In another classic battle between Northview and Terre Haute South on the hardwood, the Braves avenged a homecourt loss to the Knights last month with a 72-69 win on Homecoming at Northview.
Much like the championship game of the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic in December, the Braves went out front early and held the lead into the second half before the Knights caught up and took the momentum and the lead. But unlike the Northview victory in the last contest, this time the Braves were the ones who hit the big shots down the stretch.
South sophomore Armon Bassett hit four-of-six free throws down the stretch to hold off the Knights who shot just two-for-11 (18 percent) from the field in the fourth quarter. The result was Northview's first loss of the season against 12 wins.
"We just didn't play well in the fourth quarter," said Northview coach Mitch Lancaster. "We didn't hit our freethrows, didn't execute and we couldn't get settled down."
The Knights had problems defending Bassett all night long, beginning early in the first half as he nailed one of his three 3-pointers. Bassett, who had 25 in the game, shot nine-of-11 from the field on a variety of drives to the basket and jumpshots. "We had a hard time guarding Bassett," commented Lancaster. "He's their best player."
He wasn't the only one who was shooting lights out for the Braves.
The team as a whole shot 18-of-22 (82 percent) in the first half as South ran out to a comfortable lead early on. However, the Knights wouldn't let them get away, clawing back to within 43-40 at the half.
Zach Keyes had 13 before the break, Logan Whitman hit for 12 and Josh Timm added nine as the Knights hit six from long range in the first half to stay close.
It was a Whitman 3-pointer at the 5:40 mark of the third quarter that gave the Knights their first lead of the game at 47-46, but Bassett came right back to give South the lead. The lead change was the beginning of a tight affair in the second half, one that featured 10 lead changes and five ties.
The Knights actually led by three points, 57-54, headed to the final quarter and had momentum firmly in hand from a standing-room only crowd of supporters. But South fought back to tie the score on a Robert Davis rebound and basket and a Chad Talpas putback after a Keyes' freethrow.
South continued to push forward behind two freethrows from Evan Haruff, a drive by Bassett and a 3-pointer from Talpas that put South up by four with 3:45 left. But Whitman came up huge for the Knights when he knocked down a 3-pointer and was fouled on Northview's next trip down the floor. He completed the four-point play and the Knights were tied again with just 3:32 left.
But South had one last run in them, one that the Knights couldn't match.
Bassett followed a Jeremy Lock freethrow with a driving basket and a three-point, 68-65 lead. Keyes got the Knights to within one with two charity shots and put them ahead one last time with two more freethrows with 1:57 left. But again, Bassett came through big for South, cashing in on two free throws to get the lead back. After a Northview miss, Chad Talpas missed a freethrow of his own, but South got the rebound. Bassett went to the line again and put the Braves up 72-69 with 54 seconds remaining.
The Knights got off a 3-pointer from Josh Timm, who had hit three-of-four in the first half, but missed. Whitman got the rebound and the Knights called timeout with eight seconds left.
Northview wasn't able to get the ball to Whitman or Timm for the final shot, but Keyes got a good look from well beyond the arc, but missed off the iron.
"We're hurting right now," said Lancaster after the game. "These kids are hard-nosed competitors and they haven't felt what it's like to lose this year. But they'll bounce back. These kids love each other and will fight for each other. They'll bounce back."
The Knights get right back on the court tonight with a road game versus conference opponent South Vermillion with a 6:30 p.m. junior varsity tip-off.
T.H. South (72)
Christie 4-6 0-1 8, Talpas 5-9 1-4 16, Bassett 9-11 4-6 25, Shuler 2-4 0-0 5, Lock 4-6 1-2 9, Harruff 1-4 2-4 4, R.Davis 2-4 1-3 5, T.Davis 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 27-44 9-20 72.
Wegner 1-4 0-0 2, Whitman 6-14 2-4 19, Hughes 6-10 1-4 13, Timm 3-8 0-0 9, Keyes 7-15 8-11 23, Brand 1-1 0-0 3, Akers 0-2 0-0 0, Greenwood 0-0 0-2 0. Totals: 24-54 11-21 69.
3-point fieldgoals -- South 7-14 (Bassett 3-5, Talpas 3-5, Shuler 1-3, Harruff 0-1), Northview 10-25 (Whitman 5-12, Timm 3-7, Keyes 1-5, Brand 1-1). Total Rebounds -- South 29 (Talpas 6), Northview 34 (Hughes 8, Whitman 5, Greenwood 5). Team Rebounds -- South 8, Northview 11. Total Fouls -- South 20, Northview 19. Turnovers -- South 13, Northview 12.