Phillips scores 23 in Niles loss to Tigers

Published 10:58 am Wednesday, January 25, 2023

NILES – A non-conference matchup did not end well for Niles, overwhelmed by a strong Benton Harbor team Tuesday night.

The Vikings boys’ basketball team trailed 13-6 in the first quarter before losing control against Tigers, who went on to a 77-59 victory.

Niles (5-6, 4-3) showed signs of unbalanced gameplay throughout the first quarter from Benton Harbor’s (10-2, 1-0) disruptive defense. The Tigers’ defensive presence paved the way for its leading 39-26 going into halftime.

The one-two punch combo of senior guard Jayson Johnson and junior guard Mike Phillips were sparks for Niles. Both Johnson and Phillips combined for 38 points to keep Niles afloat, but it was not enough to stop Benton Harbor’s momentum.

Benton Harbor was led by senior forward Brian Gillespie, who scored 20 points, while junior guard Antwan Callahan added 12.

Gillespie’s production Tuesday allowed Benton Harbor to make high-percentage finishes on fast break opportunities, and provided spacing for his teammates to create.

Niles, which had its two-game winning streak snapped by the Tigers, will host Three Rivers in a Wolverine Conference matchup this Friday night.