Division 2: Vikings, Tigers advance to title game

Published 5:17 pm Thursday, March 9, 2023

NILES — Host Niles rode a 32-point effort by Mike Phillips into the Division 2 Boys District championship game Friday night, while Buchanan was eliminated by No. 1 seed Benton Harbor in the other semifinal Wednesday.


Niles vs. Berrien Springs

Phillips scored 18 of his game-high 32 points in the first half as the Vikings pulled aay in the final 16 minutes for a 67-42 win over the Shamrocks.

Phillips turned in a solid all-around game as he also had seven steals, five rebounds and three assists.

Niles (14-10) led 17-9 after the opening quarter, but only 30-26 at the intermission thanks to Berrien Springs (13-10) being able to attack the middle of the Vikings’ defense. 

Niles closed down the lane in the second half, which allowed it out outscore the Shamrocks 32-21.

Besides Phillips, the Vikings got 11 points from Jayson Johnson and eight points from both Anthony Brady Jr. and Alec Lozada.

Berrien Springs was led by Allen Taylor’s 14 points, most of which came in the first half. Micah McFarland and Kole Blasko both finished with nine points.


Buchanan vs. Benton Harbor

The Bucks decided to try and slow down the game against the Tigers, which worked in the first half as it only trailed Benton Harbor 29-20.

Unfortunately for Buchanan, the Tigers (16-7) were able to turn up the pressure in the final two quarters and 22 Bucks turnovers, which led to numerous easy baskets. Benton Harbor outscored Buchanan (13-11) 34-20 in the second half to advance to the title game.

Cade Preissing and Thomas VanOverberghe both finished with 15 points for the Bucks.

Grant Gondrezick scored a game-high 19 points to lead the Tigers, who also got 15 points from Brian Gillespie and 12 points from Montell Hobbs.

Niles and Benton Harbor played for the Division 2 District championship Friday night.

A pair of nail biters kicked off the Division 2 Boys District Basketball Tournament at Niles High School Monday night.

In the first semifinal, Lakeland Conference foes Dowagiac and Buchanan battled down to the final seconds with the Bucks edging the Chieftains 45-44 to advance to Wednesday night’s semifinal against top-seeded Benton Harbor.

In the nightcap Monday night, the host Vikings nearly let a lead slip away from it in the final minutes before a steal by Mike Phillips sealed the victory for the Vikings, who move on to face No.-seeded Berrien Springs in the second semifinal on Wednesday.