Times Sports Editor
TERRE HAUTE -- Less than a month ago, the Plainfield Quakers dominated beginning to end to defeat Northview by a 66-50 score that didn't feel that close.
In the sectional re-match at Terre Haute North Tuesday night, the Knights controlled the tempo and the balance of the play during the first half. Unfortunately for Northview, the Quakers were the team that took over the second half on the way to a 66-39 postseason victory.
With the win, the Quakers advance to Friday's semifinal while the Knights' season comes to a close at 9-14.
"We came out with a game plan and outside of a couple plays at the end of quarters, executed it to perfection," coach Ernie Maesch said.
Indeed, Northview's plan to slow the pace of the game and play deliberately to spread the Quakers out and get high-percentage shots, worked nearly perfectly.
The Knights hit nine-of-18 shots from the field and led 25-18 at halftime. Plainfield meanwhile tried to push the ball up the floor, but hit only seven-of-18 shots while turning the ball over seven times.
Austin Akers scored 12 of his team-high 15 points in the first half for the Knights and Northview four from Jonathan Bradshaw and Jacob Musgrave before the break. Trent Lancaster added another five.
Most importantly perhaps was Northview getting second chances by outrebounding the bigger Quakers 11-7 over the opening 16 minutes.
Taking a lead into halftime, Maesch knew that getting off to a good start was pivotal in the second half.
"Ultimately what did us in this season was that we played good for two or three and a half quarters," Maesch said. "We give up a couple of '3's and you start getting tired. Your not tired when you're up by seven (points)."
The Quakers came out flying in the second half as 6'4 sophomore, Chris Page, knocked home a 3-pointer and a Northview turnover led to a score by 6'9 senior Blake Metcalf. Moments later, a 3-pointer by Brian Mucho had erased the Knights' lead.
"I told the kids at halftime that the first two or three minutes of the second half would determine the game and it did," Maesch said.
The Quakers had taken a 26-25 lead with a 8-0 run over the first 1:38 of the half.
The run wasn't over as Plainfield tightened up its defense and even Northview's open shots weren't going down. Add to that a rash of early turnovers and the Quakers seemingly couldn't be stopped.
Page went to the line for two free throws and a 28-25 Plainfield lead and another turnover led to Garrett Hanna's bucket. Another Knights' miscue led to two more free throws.
After holding Metcalf to just two points before the half, Northview began to lose track of the senior during the pivotal third quarter.
Metcalf had eight of his 14 points in the third quarter and Page rang up 16 of his 19 points in the period.
"They made some shots, now we're leaning one way or another," Maesch said. "If (Metcalf) gets the ball inside you it's going to be a lay-up."
Northview senior Austin Akers sank a free throw to end an 11-0 Plainfield run, but the Knights wouldn't score again in the period.
The Quakers ran off the final 15 points of the quarter, the final seven by Page to take a commanding 47-26 lead.
In the fourth quarter, the Knights weren't able to get any closer than 51-30 after two free throws from Akers. The final minutes saw both teams sub in the reserves.
Jordan VanHorn pulled down four rebounds in limited minutes for the Knights, Trent Sims hit a 3-pointer and Hunter Robertson added another bucket.
"This year we had low numbers in the junior and senior classes," Maesch said. "We had to play the underclassmen a lot of minutes, but the seniors had to play a ton of minutes."
Akers, Clint Reynolds, Brad Wilson and Jordan Keller all played their final game as Northview Knights in the sectional.
Northview ends the season with a 9-14 overall mark while Plainfield improves to 13-8 and advances to the sectional semifinal on Friday night at 6 p.m.
T.H. North Class 4A Sectional
Akers 5-14 3-4 15, Lancaster 1-8 2-4 5, Reynolds 0-3 2-2 2, Bradshaw 1-1 2-2 4, Musgrave 4-7 0-0 8, Keller 0-0 0-0 0, Mershon 0-3 0-0 0, Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, VanHorn 0-0 0-1 0, Robertson 1-1 0-0 2, Allen 0-1 0-0 0, Sims 1-2 3. Totals: 13-39 9-14 39.
Hamlin 0-3 2-2 2, Page 7-12 4-4 19, Mucho 6-13 2-2 18, Hanna 3-5 0-0 6, Metcalf 5-7 4-5 14, Williams 0-0 0-2 0, Dell 0-1 0-0 0, Chambers 2-3 0-0 4, Walker 0-0 0-2 0, Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Smith 1-2 0-0 3. Totals: 24-47 12-17 66.
3-point fieldgoals -- Nv 4-24 (Akers 2-10, Lancaster 1-6, Mershon 0-3, Reynolds 0-3, Sims 1-2), PL 8-19 (Page 3-8, Mucho 4-9, Smith 1-1, Dell 0-1). Total Rebounds -- Nv 25 (Bradshaw 5, Van Horn 4), PL 26 (Metcalf 10). Total Fouls -- Nv 14, Pl 18. Turnovers -- Nv 17, Pl 11.