SEYMOUR -- For three quarters of basketball, the Northview Knights played about as well as they possibly could against New Albany in Saturday afternoon's Seymour Regional opening round contest.
The Knights hit over 50 percent from the field for those three quarters, guard Logan Whitman had 21 points in the first half and Josh Timm added 13 as Northview pulled out to a 64-46 lead.
But the Bulldogs rallied behind senior Ryan Wheeler's 19 fourth quarter points to put a scare into the Knights who pulled out a 79-74 win to advance to the evening's title game.
After a rather slow-paced morning game between Bloomington North and Evansville Central, the Knights and Bulldogs came out firing quickly in the afternoon contest.
In a see-sawing first quarter, Whitman showed why he is highly likely to become an Indiana All-Star by drilling four-of-five 3-pointer in the opening period and had 16 of the Knight's 26 heading to the second quarter.
The Bulldogs however were hitting their share of shots as well as Wheeler and Derick Hobbs each hit two from long range and Chris Murphy added one as well as New Albany stayed close at 26-21.
The pace didn't slow much in the next quarter as Northview hit eight-of-17 shots from the field as Josh Timm and Zach Keyes each had seven points to lead the Knights to a 45-37 advantage at the half.
The third quarter proved to the be the difference for the Knights who were still hot to begin the second half.
Keyes dropped home a 3-pointer to kick off the offense and the Knights trapping defense would force six Bulldog turnovers in the third quarter.
The Knights opened the half with an 8-0 run in the first 1:34 as Whitman followed Keyes' shot by rebounding a missed shot and Timm sent home a 3-pointer as Northview led 53-37.
Craig Greenwood added to the lead off a long rebound and pass from Whitman to give the Knights an 18-point lead
Northview would hold serve to end the quarter as Tyler Akers capped off a 3-point play to put the Knights ahead 64-46 heading to the final quarter.
To that point the Knights had held New Albany's leading scorer, Wheeler, to just seven points through three periods, just one point in the middle two quarters.
In the fourth quarter however, Wheeler, who averages over 25 points per contest, took matters into his own hands.
He opened the final quarter with a free throw followed by a bucket from Whitman to gave Northview their biggest lead at 66-47.
By the end, they would need every point of that lead.
Wheeler got more aggressive driving to the basket and in turn getting to the line and the Knights got passive in their offense. The combination resulted in a big charge by the Bulldogs.
After a Wheeler hoop, Keyes would score off a wrap-around pass followed by a basket by Hobbs and one from Akers.
The Bulldogs began trapping the Knights in full court defense and resulting turnovers led to another basket by Wheeler and one from Hobbs off a steal. Wheeler would drill a 3-pointer to close the gap to nine points at 70-61 before a Whitman drive.
On the next New Albany possession, Wheeler would draw a foul and Northview coach Mitch Lancaster was called for a technical foul. Wheeler hit one of two technical shots followed by both foul shots to close the lead to 72-63. "(The Bulldogs) got on a little roll offensively, then got two or three plays on (in my opinion) phantom calls," said Lancaster. "It changed the momentum of the game and got our kids on their heels."
On the ensuing possession, Murphy would hit a 3-pointer and suddenly the Northview lead was just 72-66.
But Timm responded with perhaps the season's biggest shot, a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to give the Knights another nine-point lead, 75-66.
Wheeler however came back with a drive to the basket, was fouled, and hit both free throws and after a Northview turnover, hit a 3-pointer to close the lead to 75-71.
The Bulldogs got the ball back once more and again Wheeler made the play, drawing a foul and hitting the shot, completing a 3-point play that left the Knights clinging to a one-point lead, 75-74 with 38 seconds left.
Northview however got the ball to Whitman who was fouled, he calmly sank both free throws and the Bulldogs were unable to get off the shot they wanted. Whitman rebounded and got Timm the ball on a breakaway and the victory. Whitman scored a game-high 29 points for Northview while Timm added 23 points and Keyes chipped in 18 points and nine rebounds. Craig Greenwood added eight rebounds for the Knights.
Regional Opening Game
Northview 79, New Albany 74
Whitman 11-19 2-2 29, Timm 8-14 4-5 23, Akers 2-4 1-1 5, Keyes 8-17 0-0 18, Greenwood 1-2 0-0 2, Hughes 0-0 0-0 0, Hoover 1-2 0-0 2, Brand 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 31-58 10-17 79.
New Albany (74)
Hobbs 5-12 2-2 15, Bryant 6-14 0-2 12, Wheeler 7-15 8-13 26, Harris 2-4 0-0 4, Murphy 4-9 0-0 10, Ray 1-5 0-0 3, Schmidt 1-1 0-0 2, Smiley 0-0 0-0 0, Wirth 1-1 0-0 2, Bennett 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 27-61 10-17 74.
3-point fieldgoals -- Northview 10-24 (Whitman 5-12, Keyes 2-7, Timm 3-5), N.Albany 10-29 (Wheeler 4-10, Hobbs 3-8, Murphy 2-5, Ray 1-4, Bryant 0-2. Total Rebounds -- Northview 33 (Keyes 9, Greenwood 8, Whitman 6), N.Albany 37 (Bryant 7, Wheeler 7). Total Fouls -- Northview 14, N.Albany 12. Turnovers -- Northview 12, New Albany 14.