TERRE HAUTE -- The height of 6-foot-8 Nick Wells and 6-5 Brodee Miller and the overall size of 6-57, 290-pound Heath Chamberlain immediately draw your attention when the Northview Knights boys' high school basketball team is introduced.
But Brinn Meunier, the smallest player on the roster at 5-foot-8, was the guy who sparked the Knights to a 52-45 victory over the fiesty Turkey Run Warriors on Monday morning in the opening game of the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic at Terre Haute South High School.
Northiew (4-4) plays the Shakamak at 1 p.m. today while Turkey Run (1-5) plays Rockville at 10 a.m. this morning.
With Turkey Run leading 24-22, and in control of the tempo, Meunier sparked a 13-2 run by making three straight 3-point baskets, then stole the ball at mid-court to set up a Chamberlain bucket to give Northview a 33-24 lead and the momentum.
"Meunier stepped up for us. He's quick and hit the three big threes there in a row that probably, in many ways, are the difference in the game because the momentum was not really going our way," Northview Coach Mitch Lancaster said.
Wells led the Knights with 17 points and Meunier finished with 12 points, all in the second half.
"We knew we were going to have to give up something. To Meunier's credit he stepped up and made shots," Turkey Run Coach Joey Hart said.
Turkey Run executed an excellent game strategy that neutralized Northview's size advantage. Without running a four-corner or delay offense, the Warriors showed great patience and the Knights couldn't force the tempo.
"We're going to have a lot of trouble with teams that go out and are patient with us and spread the floor because of our two big guys (Wells and Chamberlain)," Lancaster said.
Joe Craycraft paced the Warriors with 20 points, including 3-6 from three-point range, and Matt Foster scored 11, seven in the fourth quarter.
"I thought Foster did a whale of a job for (Turkey Run) and I thought Craycraft stepped out and hit every big shot. (The Warriors) were able to hold (the ball) for 35-45 seconds and then hit the big shot when one of their guys got open," Lancaster pointed out.
Turkey Run capitalized on 12 Northview turnovers -- eight for traveling -- in the first half to take a 20-17 halfitme lead. "Our guards can not turn (the ball) over the way they did in the first half," Lancaster said.
Northview switched to a smaller lineup of four guards and a center in the second half. The Knghts committed only two turnovers, forced the Warriors into six mistakes, 2-of-7 shooting from the floor, and spurted to a 35-26 lead going into the fourth quarter with a 13-2 run.
Turkey Run closed to within two, 43-41, with two minutes to play, but Meunier drove to the bucket for two points, Wells netted two more and then it was just a matter of hitting free throws in the final 67 seconds.
Northview will play at least two more games in the Wabash Valley Classic before returning to conference play next week.
"We're looking to get better. We made some strides the two games before (the Valley). I wouldn't say we played a great game today, but I think you've got to take your hat off to Turkey Run. They played a style and their best two players played really well," Lancaster said.
Turkey Run (45)
E. Newnum 0-5 0-0 0, Craycraft 7-12 3-4 20, Paxton 2-4 2-2 6, Foster 5-15 0-0 11, Davies 2-5 0-0 6, J. Newnum 0-0 2-2 2, Scott 0-1 0-0 0, Allee 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-42 FG, 7-8 FT, 45 TP.
Hughes 0-2 3-5 3, Wells 8-8 1-2 17, Chamberlain 1-3 2-2 6, Meunier 4-9 1-3 12, Stuckey 1-9 0-0 3, Miller 2-5 2-2 6, Thacker 1-1 0-0 3, Reece 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 18-35 FG, 11-16 FT, 52 TP.
|Turkey Run 8||12||6||19||--||45|
3 Pt. Goals -- Turkey Run 6-20 (Craycraft 3-6, Davies 2-5, Foster 1-7, E. Newnum 0-2), Northview 5-15 (Meunier 3-7, Stuckey 1-6, Thacker 1-1, Hughes 0-1). Total fouls: Turkey Run 15, Northview 12. Fouled out: Wells. Technical fouls: None. Rebounds: Turkey Run 20 (Paxton 6), Northview 30 (Chamberlain 10, Hughes 8). Turnovers: Turkey Run 16, Northview 19.
Next game -- Northview (4-4) plays Shakamak at 1 p.m. and Turkey Run (1-5) plays Rockville game at 10 a.m in the Wabash Valley Classic today at Terre Haute South.