Times Sports Editor
Northview High School was visited by a batch of giants clad in Plainfield red and blue on Saturday night.
The Quakers started a lineup that included 6'5 guard Brock Cox, 6'6 combo guard/forward and 6'4 Terrell Lee along with 6'6 forward Grant Toliver. Oh and by the way, they also brought 6'9 reserve center Blake Metcalf off the bench too.
The Knights attacked the Quakers from the perimeter, hitting 12 3-pointers in the game and were as close as 66-65 late in the fourth quarter. But some untimely late turnovers by Northview and dead-eye free throw shooting by the Quakers earned the visitors a 75-69 win.
"The kids did a good job of fighting back and hitting some big shots to stay in the game," commented Northview coach Mitch Lancaster. "You just don't see many high school teams with that length and you can't simulate it in practice unless you bring in a college team and you can't do that," quipped Lancaster.
No one hit more big shots than junior Austin Akers who, again-and-again, drained 3-pointers to keep the Knights within striking distance. After the dust settled, Akers had hit seven 3-pointers and went off for a career-high 30 points.
"(Austin) had a great night," said his coach. "He was able to break the pressure, but I thought all our kids did a good job."
Northview kept the 13-3 Quakers close throughout the first two quarters, getting back-to-back 3-pointers from senior Nick Lancaster and two from Akers in the second quarter.
The Knights fell behind 46-41 after Brock Cox drilled a 3-pointer of his own, but a driving lay-in by Jered Timm and a three-point play by Akers tied the score. Akers then was fouled on a 3-point attempt and hit two free throws to give the Knights a brief, 48-46 lead.
But the Quakers closed the quarter with an 11-3 burst that was punctuated by a 3-pointer from Jameson Wheeler that appeared to come after the buzzer.
The Quakers opened the fourth quarter with a hoop from Metcalf and a free throw from Tolliver to raise the lead to 62-51.
Instead of letting the game get away from them, the Knights seemed to gain confidence from the new challenge.
Timm scored to halt the 16-3 run and Akers sank a 3-pointer for the Knights to close the gap to 62-56, but the Quakers used their size advantage to score off a putback from Brock Cox, who had 20 points and 10 boards.
Akers wasn't fazed.
He came right back down the court to knock home his sixth 3-pointer of the game. Not to be outdone, Tolliver followed with a hoop, but Clint Reynolds got free and nailed his third 3-pointer of the game.
With momentum shifting, the Quakers turned the ball over on the next possession. The Knights came roaring back down the court and Akers pulled up in transition to bank home his seventh from long range to bring the crowd noise to a peak.
Northview had erased an 11-point deficit and were within 66-65 with two minutes remaining, but the Quakers were already in the bonus and wouldn't let the Knights get any closer.
Plainfield coach Dana Greene hasn't won 260 games by accident.
Greene, in his 20th year with the Quakers, spread the floor out and made the Northview defense chase his players and foul them.
Wheeler hit two free throws to push the gap to 68-65. The Knights came down to set up their offense but turned the ball over on the baseline. Lee followed with two more free throws and another Knights' turnover virtually sealed Northview's fate has Toliver added two more free throws with 1:06 left to give Plainfield a 72-65 lead.
Akers scored off a late rebound hoop to cap the scoring.
"In a close game, we just didn't have good possessions at the end," admitted Lancaster. "But I'm proud of the kids. To get outrebounded 41-22 in a game and to still have a chance to win says a lot about our team."
Timm had 14 points for the Knights and Nick Lancaster added seven along with Tyler Coltharp.
The Knights drop to 10-6 overall and will travel to South Putnam on Thursday night to face the Eagles.
Plainfield 75, Northview 69
Wheeler 2-7 2-4 8, Br.Cox 8-15 0-0 20, Tolliver 5-10 5-8 15, Ellis 2-7 0-0 4, Lee 2-5 4-4 8, Fakes 0-1 0-0 0, Bl.Cox 0-0 3-4 3, Mucho 2-6 0-0 6, Metcalf 5-7 1-1 11, Hamlin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 26-58 13-20 75.
Timm 6-13 2-2 14, Akers 10-16 3-4 30, Whitman 0-5 2-2 2, Reynolds 3-9 0-0 9, Coltharp 2-2 4-6 7, N.Lancaster 2-4 1-2 7, Kirby 0-0 0-0 0, White 0-0 0-0 0, Duncan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-49 12-16 69.
3-point fieldgoals -- PL 8-21 (Wheeler 2-4, Br.Cox 4-9, Mucho 2-5, Ellis 0-2, Lee 0-1), Nv 12-31 (Akers 7-13, N.Lancaster 2-4, Reynolds 3-8, Timm 0-3, Whitman 0-3). Total Rebounds -- PL 41 (Br.Cox 10, Ellis 8, Lee 8), Nv 22 (Coltharp 5, Whitman 5). Total Fouls -- PL 12, Nv 17. Fouled out -- Nv (Whitman). Turnovers -- PL 10, Nv 10.
JV -- Plainfield won.