Patterson gives Niles another lift

NILES — The Niles girls basketball team will be chasing history when it hosts Berrien Springs for the Class B district championship at 7 p.m. Friday.

The Vikings (9-13) have not won a district title since 2011 and have not won a Class B championship since 2005.

Niles advanced to the title game with a come-from-behind 43-31 win over Coloma Wednesday night in the second semifinal.

Berrien Springs (9-13) moved into the championship game with a win over South Haven.

The Vikings and Shamrocks are no strangers, as they met in a non-conference game Jan. 20. Niles defeated Berrien Springs 51-40 to snap a three-game losing streak.

Coloma (13-8) controlled most of the first half against Niles, leading 11-7 after one quarter and 16-13 at halftime.

The Vikings struggled from the field and at the defensive end by giving up too many offensive rebounds to the Comets, who also had trouble putting the ball in the basket for the first 16 minutes of the game.

It was a much different story in the second half for Niles, especially when sophomore point guard Alycia Patterson provided a dramatic finish to the third quarter.

With time winding down, Patterson pushed the ball up the court and launched a long 3-pointer which found nothing but the bottom of the net to give the Vikings a 25-24 lead.

Patterson is no stranger to giving her team a spark. In Monday’s opening round game against rival Buchanan, she hit the game-winning jumper at the buzzer.

“When Alycia makes great plays like that it gets the whole team hyped,” Niles coach Jessica Johnson said. “It also gets the crowd involved and we were able to feed off that energy.”

It was all Niles in the final eight minutes as the Vikings outscored Coloma 18-7.

Patterson scored 14 of her game-high 25 points in the second half, while senior Lajan Mitchell came off the bench and scored nine points and grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds.

Johnson said she felt very fortunate to only be down three points at halftime and that the plan was to turn up the defensive pressure and hit the glass.

“We picked up our defense and that helped,” she said. “Our full-court pressure held us get our offense going. The problem was they were just killing us on the boards. They were getting to the rim and getting to the boards, which got us in foul trouble.”

The message from Johnson heading into the fourth quarter was simple.

“We got the buzzer-beater out of the way, so now we need to make sure it is not a close game,” she said. “That is exactly was the message was.”

Coloma was led offensively by Morgan Wagner, who scored 15 points. Kayla Yore added seven.

Berrien County

Brandywine Middle/High School to go remote Oct. 23 to 30

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 152,862 cases, 7,129 deaths

Cass County

Cass District Library to host annual book sale

Cass County

Missing dog found shot, family grieving after five day search

Dowagiac

Honor Credit Union donates to annual Tree of Love campaign

Berrien County

Spectrum Health reinforces commitment to equity

News

Candidates for 78th district seat participate in community forum

Berrien County

Berrien County Trial Court receives continued funding

Business

Niles businesses collaborate to sweeten their offerings

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Berrien, Cass counties report one new COVID-19 death each

Cass County

Overdose fatality linked to ‘purple heroin’ in Van Buren County

Buchanan

Three new projects on the horizon for Buchanan

Business

New yoga studio opens in downtown Niles

Dowagiac

Dowagiac clerk shares answers to voter FAQs

Buchanan

Expansion underway at Niles-Buchanan YMCA location

Berrien County

Third annual writers conference goes virtual Saturday

News

Fire contained at former National Standard building

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Berrien County reports three new COVID-19 deaths

Dowagiac

Patrick Hamilton Elementary School closes for three days due to COVID-19

Dowagiac

Don, Joan Lyons donate $28,000 to Dowagiac Union Schools

Buchanan

Registration open for YMCA’s 39th annual Thanksgiving Day Run

Dowagiac

Dowagiac schools receive positive audit

News

Niles Township passes sewage increase

Business

Four Flags Antique Mall acquires new owners