Times Sports Editor
First-year West Vigo coach Joe Boehler is making quite a splash in the early going.
The Vikings took control of the Western Indiana Conference race, improving to 3-0, by getting past Northview 58-51 on Friday night.
Both teams were in grind-it-out mode during the early going with West Vigo edging out front 11-7 at the first stop.
Only three-of-12 shots by Northview found the bottom of the net in the first period, but the Knights clawed within two by halftime.
Trent Lancaster knocked home a 3-pointer in the second period and the Knights dominated the boards, 25-9.
Jacob Musgrave and Jonathan Bradshaw combined for 11 rebounds before halftime.
Northview's head coach, Ernie Maesch wasn't pleased with how his team began the game.
"We didn't execute in the first half," Maesch commented. "I'm embarrassed by my lack of having them execute. We allowed (West Vigo) to grab control of the tempo. Give West Vigo credit, they have good guards."
In the second half, Lancaster scored to open the quarter, tying the contest at 23-all. However, the Vikings' leading scorer, Tyler Wampler, responded with a three-point play and Jordan Pearson followed with a jumper for a five-point advantage.
West Vigo's resilience was a theme throughout the evening as Northview made a number of challenges, but the Vikings seemed to have an answer for each.
The Vikings strung together a 12-2 run to take a 42-33 lead following Scott West's 3-pointer late in the third quarter.
But Northview had an answer of their own in Austin Akers.
Akers, held in check for most of the first half, got untracked to hit a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter before Wampler answered with a driving finger roll. Clint Reynolds went baseline to get the Knights within 44-40, but Joel Modesitt came back to hit a pair of free throws.
The WIC foes continued landing blows, toe-to-toe, as both squads looked for the edge during the final minutes.
A steal and lay-in by Akers and a score from the Vikings' Jeremy Lucas continued the back-and-forth pace of the game.
Trailing 48-44, the Knights looked as if they might get over the edge when Akers drilled a transition 3-pointer to get within a point, but Wampler hit a pair of free throws and Lucas added a free throw to boost the deficit to four.
The Knights had several chances to narrow that gap further in the final minutes, but Northview couldn't get the go-ahead score.
Reynolds hit a rebound put back with 1:17 remaining to narrow the gap to 53-51, but Pearson followed with a hoop.
Akers missed on a 3-pointer the following possession and Caleb Mershon was called for traveling on another opportunity. Pearson capped the scoring with a three-point play in the final seconds.
"They're a good team," Maesch said of the Vikings. "We're kind of carbon copies of each other, but they executed better than we did."
The Knights (1-2 overall, 0-2 WIC) host Edgewood on Friday night in a boy/girl doubleheader beginning at 6 p.m.
West Vigo (58)
Wampler 6-13 6-6 18, Pearson 5-14 1-3 11, West 3-7 0-0 8, Lucas 5-9 1-3 13, Burton 1-1 0-0 2, Thornton 0-1 0-0 0, Modesitt 2-2 2-3 6. Totals: 22-47 10-15 58.
Akers 8-19 4-6 20, Lancaster 3-12 3-5 10, Reynolds 2-4 1-2 5, Bradshaw 2-4 1-2 5, Musgrave 3-7 0-0 6, Mershon 1-3 1-2 3, Sims 0-0 0-0 0, Wilson 0-1 0-0 0, Keller 0-0 0-0 0, Allen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-50 10-17 51.
3-point fieldgoals -- WV 4-16 (Wampler 0-2, Pearson 0-5, Lucas 2-3, Thornton 0-1, West 2-5), Nv 3-13 (Akers 2-6, Lancaster 1-6, Wilson 0-1). Total Rebounds -- WV 26 (Lucas 8), Nv 37 (Musgrave 10, Bradshaw 7). Total Fouls -- WV 12, Nv 15. Turnovers -- WV 10, Nv 12.