Niles boys basketball rolls to 59-30 win over Lakeshore

Published 11:44 pm Friday, January 5, 2024

NILES — The Niles boys basketball team started the new year in winning fashion Friday night.

The Vikings rolled to a 59-30 win over Lakeshore in its first game since returning from winter break.

“I thought we did a great job on the defensive end,” said Niles Coach Myles Busby. “Right now it’s still very early in our season so we’re still trying to find our identity on offense but right now our best offense is our defense. We are still trying to figure out the best way to get guys going on offense.”.

Niles began the game on a 9-0 run and weathered an early run from the visiting Lancers, who were able to trim the lead to 14-10 in the second quarter. The Vikings were able to use their length on defense to force turnovers which led to easy baskets. A Darris Johnson 3-pointer to beat the buzzer gave Niles a 28-16 halftime lead.

The second half saw Niles’ Mike Phillips assert himself and take control. The senior guard scored 15 of his game-high 21 points in the second half, including 10 in the third. The Lancers had no answer for Phillips’ ability to get to the rim and finish or kick the ball out to an open teammate.
Johnson had nine points for the Vikings and Brenden Olsen scored eight while Logan Olsen and Brayden Favors each scored seven apiece. Ethan Chambliss tallied five points and Donovyn Williams added two.

“Tonight’s focus was to get Brandon Olsen to get more aggressive,” he said. “We just wanted to see what his aggression looks like. We’ll go back and watch film and then tweak little things in practices and in our workouts where he can be successful scoring a little bit more. We’ve got to get him attacking offensive boards and attacking the paint and playing off two feet. I thought Brayden did a great job on offense and keeping us balanced when [Phillips] was in foul trouble.

“ Logan Olsen was a really big force off the bench. He’s somebody who comes in and just can kind of disrupt the game with his effort. Second effort plays, deflections, steals, taking charges and things like that.”

For Lakeshore, Jack Carlisle scored 10 and Spencer Gostlin and Cohen Hurdle tallied eight and seven points respectively. Alex Toothman had three points and Zach Ort two.

Niles (7-2,4-0 Wolverine) looks to stay undefeated in conference play when they host Edwardsburg at 7:15 p.m. Friday.

We’ve got to get better at rebounding,” Busby said. “We gave up too many second-chance opportunities. We’ve got to get better at that. Right now, we’re just kind of focusing on playing really hard. ‘You guys play as hard as you can and us on the bench, us coaches, we’ll just figure it out and make whatever adjustments we need to make. This was a step in the right direction. We saw early on in the first half we were shaking off the rust from such a long break. I’m excited to get them back and get them back in the gym tomorrow morning, get stretched, get some shots up and then start preparing for Edwardsburg on Tuesday.”