Above: Northview guard Matt Stuckey fires a 3-pointer over Owen Valley's Nick Madison on Friday night. Stuckey would score 15 points on three 3-pointers.
Bottom: Lexee Hayes (#12) leaps into teammate Kayla Raderstorf's arms after winning Friday's game with Owen Valley with a basket with less than 10 seconds remaining. Also pictured are Stephanie Plummer (far left), Julie Whitted (top center), Jennifer Gregg (#20) and Stephanie Spugnardi (inside center)
Conference basketball games are won through grit and guts, diving for loose balls, earning rebounds in the paint and getting second chances.
The Northview girls team took advantage of their opportunities late in their game to rebound from a 41-37 deficit with under three minutes left and got a basket from Lexee Hayes on an inbounds play to get an emotional 43-42 WIC win over Owen Valley.
"It feels really good to be 3-0 in the conference," commented coach Bob Medworth. "We need to stop turning the ball over, but (Owen Valley) is a darn good ball team that came to play tonight."
Unfortunately for the Northview boys team, so did the Patriot boys squad.
After dropping a narrow, 57-52 decision to Owen Valley in the semifinals of the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic last week, the Knights simply couldn't get anything going against the Patriots in falling 49-38.
The Patriots had too many weapons to choose from and Northview hit just 10-of-24 free throws in losing their third straight game this year.
The Northview girls had their own struggles in the game despite jumping out to a quick 7-0 lead against the high scoring Patriots.
Coming in, Owen Valley was averaging just under 70 points per game, but the Knights forced the Patriots into 39 percent shooting (15-of-38) shooting in the game and though Northview turned the ball over an eyebrow raising 16 times in the first half alone, got the victory.
The Knights trailed 30-27 heading into the fourth quarter as All-State candidate Sam Stahl rang up 23 points through three periods of action for the Patriots.
But in the pivotal fourth quarter, it was Northview that made the plays when they needed them most.
Stahl gave the Patriots a 32-27 lead to open the quarter but Northview got a putback basket from 6'5 center Julie Whitted and then freshman guard Spring Raines knocked down a pair of important free throws. After hitting just two-of-seven shots from the field through three quarters and one-of-four from the line, her two free throws got the Knights to within 32-31.
At the other end, a defensive five-second call gave Northview the ball where they got another basket from Whitted to take the lead briefly before a 3-pointer from Heather Gonser returned the advantage to Owen Valley at 35-33.
Raines would answer again for Northview, pulling down a rebound of a Hayes miss to tie the game again. Owen Valley wouldn't blink.
After a pair of free throws from Ashley Stronk and an answering hoop from Whitted, who tallied 14 points and grabbed 10 boards, Stahl hit a pair of free throws to put the Patriots ahead 39-37. Following another Northview turnover, they had 24 in the game, Tabitha Truax scored inside for Owen Valley and things began to look a little sketchy for Northview.
But Hayes scored just her second basket of the game at the 2:14 mark and Raines later was fouled and coolly nailed another two free throws with 1:13 left to knot the score at 41-all and set up a climactic finish.
Owen Valley would turn the ball over at the other end, but as Hayes missed a shot with just 37 seconds left, Whitted was called for an over the back foul on Truax. She would go to the line, hitting one-of-two shots to put the Patriots ahead by one, 42-41.
As Northview was bringing the ball up the court, Owen Valley's pressure caused another turnover and Stahl was fouled with less than 30 seconds left.
After hitting her first seven shots from the line, Stahl finally missed one and the Knights rebounded the shot and brought it across the halfcourt line for one last chance.
A timeout with 10 seconds left set the stage with an inbounds pass from underneath the basket that Hayes hauled in and sank the layin.
With time rapidly running out, Stahl drove the ball the length of the court and put up a runner in the lane that rimmed out and sent the Knights into hugs all around.
"That's probably the best Owen Valley team I've seen since I've been a coach," commented Medworth. "That's definitely going to help our confidence."
