Times Sports Editor
TERRE HAUTE -- Athletes at Northview and West Vigo High School's have circled their match-ups with each other for years as the rivalry has been heated for quite some time.
So Friday there were no surprises when both the girls' and boys' basketball games were hard fought affairs as each team positions themselves in the Western Indiana Conference.
At least for this time around, Northview came out the victor in each contest as the boys' came out roaring in the second half to erase a halftime deficit in a 49-39 win. The girls' squad had its' hands full with the one-win Vikings, pulling out a 50-41 decision that was closer than the final score.
The past two meetings between the Northview and West Vigo girls have been to the wire and on Friday the Vikings certainly didn't play like the team that has won just two games the past two years.
Playing into the Vikings' hands was a severe cold front crossing the Knights' shooting touch.
Northview hit only five-of-29 shots in the first half to trail 19-17, but came out far ahead in the free throw accuracy department down the stretch to overcome West Vigo.
The Knights hit 13-of-16 free throws in the fourth quarter while the Vikings hit only 12-of-26 for the game.
For those who thought the Knights should have cruised to a comfortable win based on Northview's jamboree dominance against the Vikings in the preseason, Smith pointed to how tight conference battles tend to be.
"We played extremely well against (West Vigo) in the jamboree," mentioned Smith. "But this is a conference game. Nothing against our effort, but we need to hit shots."
Indeed, the Knights had monumental problems with their offensive flow in the first half as leading scorer, Spring Raines, looked to get her teammates involved, but saw the tea hit less than 20 percent while she hit only one-of-six from the field.
But in the second half, Raines hit a pair of third quarter 3-pointers as part of a 21-point second half and Stormi Raines hit all four of her fourth quarter free throws as Northview took a 39-35 lead.
Following a Viking turnover, Emily Phillips got to the line for two more free throws to push the lead to six and Stormi Raines followed with two more from the charity stripe.
Tara Crooks added a free throw and Spring Raines capped the game with four straight from the line.
"It's good to get a conference win," said Smith of his team that improves to 3-4 overall and 1-1 in the WIC.
Northview boys' coach Mitch Lancaster agreed following his team's 10-point victory over a tough Viking squad.
"I'm proud of our kids," said Lancaster afterwards. "We challenged our kids at halftime not to get beat off the dribble and to chest up their man. We just put 'defense' on the board at halftime."
The first quarter was a whirlwind of offense that seemed to point towards each team threatening triple-digits for the game.
The Vikings and Knights kept taking haymakers at each other, combining to hit 14-of-25 shots from the field.
West Vigo held a 19-15 lead after the first eight minutes, getting nine points from Craig Pearson and another 3-pointer from senior Evan Miller.
Few could have predicted the style of the second quarter following the opening eight minutes.
The period started much like the first quarter as Drew Aff and Cameron Fagg beat Northview's defense for layups.
But the Knights answered right back as Austin Akers sank back-to-back 3-pointers to get Northview to 23-21.
Then the Vikings decided to take a break.
In fact, West Vigo held the ball for the next six minutes, several feet behind the 3-point arc and the Knights allowed them to do so with one of their leading scorers in some foul difficulty.
With Tyler Coltharp on the bench with two fouls, the Vikings waited until the final 30 seconds of the half before they attacked the basket, getting a hoop at the horn from Tyler Wampler to lead 25-21.
All the momentum was with the Vikings, who ran to the locker room, celebrating their lead.
That advantage didn't last long to start the second half, Jered Timm saw to that for the Knights.
Timm opened the half by getting to the foul line for two free throws and after a Viking turnover, hit a 3-pointer for a 26-25 lead.
The lead bounced back-and-forth for several possessions as Wampler and Aff answered buckets from Timm. But the senior's second 3-pointer of the quarter gave Northview a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Timm drained a shot from long range for a 31-29 Northview lead and Nick Lancaster followed with a bucket. A finger roll by Akers and a 3-pointer from Clint Reynolds in the corner pushed the lead to 38-31.
The Vikings, who had five of their eight turnovers in the pivotal third quarter, turned the ball over again and Reynolds hit a leaner in the lane for a 40-31 lead.
The score capped a 12-2 run for the Knights.
"I guess we were well rested," joked Lancaster about his team coming out strong following the Vikings stall tactics. "I don't think the start of the third quarter, the entire third quarter couldn't have gone better."
The Knights hit seven-of-12 shots from the field in the quarter and 22-of-33 (67 percent) for the game.
The Knights' lead would grow to 42-31 as Caleb Whitman scored off a lob pass from Timm.
With Coltharp on the bench, Whitman gave the Knights a significant boost on both ends of the floor.
"Caleb hit a couple of big buckets for us," said Lancaster. "He got some big rebounds. With his length, he's able to just snatch some of those rebounds out of the air."
West Vigo would narrow the lead to 45-38 with under two minutes remaining as Northview ran clock. But Coltharp hit a shot on the break following a missed West Vigo shot and both Whitman and Akers hit free throws to provide the final margin.
The Knights remain unbeaten at 4-0 this season and West Vigo drops to 3-2 overall.
Northview will visit Terre Haute North on Tuesday night at 6 p.m.
At West Vigo
Webster 0-1 0-0 0, Kimball 0-2 0-0 0, Sp.Raines 6-22 10-11 26, St.Raines 2-8 6-6 10, Crooks 0-2 4-10 4, Phillips 1-5 3-4 5, Birkey 0-2 0-0 0, Lee 0-1 1-2 1, Colson 1-2 0-0 2, Hargis 0-0 0-0 0, Sampson 1-3 0-0 2, Smith 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 11-49 24-33 50.
West Vigo (41)
Klotz 0-3 0-0 0, Piper 4-10 1-4 10, Hunt 8-14 5-5 21, Bri.Marrs 0-7 0-0 0, Gardner 2-7 6-16 10, Umphries 0-1 0-1 0, Bre. Marrs 0-2 0-0 0, Dreher 0-2 0-0 0, Edmondson 0-3 0-0 0. Totals: 14-49 12-26 41.
3-point fieldgoals -- Nv 4-18 (Sp.Raines 4-10, Phillips 0-1, Birkey 0-2, St.Raines 0-4, Lee 0-1), WV 1-14 (Br.Marrs 0-6, Piper 1-4, Bre.Marrs 0-2, Dreher 0-1, Klotz 0-1). Total Rebounds -- Nv 39 (St.Raines 6, Crooks 5, Sp.Raines 5), WV 43 (Gardner 10). Total Fouls -- Nv 22, WV 23. Fouled out -- Nv (St.Raines). Turnovers -- Nv 9, WV 16.
N.Lancaster 1-2 0-0 2, Timm 6-8 2-2 16, Akers 5-10 1-3 13, Reynolds 2-3 1-2 6, Coltharp 3-7 0-0 6, Whitman 2-3 2-4 6, Robertson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-33 6-11 49.
West Vigo (39)
Wampler 2-12 0-1 4, Pearson 4-8 2-2 12, Miller 2-6 3-6 8, Fagg 3-7 0-0 6, Aff 4-5 1-2 9. Totals: 15-41 6-11 39.
3-point fieldgoals -- Nv 4-9 (Akers 2-3, Timm 2-3, Reynolds 1-2, N.Lancaster 0-1), WV 3-10 (Wampler 0-2, Pearson 2-3, Miller 1-3, Fagg 0-2). Total Rebounds -- Nv 24 (Coltharp 7), WV 15 (Miller 5). Total Fouls -- Nv 11, WV 13. Turnovers -- Nv 10, WV 8.