Niles falls to 0-2 with loss to Wildcats

Published 8:47 am Thursday, December 7, 2017

For the second straight game, the Niles girls basketball team hosted a Wolverine Conference member with the same result.

While the Vikings showed improvement, Three Rivers used double-digit scoring runs in the first and fourth quarters to win 51-35 Tuesday night.

Forcing eight turnovers, Three Rivers (2-0) used an opening 15-0 run before the Vikings (0-2) scored on an Aynslee Myer layup with under a minute remaining to avoid being shut out in the first quarter for the second game in a row.

In the second quarter, the Vikings started getting into the game.

Seven straight points from Lajan Mitchell (five) and Reese Davies (two) in a two-minute span cut the Wildcats’ lead to 21-15 with less than one minute in the first half. 

Defensively, Niles had three blocks and four steals in the second quarter.

“We changed our defense and I think it helped with the intensity of the game,” Niles coach Jessica Johnson said. “We had Reese (Davies) matched up against Hadley Miller. In man to man I thought she did a great job against her as she only had eight points the first half. When we switched to zone we had a difficult time stopping her. Overall Davies is a strong player.”

Miller finished with a game high 18 points. She also contributed 11 rebounds, seven assists and a couple of steals.

Davies finished with six points, five rebounds, a pair of steals and an assist to go along with her four blocks.

Looking to increase the intensity at the start of the second half, Niles scored the first points to get back to a six-point deficit. It would be the closest the Vikings would get on the night.

Three Rivers pushed the lead back to double digits by the end of the third quarter and force 10 more Niles turnovers in the fourth to come away with the victory.

Johnson knows that Tuesday’s game was an improvement.

“We need to play four quarters and watch our air balls,” Johnson said. “I felt the girls did a better job with their shot selection. I do see progress. We will work for it all to come together.”

Mitchell was the only Viking in double figures with 11 points. She also had three rebounds, three assists and a steal. Alycia Patterson had two points, nine rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals.

Myer (eight points) and Avyion James (four points) also scored for the Vikings.

The Vikings will travel to Portage Northern for its SMAC West Division opener Friday night.