        34        42

Niles               11        21        32        54

3-point baskets: Niles 3 (Gray 3), Loy Norrix 3 (Swift 3). Total fouls (fouled out): Niles 11, Loy Norrix 16. Varsity records: Loy Norrix 0-1, Niles 1-2.