Vikings fall in final seconds to Bearcats

The Niles boys basketball team showed resilience against Battle Creek Central in a 54-52 SMAC non-divisional loss Tuesday night.

Outscoring the Bearcats 20-10 in the final quarter, the Vikings could not find the bucket as time expired to upset the 11-2 Bearcats.

The first quarter showed just how fast Battle Creek Central wanted to play, running Niles up and down the court and using a 9-0 run to open up a 19-15 lead.

In order to slow the game down and frustrate the Bearcats, Niles coach Todd Pawielski used a zone defense for the rest of the game, which allowed the Vikings to keep the game close.

Battle Creek Central opened up their lead to seven at halftime, which soon ballooned to 12 points after three quarters.

In the final quarter, the Vikings woke up and exploded on back-to-back 3-pointers from senior Bryce Lake (five total in the game) and another triple from junior Chris Brown to cut the deficit back to single digits.

After a Bearcats’ basket and a foul, Niles went on an 11-0 run to take its first lead since the early minutes of the opening quarter at 51-49.

Sophomore Tre Gray hit the game tying 3-pointer and senior Jacob Hamm scored the leading bucket.

Calling a timeout with 1:34 left in the game, Battle Creek Central couldn’t handle a pass down low and turned the ball over with 1:11 to go. After Brown could only make one of two free throws the lead increased to three, a quick bucket by the Bearcats’ Orlando Lee cut the lead to one with 24 seconds left.

A controversial out of bound call gave the ball back to Battle Creek Central, which allowed Bearcat senior Jahmiel Wade to break free off of a double screen and drain what would become the game winning 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left.

Lake would try a desperation three at the buzzer.

The bright spot for Niles was Robert Brown, brother of Chris Brown, who finished with eight points, 12 rebounds, four steals and an assist.

“He started the year on the junior varsity team,” Pawielski said. “We brought him up during Christmas break and he has done very well since becoming a starter. We make a free throw and I get a timeout called that I wanted towards the end of the game, I liked our chances. These boys showed some resilience to get back into it. This is a tough one to swallow.”

Lake would finish with 16 points and a couple of rebounds and steals. Alex Harpenau had 5 points, five assists, three steals and a couple of rebounds.

Niles will look to get into the win column as it hosts Portage Northern for Winter Homecoming Friday.



At Niles


Juan Warren 4 3-3 13, Thomas Lee 0 0-0 0, Denzell Banks 2 0-0 5, Demetrius Craig 3 0-1 8, Jahmiel Wade 2 0-0 5, Giorgio West 0 0-0 0, Kobey Dixon 0 0-0 0, Joshua Mann 2 0-0 4, Keondre’ Glass 0 0-0 0, Antonio Martins 0 0-0 0, Markavion Smith 0 0-0 0, Orlando Lee 7 2-3 16, Austin mcKinney 1 1-2 3. TOTALS: 21 6-9 54.


Alex Harpenau 2 1-1 5, Austin Curran 1 0-0 3, Robert Brown Jr. 4 0-0 8, Tre Gray 2 0-0 5, Bryce Lake 5 1-3 16, Jacob Hamm 3 0-0 6, Chris Brown 1 1-2 4, Ausitn Brookins 1 0-0 3, Dawson Clemens 1 0-0 2, Keegan Neumann 0 0-0 0, Chad Barton 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 20 3-6 52.


Central           19       31       44       54

Niles                15       24       32       52

3-point baskets: Battle Creek Central 6 (Craig 2, Warren 2, Wade 1, Banks 1). Niles 9 (Lake 5, C. Brown 1, Brookins 1, Gray 1, Curran 1). Rebounds: Battle Creek Central 28 (Warren 10, TEAM 4, Lee 3, McKinney 3, Wade 2, Craig 2, Banks 1, Glass 1, Dixon 1, Martins 1). Niles 29 (R. Brown 12, C. Brown 4, Hamm 3, TEAM 3, Harpenau 2, Lake 2, Barton 1, Gray 1, Curran 1). Assists: Battle Creek Central 12 (Wade 3, Craig 3, Warren 3, Banks 2, McKinney 1). Niles 14 (Harpenau 5, Gray 3, C. Brown 2, Clemens 1, Hamm 1, Curran 1, R. Brown 1). Steals: Battle Creek Central 8 (Wade 3, Warren 2, Mann 1, Dixon 1, Lee 1). Niles 11 (R. Brown 4, Harpenau 3, Lake 2, C. Brown 1, Hamm 1). Blocks: Battle Creek Central 1 (Warren). Niles 1 (Harpenau). Turnovers: Battle Creek Central 9, Niles 11. Varsity records: Battle Creek Central 11-2; Niles 3-9.




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