Niles drops 11 3-pointers in win over Buchanan

Published 11:33 am Wednesday, February 8, 2023

NILES — A red-hot Niles boys basketball team knocked off visiting Buchanan 65-48 in a non-conference contest Monday night.

The Vikings drained 11 3-pointers, which Niles Coach Myles Busby believes is one shy of the school record, en route to the win.

The Vikings and Bucks honored the late Bill Weaver prior to the game. Weaver was a standout basketball player at Niles where he still owns nine school records. Weaver would spend 21 seasons coaching the Bucks’ girls basketball team where he posted a 340-123 overall record. Buchanan won the 1990 Class C state championship.

The final score is a bit deceiving as the Bucks kept the game close throughout the first three and a half quarters despite Niles’ long-range sharpshooting. The Vikings used a spurt in the final couple of minutes of the fourth quarter to make the final score a bit more lopsided.

“We have been right there, we just have to keep battling,” said Buchanan Coach Reid McBeth. “The final score is not really indicative of what the game was like. We were right there the who night. Our kids play hard. Niles shot the lights out tonight.”

The Vikings grabbed an 11-6 lead after the opening quarter and led 28-23 at halftime.

Niles (7-8) was able to stretch its advantage to 44-33 heading into the fourth quarter, but the Bucks (7-9) quickly cut the lead to single digits where it remained for the first-half of the period.

The Vikings took advantage of the Bucks trying to force things in the final three minutes, which led to some easy baskets and a larger margin of victory.

Busby, despite the win, was not pleased with some of the things his team did.

“Our defense wasn’t great,” he said. “Thankfully it is a long week so we can work on that. But we will take it.”

At halftime, Busby talked to his team about raising its level of play.

“We wanted to come out and just play really, really hard,” he said. “Of course, you want to get stops. For us, we thrive on getting stops and then running in transition. Our speed is our best attribute. We have done a better job the last few games in transition looking to make plays for each other if we don’t have a one-on-one scoring opportunity.”

Jayson Johnson led Niles and all scorers with 19 points, while Anthony Brady Jr. added 17 points and Ethan Chambliss 10 points.

Thomas VanOverberghe and Dillon Oatsvall both finished with 12 points to pace the Bucks.

Buchanan will try to snap its six-game losing streak when it travels to Paw Paw for a non-conference contest.

Niles is back on the court Friday as it heads to Sturgis for a Wolverine Conference contest.