Jennifer Gregg (#20) fights through Mooresville defenders in Tuesday's battle.
MOORESVILLE -- Attitudes are changing as well as the style with which Northview's girls basketball team plays. While the early results are still mixed, the Knights displayed a great deal of grit during their battle with Mooresville on Tuesday night.
The regular season opener is never easy when your taking on a team that returns nearly everyone from a Final Four team a year ago, but the Knights showed a great deal of fortitude despite falling 64-32 to the Pioneers.
"I felt like we made some progress tonight," commented head coach Bob Medworth. "But every time we made a comeback we made some sort of mistake."
The Pioneers used their trademark pressing and trapping defense to get some quick turnovers and some easy baskets as Northview fell behind 16-3 through one quarter of play while turning the ball over seven times. However, Northview dug in and stood strong in the face of the early adversity.
"We shifted to our zone defense though we didn't want to," noted Medworth. "And Coach (Jon) Crooks had some good ideas on some offensive changes we could make."
The Knights were able to get untracked a bit on offense and drove to the basket rather than settle for perimeter shots. Lexee Hayes tallied three points in the period and Brittney Spugnardi added another three as the Knights got a bit closer to the Pioneers.
At that time, a fire alarm interrupted play for approximately 15 minutes with Northview's Spring Raines awaiting a chance at free throws with 1:47 left in the half.
Upon return after an apparent false alarm, Raines calmly sank both shots which seemed to give the Knights a bit of a second half spark.
The Northview offense opened up and found a bit of a groove in the third quarter, however, so did Mooresville's.
The Knights got a steal and a basket from Spugnardi in the early stages of the period and the first of two 3-pointers from Raines to get within 30-16. But the Pioneers suddenly found their range from the field as 6'2 Caitlin Dougherty hit her next three short range jumpers sandwiched around a hoop from Stephanie Plummer of the Knights. Raines hit a jumper of her own to get back to 35-20, but the Pioneers ended the period by hitting their next three baskets to take a 41-20 lead.
In the fourth quarter the Northview defense seemed to lose their momentum and Heather Harper of Mooresville knocked down four-of-five shots in the final period after missing 11 of her first 12 shots.
The Knights got five of Raines team-high 12 points in the last quarter and three free throws from Abby Birkey but the Pioneers hit 10-of-17 final quarter shots to pull away late.
"I don't think the outcome was indicative," commented Assistant Head Coach Jon Crooks. "This was a good eye opener, but I think (Mooresville) definitely know they were in a game tonight."
The Knights will look to rebound when they open play in the WTHI Clabber Girl Classic on Thursday evening against South Vermillion at 6 p.m. at West Vigo High School.
In the junior varsity game, Northview gave Mooresville every thing they could handle.
Traci Sanders knocked down two, late 3-pointers and Erica Lee hit a free throw to bring the Knights back from an early double-digit deficit.
Lee's free throw tied the game with under a minute remaining and the Knights had a late chance to get the win but a steal by Mooresville and a conversion earned the Pioneers a 35-33 victory.
Sanders had a team-high eight points and Raines added six along with Lee while Tara Crooks chipped in with four points.