Olsen tip-in at buzzer lifts Niles past Bears; girls fall at St. Joseph

Published 4:55 pm Wednesday, January 31, 2024

NILES — Brenden Olsen tipped in a missed shot at the buzzer to give host Niles a 56-54 win over former SMAC West Division rival St. Joseph in boys basketball action Tuesday night.

Meanwhile up in St. Joseph, the host Bears held the Vikings to one point in the first half on their way to a 27-19 victory.


Boys Basketball

The Vikings and Bears went back-and-forth all night long with neither team able to pull away to a comfortable lead.

Niles led 15-13 after one quarter and 28-25 at halftime only to have St. Joseph come back in the third quarter to take a 41-35 lead by outscoring the Vikings 16-7 to start the second half.

St. Joseph could not hang onto its advantage in the final eight minutes.

Brayden Favors, who scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, gave Niles back the lead with 1:23 to play with a layup. The Bears reclaimed the lead on a 3-pointer with 1:12.

Trailing 53-51, Favors pulled up and hit a mid-range jumper with 1:01 to play to set up the last-minute dramatics. Niles was called for a technical foul on play and St. Joseph hit 1-of-2 free throws to make it a 54-53 contest.

The Vikings were able to force a turnover following the inbounds play and Darris Johnson III drove to the basket and was fouled. He hit 1-of-2 free throws to tie the game at 54-54 with 44.9 seconds remaining.

Niles (13-2) forced a jump ball after the Bears (5-8) got over the mid-court stripe with possession remaining with St. Joseph. Following a Bears’ time out, the Vikings forced a turnover, which was recovered by Ethan Chambliss.

Niles got the ball up the court and called its final time out. The Vikings appeared to have turned the ball over with a second left, but St. Joseph was called for kicking the ball with 0.9 remaining.

Following a Bears’ time out, the Vikings inbounded the ball to Olsen, who tipped it in for the game-winner.

Favors finished the night with a game-high 22 points. The Vikings, who played without leading scorer Mike Phillips, also got 14 points from Olsen and seven points each from Johnson and Chambliss.

St. Joseph was led by Kai Wyngarden’s 13 points. Jakob Diamond added 12 points.

Niles, which has now won 12 consecutive games, is back in action Friday night as it travels to Otsego for a Wolverine Conference showdown. Niles, which is 9-0 in league games, leads the Bulldogs by a game. Otsego enters the contest 8-1 and 12-3 overall.


Girls Basketball

Coming off its first win of the season, Niles struggled offensively in its loss to the Bears Tuesday night.

The Vikings connected on a single free throw in the opening quarter as they fell behind St. Joseph 6-1. Niles was shutout in the second quarter as the Bears increased their lead to 10-1.

outscored Niles (1-12) outscored St. Joseph (3-8) in the second half 18-17, but could not dig itself of its early hole.

Elly Matlock had six points to lead the Vikings, who head to Otsego for a Wolverine Conference game Friday night. Tanaya Brown finished with five points.

Tess Kapelke paced the Bears with eight points.