Times Staff Report
TERRE HAUTE -- The Northview Knights boys' basketball team can make room for another statue in the trophy case.
The Knights defeated the Bloomfield Cardinals, 50-40, in the consolation championship of the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic Saturday afternoon.
In a game where both offenses were extremely deliberate and cautious, Northview's post defense kept them ahead of the hot-shooting Cardinals.
"Our interior defense was good all day. Their post player, Rick Tally, scored no points, and that's a tremendous job. That kid is a heck of a player and has been all year," Northview head coach Mitch Lancaster said.
Leading Bloomfield was sophomore Andy Cochrane, who scored a game-high 25 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the three-point arc.
Cochrane started the game with three consecutive deep shots, giving Bloomfield an early 9-6 lead.
Nick Lancaster and Clint Reynolds were given the task of guarding Cochrane, but had trouble getting through screens.
"I thought our kids stayed awfully tough. I'm especially proud of the fact that our opponent shot 9-of-13 from the 3-point range, and we were able to tough that out," Lancaster said.
Late in the first quarter, it seemed the Knights made a decision to muscle their way back into the game.
Senior Jered Timm started the push, when he put the ball on the court and found his way to the basket to pull Northview within one, 11-10.
Timm, who finished with 14 points, shared the wealth on the Knights' next basket.
He dished the ball to a wide-open Austin Akers, the Knights' high-scorer with 18 points. The junior hit a three with 1:21 left in the first to give Northview its first lead, 13-11, since the opening seconds of the game.
After a Kaleb Mumma free throw, Akers again found himself with a scoring opportunity. He drove the lane and got fouled while putting up a shot. Akers pushed the Northview lead back to three by hitting both from the charity stripe.
"Austin's a very good player. He can create his own shot. You have to take advantage of that with the type of sagging defense they were playing," Lancaster said. "When he plays well, we have a chance to be a very good ball club, and he certainly did tonight."
Cochrane would'nt let Northview pull away, and seconds before the end of the quarter, he layed the ball in giving the Knights a 15-14 lead.
The second quarter saw both teams cycling through their offensive sets multiple times before taking a shot.
The only points of the quarter were from a deep three from Bloomfield junior Gavin Thompson moments into the second, and a high-flying alley-oop from Timm to senior Caleb Whitman.
"We intentionally played the way we did. Four games in four days, I told the coaching staff, we just wanted it to be a second half game," Lancaster said.
Timm got Northview rolling in the second half with an early drive to the hoop, creating an old-fashioned three-point play.
The Knights picked up on Timm's intensity, and worked the offense in the post.
Akers drove from the right key into the middle of the paint, collecting defenders, and jump-passed the ball to senior Tyler Coltharp.
Coltharp layed the ball in uncontested, giving Northview a 27-20 lead with 5:00 left in the quarter.
Just over a minute later, the tense game erupted when Coltharp was called on an offensive foul. The Northview crowd loudly voiced their displeasure with the call.
With 1:40 to go in the third, Whitman received a pass from Coltharp and knocked down a three. Whitman's shot made the game 30-22.
Not to be outdone, Cochrane hit a three for the Cardinals, bringing them back within five.
With :07 left in the third, and the Knights up 32-25, Akers went to the line to shoot two free throws.
Akers made the first, but missed the second. Whitman tried for the tip, but the ball bounced out of the hoop and into the hands of Thompson.
Thompson raced down the court, and hit a prayer shot at the buzzer, making it 33-28.
The final quarter belonged to Akers and Timm.
Akers made three baskets in a row, starting just over a minute into the quarter. With 3:51 left, he made a crossover move and hit a fade away jumper to make the score 39-30.
Cochrane would answer with another three-pointer, this one from the top of the arc.
Bloomfield then put on a full court press, trying to trap the Northview ball handlers in the backcourt.
The Knights needed a timeout to adjust, eventually using quick passes and excellent dribbling to move the ball into the half court.
In the final 2:30, Timm was fouled four times and made all eight possible free throws to seal the game.
"Jered's been a 70-80 percent shooter through his 3-year career as a starter, and always a kid that we want fouled at the end of a game," Lancaster said.
The last two of Timm's freebies came with :05 left in the game, and made the final margin 10 points.
The Knights' challenges did not end with the tournament.
"I think if you look at our schedule, you know that we've got a tough road to hoe. We have Owen Valley, then Terre Haute South, we've got Mooresville and Bloomington North in a four game span. Our schedule has been pretty tough so far, but I think our kids are prepared for it," Lancaster said.
"We were really pleased with our effort and our mental toughness. You've got to be mentally tough to play Bloomfield," he added.
NORTHVIEW (50): Akers 6-8 5-7 18, Timm 2-3 10-11 14, Whitman 4-5 0-1 9, Coltharp 3-4 0-0 6, Reynolds 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 14-24 FG, 15-19 FT, 50 TP.
BLOOMFIELD (40): Cochrane 9-12 0-0 25, Thompson 2-4 0-0 6, Mumma 2-2 1-2 5, Schulte 1-2 2-3 4. Totals 14-32 FG, 3-9 FT, 40 TP.
3-point field goals -- NHS 3-7 (Akers 1-3, Reynolds 1-2, Whitman 1-1, Duncan 0-1), BHS 9-16 (Cochrane 7-9, Thompson 2-3, Helms 0-1, Held 0-1, Campbell 0-1, Arford 0-1). Total Rebounds -- NHS 15, BHS 9. Total Fouls -- NHS 10, BHS 14 Turnovers -- NHS 7, BHS 8