Times Sports Editor
TERRE HAUTE -- The Terre Haute North Patriots have size to spare throughout their lineup for the 2009-10 season and on Friday night, they used it to lead a strong defensive effort to score a 49-33 win over Northview.
The Patriots started 6'8 Justin Gant and 6'6 Thomas Anderson in the front court along with 6'2 Chris O'Leary at one guard and 6'2 Logan Shipley at another. At the point guard spot, 5'10 Chase Jones still had an advantage over 5'9 Dillon Reynolds of the Knights.
The Patriots did a good job of defending the ball as well as making things difficult for the Knights in passing to an open man. Northview shot just 31 percent from the field, but the Knights did a good job as well on the defensive end, making the Knights work for a 19-of-41 shooting performance.
"I thought we defended them almost as well as they defended us," Northview coach Ernie Maesch said. "We just had to do it differently. The difference in the game was that we probably gave them 20 points off of turnovers that ended up in lay-ups. They've got two, Division I players that have been recruited heavily and we did a pretty good job of taking away their easy baskets in the half court set."
The Patriots already had a 53-38 win over Evansville Central under their belt, but the Knights were playing their first game and it was apparent that there were some nerves as Northview turned the ball over the first three times down the court as North went up 11-0. The Knights' first score came on a free throw by Jacob Musgrave with 4:56 remaining in the quarter.
Musgrave was the main source of Northview's offense in the first half as the 6'5 forward cleaned up the glass for a couple of putbacks and had six points and four rebounds in the first period. North stretched out a 15-7 lead after the first eight minutes and then clamped down defensively in the second period. With Gant beginning to get into a rhythm, he grabbed six of his 13 rebounds and kept the Knights off the offensive glass during a two-for-nine shooting performance. The result was the Patriots outscoring the Knights 14-4 in the period to take a 25-11 lead at the break.
"Their ball pressure and their defense ended up being the difference in the game. We couldn't execute and they created offense off of their defense," Maesch said. "In the second half we were able to do that, we came out a little bit mad and that's what I wanted. We picked up full court and changed their philosophy. Instead of playing the soft defense we got after them and got them to turn it over some."
The second half saw the Knights come out with some more fire as Trent Lancaster hit a runner in the lane and the Knights got a score from Musgrave, forced a pair of turnovers that resulted in two free throws by Jon Bradshaw and one from Lancaster. The 5-0 run got Northview within 31-18, but the Patriots traded hoops the rest of the quarter as Gant scored hoops around a drive by Jones and a jumper by Musgrave.
The backbreaker might have come with seconds to go in the quarter when the Knights had a shot blocked by Gant and Chris O'Leary answered with a 3-pointer to close the period with a 42-25 Patriots lead.
In the fourth quarter, Northview got three free throws from Lancaster to get within 42-28, but North rallied back with a 3-pointer by Ross Sponsler.
Musgrave led the Knights with 13 points and six rebounds with Lancaster adding 10. Gant topped the Patriots with 12 points, 13 rebounds and Sponsler added 10.
"We spotted them 11 points to start the game, but in the second half we outscored them by two. We did some good things," Maesch said. "We had a lot of kids play their first varsity game tonight and with some jitters and turned the ball over three or four times, but we competed. Terre Haute North is a lot better this year and they are going to do that to a lot of teams."
The Knights are back in action at home this evening in a boy/girl doubleheader against Brown County at 6 p.m.
At Terre Haute North
Reynolds 0-5 0-0 0, Lancaster 3-10 4-6 10, Mershon 1-1 0-0 3, Bradshaw 1-6 2-4 4, Musgrave 5-9 3-4 13, Hyatt 0-2 0-0 0, Talbot 1-1 0-0 2, Wheeler 0-1 0-0 0, Van Horn 0-0 0-0 0, Allen 0-0 0-0 0, Rodgers 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 11-35 10-16 33.
T.H. North (49)
Jones 3-8 2-2 8, C. O'Leary 3-6 0-0 8, Shipley 1-4 0-0 2, Anderson 3-4 1-1 7, Gant 4-11 2-2 12, Gauer 0-2 0-0 0, Sponsler 3-4 2-2 10, C. Blank 1-2 0-0 2, Marshall 0-0 0-0 0, Bolden 0-0 0-0 0, M. O'Leary 0-0 0-0 0, Alexander 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-41 7-7 49.
3-point fieldgoals -- Nv 1-7 (Mershon 1-1, Reynolds 0-4, Lancaster 0-1, Musgrave 0-1), THN 4-11 (O'Leary 2-3, Sponsler 2-3, Shipley 0-2, Gauer 0-2, Gant 0-1). Total Rebounds -- Nv 21 (Musgrave 6, Bradshaw 4), THN 25 (Gant 13). Total Fouls -- Nv 11, THN 15. Turnovers -- Nv 14, THN 14.
JV game -- Terre Haute North 43, Northview 17
FR game -- Terre Haute North 43, Northview 25