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Northview topples 3rd-ranked Artesians

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

(Photo)
TERRE HAUTE -- There has been plenty of agony in sectionals past for the Northview Knights. But on Tuesday night, they finally got to share in the ecstasy of knocking off the No. 3 ranked Martinsville Artesians in the sectional opener at Terre Haute North.

The Knights hit 22-of-27 free throws in the fourth quarter and held the Artesians to 26 percent (11-of-43) shooting from the field to earn a 67-55 victory that moves Northview to the semifinals against Mooresville on Friday night.

"I knew we were capable of this," commented Northview head coach Bob Medworth afterwards. "I'm so happy for these kids. We had a lot of people step up and play smart tonight and we hit our free throws."

After trailing by 10 points after the first quarter, the Knights regrouped and came out a different team in the second quarter.

Spring Raines drove to the hoop to open up the floor and Julie Whitted, who was scoreless in the first quarter, tallied six points and pulled down five rebounds to go with three blocks. No shot was bigger however than Lexee Hayes knocking down a 3-pointer to get the Knights on their way to rallying to a one point halftime lead at 22-21.

Martinsville shot just two-of-16 from the field in the second quarter while Northview made the most of each possession, hitting eight-of-12 shots to overcome the double-digit deficit.

In the team's last matchup, Northview played the Artesians strong for a half as well before Martinsville ran away during the third quarter for the victory. But on Tuesday, the Knights hung tough.

Hayes opened the half with a 3-pointer, part of her 12 point night, to get Northview rolling in the third quarter. Whitted scored on back-to-back possessions and Raines hit a 3-pointer to put the Knights ahead 32-26. The two squads would dual the remainder of the quarter like a pair of heavyweight fighters battling for control.

The Knights got a huge seven rebound, eight point period from Whitted, who also altered countless shots inside. The result was another poor shooting period from the Artesians, who hit just four-of-18 shots from the period. Northview would take a 36-33 lead into the final eight minutes with their fans fully feeling the momentum.

In the fourth quarter, the Knights kept the pressure on Martinsville.

Raines scored the first three points of the quarter on a jumper and a free throw and Jennifer Gregg set the tone for the latter stages of the game by hitting a pair of free throws to put Northview out to a 41-33 advantage.

But Martinsville showed why they are ranked No. 3 by rallying behind two free throws from Jessica Breeden and another 3-pointer to close the gap to 41-38.

Raines, who scored a career-high 29 points, came back with a clutch 3-pointer and Hayes followed with another basket to re-extend the lead to 46-38.

Martinsville closed the gap back to 48-44 with just under three minutes as Breeden laid in a shot following a steal. With the momentum clearly swinging, the Knights buckled down again with Gregg sinking two free throws and following an Artesian miss, Whitted hit two free throws and Raines scored off a halfcourt pass from Gregg to take their largest lead at 54-44 with 1:58 left.

The final two minutes showed just how much mettle the Knights had in them.

Martinsville's Elizabeth Gwaltney nailed a 3-pointer with 1:40 left and sent Hayes to the line, hitting one-of-two from the charity stripe. Mallory Schwab followed with a rebound putback to narrow the lead to 55-49. Hayes again hit one free throw, but Engle would sink a 3-pointer to get the Artesians within 56-52.

Freshman Spring Raines, who played much of the final 10 minutes with four fouls, was sent to the line with 1:11 left, hitting both. Engle hit one free throw at the other end and Raines did the same on back-to-back possessions before Breeden rebounded a missed Gwaltney 3-pointer to make the score 59-55 with 51 seconds left in the game.

Whitted was sent to the line, hitting both and at the other end, Gwaltney missed a 3-pointer and Gregg was fouled at halfcourt and sank both her shots from the line with 32 seconds left.

From there, the Artesians final two 3-point shots went awry and the Knights sank their four remaining free throws to clinch the biggest wins of their senior's careers.

Brittney Spugnardi, whose hustle and grit don't always show in the boxscore, was a big reason for the Northview win. "I'm so excited right now," commented Spugnardi afterwards. "I knew our team could pull through. My adrenaline is still flowing. I can't express in words how this feels. We'll celebrate tonight and then get back to practice to play Mooresville (on Friday)."

The Knights did a strong job of handling the pressure that the Artesians put on the Knights down the stretch, turning the ball over just twice in the fourth quarter.

"I knew we were capable of this," said Medworth. "When we were pressed, Julie did a good job of getting the ball and passing or dribbling out of pressure. We've always been capable of playing with top teams. We'll let (the players) be emotional tonight and get back to work tomorrow."

Whitted's stat line was notable for the evening with her 20 points, 22 rebounds and eight block shots as well as Gregg's free throw shooting (six-of-six in the fourth quarter).

The result, a win that ends Martinsville's season at 18-3 overall while Northview moves on to take on Mooresville (19-3) on Friday at 6 p.m. Northview is now 14-7 and has won 12 of their last 14 games.

Terre Haute North Sectional

Northview 67, Martinsville 55

Northview (67)

Hayes 3-7 4-6 12, Gregg 0-3 6-6 6, Sp.Raines 10-22 6-8 29, Spugnardi 0-2 0-0 0, Whitted 7-11 6-7 20, Fulk 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-47 22-28.

Martinsville (55)

Engle 2-10 1-2 7, Martin 1-2 1-2 3, Ma.Schwab 7-17 0-0 17, Cramer 1-12 2-2 5, Breeden 2-7 1-2 7, Breeden 4-18 6-7 14, Gwaltney 2-7 1-2 7, DeMott 0-1 0-0 0, Ca.Schwab 0-0 0-0 0, Steelman 0-0 0-0 0, Doran 0-3 0-0 0. Totals: 11-43 7-9 55.

Northview5171431-- 67
Martinsville1561224-- 55

3-point fieldgoals -- NV 5-15 (Hayes 2-4, Raines 3-10, Gregg 0-1), Mv 8-35 (Ma.Schwab 3-8, Cramer 1-9, Gwaltney 2-6, Engle 2-6, Breeden 0-6). Total Rebounds -- NV 39 (Whitted 22, Spugnardi 5), Mv 38 (Breeden 11). Total Fouls -- NV 12, Mv 19. Fouled out -- Mv (Engle, Gwaltney). Turnovers -- NV 15, Mv 10.



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