Times Staff Reporter
TERRE HAUTE -- The Northview girls basketball team broke into the win column for the first time in the 2009-10 season Friday, winning a 42-38 slugfest against South Vermilion in a consolation bracket game of the HI-99 Terre Haute Savings Bank Classic Tournament at West Vigo.
After a poor start, the Knight reversed their fortune with a dominant second quarter, in which they outscored the Lady Cats 16-4, after holding the Wildcats scoreless for nearly six minutes. After Lauren Webster hit a sparkling cross-court pass to Kelsey Searing, the Knights had officially turned a 15-7 deficit into a 23-19 halftime lead. Coach Lu Anne Anderson said her players made successful game plan adjustments going into the second quarter which led to the increased quality of play.
"We went into this game wanting to be more physical," Anderson said. "We did a nice job all around of out toughing them in the second quarter."
The second half was a very back-and-forth affair. The Knights surrendered the lead in the final minutes of the third period, but got it back when Emily Phillips, who led all scorers with 14 points, hit a running jumper which gave Northview a 28-27 lead going into the final frame.
The Knights would experience a scary moment early in the fourth when Phillips seemed to land jaw-first on the floor following an offensive rebound. She would return to action, however, even keying a four-point offensive surge, hitting two free throws and a lay-up following a steal on consecutive possessions, turning a 34-33 deficit into a 37-34 lead.
Despite the momentum turn, the Knights were unable to put the game away, as South Vermillion was able to tie the game back up at 37 off a timeout. Anderson said she used the struggles her team had during sections of the second half to motivate them to finish off the Wildcats.
"In this game, it all comes down to who wants it more," Anderson said. "I told the girls during a timeout 'I think South Vermillion wants this game more than us.' I think they really took that as a challenge and it helped them finish out the game."
With the game on the line, senior Carlee Bell helped give the Knights their first victory of the young season. Bell hit two free throws with 57 seconds to go, putting Northview ahead 39-37. After a South Vermillion free throw cut the lead back to one, Bell found herself at the line again. With 10 seconds remaining, she hit two more, then another after the Knights were able to steal South Vermillion's in bounds pass. The free throws sealed the deal and the Knight took a hard fought four-point victory.
The win moved the Knights to 1-1. Northview faces a tough transition this season, as they are only returning two players who have accumulated a high level of varsity playing experience in past years. Anderson says there have been noticeable improvements, most notably a reduction of eight turnovers, from her squad's opening game loss to Terre Haute North. The coach said her hope is for her inexperienced team to get better with each passing game, and felt winning close games would make that happen all the sooner.
"As long as I'm seeing improvements during each game, I'm happy," Anderson said. "As long as we do that, we'll be where we need to be."
The Knights return to action Tuesday with a home game against Riverton Parke. Tip-off is as 6 p.m.
At West Vigo (HI-99 terre Haute Savings Bank Classic)
South Vermilion (38)
Lubovich 0 1-2 1, Kelly 2 1-4 5, Samuelson 0 0-2 0, Riggen 1 0-0 2, Brower 2 1-2 6, Samuelson 3 0-0 7, Kirby 2 2-2 6, Cheesewright 3 1-2 8, Milam 1 1-3 3. Totals: 14 6-14 38.
Bell 0 9-14, 8, Conrad 3 0-0 6, Phillips 5 4-4 14, Webster 4 0-0 9, Searing 1 1-4 3, Sampson 0 1-2 1. Totals: 13 15-24 42.
3 pt. FG: SV: 3-9 (Kelly 0-1, Riggin 0-1, Brower 1-1, Samuelson 1-3, Cheesewright 1-1, Milam 0-2) NV: 1-2 (Webster 1-2) Rebounds: SV: 30 NV: 21 Turnovers: SV: 20 NV: 24 Team fouls: SV: 21 NV: 18.