The confidence for the boys team is getting shakier by the minute following a pair of opening wins at the Pizza Hut Classic Tourney, the Knights have now lost three straight.
Owen Valley simply made more plays than the Knights and the Patriots' athletic guard play and size inside stifled Northview down the stretch.
Jared Temples had eight first half points and Harry Marshall continued to make plays against the Knights, scoring 11 of his 17 in the first two quarters.
Trailing 27-20 at halftime, Northview got within 27-21 on a free throw by Jared Timm, but the Patriots got a 3-pointer from Temples, an old fashioned three-point play on a layin and foul shot from Jared Maners that looked like it might do in the host Knights.
Now trailing 33-21, Matt Stuckey heated up quickly for Northview, drilling 3-pointers on three consecutive trips down the floor as part of his 15 point night.
The Knights were within 35-30, but Marshall got a putback and Maners drew an intentional foul call on a breakaway basket. He hit both free throws and on the ensuing possession, Nick Madison hit a jumper that effectively closed the door on the Knights momentum.
Nick Wells attempted to return some of the crowd enthusiasm when he stole the ball at halfcourt and took the ball to the hoop for dunk, but Maners hit two free throws to close the third quarter and Marshall opened the fourth with his own dunk.
Trailing 45-33, the Knights hit just one-of-seven shots down the stretch and three-of-seven from the line to fall to 1-2 in the WIC and 3-7 overall.
The boys have little time to dwell on the loss as they host Marshall (Il.) this evening beginning with a 6 p.m. JV game.
Northview 43, Owen Valley 42
Owen Valley (42)
Ka.Evans 0-3 1-2 1, H.Gonser 2-10 1-2 5, N.Gonser 1-8 0-2 2, Stahl 10-20 7-8 27, Truax 1-5 1-2 3, Poland 0-1 0-0 0, Strunk 1-2 2-2 4, Matsel 0-0 0-0. Totals: 15-38 11-16 42.
Hayes 4-16 1-1 10, Sp.Raines 3-11 5-8 12, Spugnardi 1-2 0-0 2, Fulk 1-2 0-0 2, Whitted 7-12 0-0 14, Sanders 1-1 0-0 3, Birkey 0-0 0-0 0, Gregg 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 17-44 6-9 43.
3-point fieldgoals -- OV 1-5 (Ka.Evans 0-1, Poland 0-1, N.Gonser 0-1, H.Gonser 0-2), NV 3-15 (Hayes 1-9, Sp.Raines 1-5, Sanders 1-1). Total Rebounds -- OV 24 (H.Gonser 6), NV 34 (Whitted 10, Raines 9, Plummer 5). Total Fouls -- OV 10, NV 14. Turnovers -- OV 16, NV 23.
Owen Valley 49, Northview 38
Owen Valley (48)
Temples 4-7 1-5 12, Maners 2-12 6-7 10, H.Marshall 8-16 1-1 17, Nanny 1-2 0-1 2, Madison 2-5 0-0 4, Mortimer 1-3 0-0 3, Madorin 0-1 1-4 1, Figg 0-0 0-0 0, Mullins 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-44 9-18 48.
Meunier 1-1 2-2 4, Timm 2-11 1-5 6, Stuckey 6-11 0-0 15, Brock 1-1 1-2 3, Wells 1-6 2-7 4, Miller 0-0 2-4 2, Medearis 1-3 1-2 3, Reece 0-0 1-2 1, Crooks 0-1 0-0 0, Sanabria 0-0 0-0 0, Reberger 0-0 0-0 0, Chamberlain 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 12-34 10-24 38.
3-point fieldgoals -- OV 4-15 (Temples 3-5, Maners 0-4, Marshall 0-3, Mortimer 1-2, Nanny 0-1), NV 4-9 (Stuckey 3-6, Timm 1-3). Total Rebounds -- OV 33 (Marshall 6, Nanny 6), NV 28 (Wells 11). Total Fouls -- OV 15, NV 16. Turnovers -- OV 7, NV 12.