Fittingly on Senior Night, the Northview Knights got a combined 43 points from a pair of their seniors to down the visiting Fountain Central Mustangs in the regular season finale on Thursday night, 57-46.
Despite a long range barrage from the visitors, the Knights had enough inside presence from Heath Chamberlain (26 points, nine rebounds) and a big offensive performance from fellow senior Shawn Hughes who had 17 points. Wade Thacker also provided his senior leadership in a starting role Thursday and gave a valuable effort throughout his court time.
The Knights looked solid on offense in the victory, hitting on 56 percent of their shots from the field (24-of-43) and also pounded the much smaller Mustangs on the boards (24-to-seven).
"I really think our offensive game was fine," commented coach Mitch Lancaster. "We just had trouble stopping (the Mustangs). You have to tip your cap to them. They hit a lot of 3-pointers. We guard the middle hard, but we gave up quite a few open 3-pointers."
The Mustangs played Northview close through the first half, trailing just 28-22 as Chamberlain scored 10 first quarter points before getting a second period rest. Hughes provided the offensive punch in the second period for another 10. Fountain Central stayed close thanks to 5'6 sophomore Rodney Carver who scored 10 first half points as well.
In the second half however, the Knights held Fountain Central to just five points in the third period on two-of-seven shooting while the Knights pounded the ball inside to Chamberlain for another 10 point quarter. Northview opened the period with a three-point play by Hughes before Carver answered with one of his five 3-pointers. Chamberlain and Hughes would score all of the Knights points in the period.
In the fourth quarter the Knights built their lead to as many as 17 at 49-32 before Fountain Central got hot from long range.
Carver and Justin Krout each hit 3-pointers and Cole Bowman scored a pair of baskets and Fountain Central ran off an 11-4 run. The Knights would turn the ball over following a Bowman drive for a basket and Carver answered with another 3-pointer to close the gap to 53-46 with 1:10 left.
"I think we got caught looking ahead a little bit," mentioned Lancaster when referring to the Knights' sectional game a week from today. "But coach (Phil) Leonard had his team ready to play and (the Mustangs) did the things they needed to do."
While Fountain Central got within seven with more than a minute remaining, the Knights got Chamberlain the ball inside where he was fouled. He knocked down both charity tosses and on the other end he ended the Mustangs hopes for an upset with a steal. Jacob Reece capped the scoring with a pair of free throws.
The Knights move to 13-9 overall and will face Martinsville in the bye bracket game of the Northview Sectional.