In Round One, Northview sealed their win from the free throw line in the waning seconds on their way to a hard fought 70-66 win on their home court. Round Two commenced on a neutral court Friday afternoon in the winner's bracket of the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic at Terre Haute South. This one needed an extra session before the Knights subdued North 74-67 to remain unbeaten. "Give these kids credit for continuing to fight for this one, after beating (North) a few weeks ago I thought that (North) would have the emotional edge, but for us to come out and win. This was a big one for us," said Northview coach Mitch Lancaster.
Fittingly the score was tied at halftime, but at just 24-apiece as both teams clamped down on their oppositions offense. In the second half, however, the Knights got going pretty quickly.
Northview ratcheted up their full court pressure defense and for the first three and a half minutes of the quarter the Patriots simply wilted under the heat.
Travis Hughes opened the scoring with a steal and a layin before Zach Keyes capitalized on back-to-back steals in the backcourt to move the Knights out by six at 30-24. The quick 6-0 run took about 15 seconds and the Knights continued to effectively pressure the Patriots into a 41-30 deficit when Josh Timm drilled a 3-pointer shortly after Keyes finished a personal 12-2 run on the Patriots. But North used their own trapping defense to get back into the game.
North senior guard Luke Blank started their resurgence with a 3-pointer and Michael Russell followed with a hoop off a Northview backcourt turnover. Another Knight turnover ensued and Timm was whistled for a foul and then a technical afterwards. Blank hit one-of-two freethrows and the Knights' lead was down to 41-36 after three quarters.
In the fourth quarter as the defense, tempers and fans' collars all heated up, the Patriots benefited from some questionable non-calls on defense to post back-to-back 3-point plays to knot the score at 44-apiece with just over five minutes remaining.
That's when Whitman found his range once again.
He would nail a 3-pointer from somewhere near the side parking lot with 2:23 left to push Northview back out front, but Patriot guard Andrew Grimes returned the favor on the next trip down the court. Ethan Tyler would then follow with two free throws, part of his 20 point game, and things were looking sour for the Knights. But again, Whitman would come up huge.
He would get the ball near the sideline with just 41 seconds left and fire in a 3-pointer in his defender's face and draw the foul. The four-point swing gave Northview the advantage at 51-49. However, the free throw line evened the game up down the stretch as Tyler calmly sank two shots with six seconds left to send the game to overtime at 52-all.
Defense gave Northview the edge in the extra session as well.
Keyes scored the opening bucket and then was the recipient of a North turnover and went to the line for two free throws. He would sink both as part of a team-high 28 point game. Timm would put the Knights ahead by six shortly afterwards, part of his 11 points, five in overtime.
After a Tyler bucket, Whitman went back to work.
In the opener, Sullivan's Golden Arrows corralled him for the most part, giving up just 12 points to the explosive shooter. But North wasn't so lucky.
Whitman hit for 27 on Friday, including a Wabash Valley Classic record eight 3-pointers, two in overtime. The last one gave the Knights a nine-point advantage with under a minute left as Northview pulled away for the win.
"This was really a game of spurts," commented Lancaster. "Whenever these two teams get together they fight hard, it's a really heated rivalry."
The Knights next game will be at 7 p.m. this evening versus Turkey Run in a rematch of last year's championship game. Northview won handily, 85-54 last year. "I'm very familiar with them," said Lancaster of the Warriors. "They have three or four players who have played varsity for several years, they're a very tough, experienced team."
Wegner 1 3-3 4, Whitman 8 3-3 27, Hughes 2 0-2 4, Keyes 12 4-4 28, Greenwood 0 0-0 0, Timm 3 4-5 11, Brand 0 0-0 0, Akers 0 0-0 0, Bitzegaio 0 0-0 0. Totals: 26 14-17 74.
Terre Haute North (67)
Grimes 1 0-0 3, Blank 7 4-7 22, Jeffers 3 5-6 11, M.O'Leary 1 0-0 2, Tyler 7 4-4 20, D.O'Leary 1 1-1 3, Russell 1 4-4 6. Totals: 21 18-22 67.
3-point fieldgoals -- Northview 9 (Whitman 8, Timm), T.H.North 6 (Blank 4, Tyler, Grimes), Total Rebounds -- Northview 24, T.H.North 32.