Matt Stuckey lights up a Plainfield defender for one of his five 3-pointers in Friday's sectional contest.
MOORESVILLE -- The Northview Knights finished their season by winning nine of their final 11 games this year, but unfortunately it was the 11th game that brought an end to a season of great improvement by the Knights.
Plainfield put together a 15-0 run through the third quarter the erased an eight point Northview lead and then hit just enough free throws to hold off the Knights down the stretch 52-47 to advance to the sectional championship game against Martinsville.
"It's very disappointing to play as well as we did leading up to tonight. We were very capable of playing better basketball," said Northview head coach Mitch Lancaster. "Our kids did a great job of turning it around this season, but its disappointing to have it end this way."
After a sluggish first half that saw both teams combine to hit just 23 percent (10-of-44) from the field, Northview made a brief surge to open the second half.
Matt Stuckey opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer and Jared Timm dropped a jumper from the lane that put the Knights up 26-19. But from there the Knights offense went south and Plainfield awakened from a slump.
Jameson Wheeler hit a 3-pointer of his own and Patrick Faris drove to the hoop for a basket before a steal by Nathan Ellis ended in a layin that effectively ended Northview's momentum and knotted the game at 27-apiece. From there, Plainfield sent Grant Toliver to the line where he missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity, but Brock Cox rebounded the miss and was fouled, hitting both of his attempts to give the Quakers a three point lead they would not relinquish.
Plainfield boosted their lead to 34-26 on a 3-pointer from Ellis and a score by Tolliver before Northview regained their footing with a fastbreak score by Brodee Miller and a 3-pointer from Stuckey. A rebound putback by Farris gave Plainfield a 36-33 lead to end the period.
The fourth quarter saw significant foul trouble for the Knights, who at one point, had five players with four fouls and had to sit 6'8 senior Nick Wells and starting point guard Brinn Meunier for extended stretches in the second half. Meunier in fact sat until late in the game after picking up his fourth foul less than 40 seconds into the third period.
But Plainfield was never able to pull away, much of that had to do with their foul shooting in the game.
The Quakers went to the line 23 times in the second half but hit only nine of their charity shots and hit only 47 percent from the line (17-of-26 FT) in the game. However, Northview could not take advantage of the Quakers' free throw issues as they hit only five-of-15 shots from the field in the final quarter.
"I thought that the kids let the pressure that Plainfield put on us get to us," commented Lancaster. "We were just out of sync tonight."
Neither team was really in sync down the stretch with Northview tying up the game with 3:58 remaining on free throws from Jared Timm and baskets from Miller and Josiah Brock as part of a 6-2 run by the Knights.
With the game tied at 41-all, Plainfield regained the advantage with back-to-back scores to counter one of Stuckey's five 3-pointers in the game.
Trailing 45-44, Tyran Fakes scored to push the lead to 47-44 with a minute to go. At the other end, the Knights missed a jumper and fouled Wheeler with 35 seconds to go. He would miss both his shots from the line, but Northview missed another shot attempt on the offensive end. From there, Plainfield would finally hit their free throw attempts, making five of their last six to close out the game.
The Knights got a game-high 18 points from Stuckey and another 14 from Timm and senior Nick Wells added 11 rebounds to go with six points.
Northview finishes their season at 13-11 overall.
Ray 1-3 1-6 3, Wheeler 2-6 4-8 9, T.Fakes 1-9 0-2 2, Tolliver 2-5 2-4 9, Smeathers 3-7 2-7 9, Farris 3-9 4-5 11, Ellis 2-5 0-0 5, Br.Cox 0-0 2-2 2, Dunn 0-1 2-2 2. Totals: 14-45 17-36 52.
Meunier 0-5 0-0 0, Timm 4-11 4-5 14, Stuckey 6-11 1-1 18, Miller 2-4 1-4 5, Wells 3-8 0-0 6, Chamberlain 0-1 0-0 0, Brock 1-6 1-2 3, Medearis 0-0 1-2 1. Totals: 16-46 8-14 47.
3-point fieldgoals -- PL 5-18 (Smeathers 1-4, Tolliver 1-2, Farris 1-6, Wheeler 1-3, Ellis 1-3), Nv 7-21 (Stuckey 5-10, Timm 2-6, Chamberlain 0-1, Brock 0-1, Miller 0-1). Total Rebounds -- PL 42 (T.Fakes 6), Nv 35 (Wells 11). Total Fouls -- PL 16, Nv 23. Fouled out -- Nv (Stuckey). Turnovers -- PL 9, Nv 16.