Northview celebrated senior night on Thursday before facing Bloomfield. (From left to right) Jennifer Gregg, Brittney Spugnardi, Christy Fulk and Julie Whitted.
Northview's girls basketball team has seen quite a few close games escape their grasp this season, which made Thursday's contest with Class A No. 3 ranked Bloomfield that much sweeter.
The Knights celebrated senior night before the contest and then rode that leadership to a hard fought 42-41 victory over the Cardinals that was every bit as close as the final score.
"It's nice to finally get one of these close ones," said head coach Bob Medworth afterwards. "It's really nice on senior night. We played well against Plainfield (a 56-49 loss on Tuesday), but tonight we beat a darn good basketball team."
And it was with plenty of help from the senior class of Brittany Spugnardi, Christy Fulk, Jennifer Gregg and Julie Whitted.
The 6'5 Whitted was the go-to option in the third quarter in which she hit all six of her shots from the field and helped the Knights extend to a 35-30 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Gregg hit a pair of key 3-pointers, the second opened the third period and boosted the Knights to a 21-13 advantage. Gregg had eight all important points in the victory. "We've been trying to get Jennifer to shoot more since she was a sophomore," said Medworth. "Tonight she really stepped up and played like a leader and directed traffic."
Fulk, started the game and got a basket and a pair of rebounds in the first quarter and in the fourth period, yanked down a key rebound following a missed shot that helped the Knights extend a key possession. Spugnardi gave her constant hustle and defense that doesn't always show up in the scoring column but is counted on nonetheless.
All of those efforts enabled the Knights to put a halt to the Cardinals 16 game winning streak.
After Whitted's 12 point third quarter goosed the lead to 35-30 heading into the final eight minutes, Bloomfield's Jessica Stout opened the final stanza with a pair of free throws before Northview's Stephanie Plummer answered with a putback basket off a rebound and Lexee Hayes scored on a drive to the hoop. The quick scores forced a timeout from Bloomfield coach Jim Rose with Northview leading 39-32.
The Cardinals answered right back following the timeout with a free throw from Brooke Myers, who did an admirable job in the post against Whitted who had nine inches on the smaller Cardinal. Talented sophomore Lacy Bowersock then dropped home the first of back-to-back 3-pointers that would tie the game at 39-all with four minutes left in the game.
"That's the mark of a really good basketball team when you can battle back like that. They played with a lot of heart and guts at both ends of the floor," commented Medworth.
With the score knotted at the halfway point of the period, each possession became that much more important.
Whitted hit a free throw at the other end but Bowersock hit both ends of a one-and-one to give the Cardinals the advantage 41-40 with 3:24 remaining.
The Knights would go back on top with another basket from Whitted with nearly 2:30 left in the game, but Rose decided to shorten the game dramatically.
The Cardinals called a timeout when they crossed halfcourt and when action resumed, Bloomfield decided to hold the ball for nearly two minutes to limit the chances for each squad.
After running the clock down to 10 seconds to go, the Cardinals got into their offensive set, but the Knights pressured the Cardinals' ball handlers which helped run the clock down even further. Bloomfield got the ball to Bowersock with just seconds left, she drove into the paint and got off an off balance leaner that clanged off the iron and Spring Raines scooped up the rebound at the horn.
"We really wanted to get this one," noted Medworth. "This has been such a great senior class and we wanted this one for them."
Whitted led the Knights with 19 points and nine rebounds to go with four blocks and Raines contributed seven for the Knights and Stephanie Plummer played some quality minutes and added four.
Stout scored 19 to lead the Cardinals and Bowersock added 18 in the loss that drops Bloomfield to 18-2 overall.
In the JV game, Stormi Raines hit eight-of-10 free throws in the final quarter as Northview pulled out to a 42-38 victory.
She led the team with 18 points on 10-of-12 free throw shooting and Hannah Hunter added eight.
The Knights will be back in action on Tuesday night when they tangle with Martinsville at 7:30 p.m. in the Terre Haute North Sectional.
Gilliland 0-0 0-0 0, Bowersock 7-23 2-2 18, Stout 7-19 3-4 19, Veatch 0-1 0-0 0, Myers 1-7 2-4 4, Thombleson 0-1 0-0 0, Fuller 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 15-52 7-10 41.
Hayes 1-6 0-0 2, Gregg 3-9 0-0 8, Spugnardi 0-0 0-0 0, Fulk 1-1 0-0 2, Raines 2-10 3-4 7, Plummer 2-3 0-0 4. Totals: 18-38 4-7 42.
3-point fieldgoals -- BL 4-10 (Bowersock 2-7, Stout 2-3), NV 2-10 (Gregg 2-5, Raines 0-3, Hayes 0-2). Total Rebounds -- BL 31 (Myers 10), NV 25 (Whitted 9, Raines 5). Total Fouls -- BL 12, NV 10. Turnovers -- BL 9, NV 18.