Times Sports Editor
The Northview Knights may not have been able to look a sizable Avon Orioles lineup in the eye, but they stood toe-to-toe with them for four quarters on Saturday night, but didn't quite have enough weapons to win the fight. Avon was able to get to the free throw line to salt away a 71-56 victory.
They have a lot of talent and I think we battled. This is three games in a row that we've battled and played well enough probably to win the last two," Northview coach Ernie Maesch said. "I don't know if we were in a position to win it, but we can take a lot from it. We played hard and did some nice things against some great athletes and some big guys."
Avon started a lineup that featured three players 6'5 or taller against the Knights, but Northview didn't let that size disadvantage faze them.
The Orioles have three potential Division I recruits in the starting lineup with 6'5 Kendall Griffin, 6'9 Austin Burgett and 6'6 Jared Miller and the group provided some match-up problems for the Knights early along with guard Dominique Blackmon.
A night after struggling to an 0-19 performance from beyond the 3-point line, Trent Lancaster found his range in the first quarter to knock down a pair from long range to keep the Knights close. Jacob Musgrave scored four early buckets in the paint to keep the Orioles honest and Northview was within 19-14 after the first quarter.
Burgett gave Northview some trouble inside during the first half, but Blackmon did much of the damage with his quickness, tallying seven first half points and creating problems with his court vision. Lancaster dropped two more 3-pointers on the Orioles in the second quarter as Avon tried to take away the Knights inside game.
While Musgrave and Jonathan Bradshaw were held to just a field goal apiece in the second quarter, the Knights played well defensively to hold Avon to five-of-15 field goal shooting and just 11 points.
Trailing 30-24 at halftime, Bradshaw got the Knights within 30-26 with a bucket to open the third quarter, but the Orioles began trapping full court defensively, which caused Northview to commit six turnovers in the third quarter.
After Burgett scored off an offensive rebound, Blackmon was the beneficiary of back-to-back Northview turnovers, scoring on lay-ins to push the lead to 36-26. Griffin followed with a 3-pointer and the lead had grown to double-digits.
"We didn't execute the way we're supposed to, that's basically what it was. I think I had one timeout left and we had to use them all early in the game when we were in trouble and to make substitutions sometimes and give a guy a breather," Maesch said. "Yeah, they put that little run on us there and got up, we would have liked to have executed better out of it, but it's hard to see out of that trap because they are so big."
The lead would grow to as many as 16 as Burgett had 12 of his team-high 22 points in the quarter and basically had his way inside.
Lancaster kept the Knights within striking distance as he stayed aggressive with 11 of his game-high 28 points in the quarter. Burgett scored the final two field goals of the period, including a dunk to give Avon a 54-39 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The final series of the quarter was also costly to the Knights as Musgrave went to the sideline with an unknown injury and didn't return.
In the fourth quarter, Northview did enough to stay close over the first five minutes as Bradshaw scored 10 points in the quarter, battling inside despite giving up as much as five inches to Burgett.
Bradshaw and Musgrave's ability to play at a high level against top talent was one of the high points according to Maesch.
"If our post players can score against 6'6 or 6'7 guys and our guards can score against their quickness then I think we should be able to compete with everyone on our schedule," Maesch said. "Avon might be the best team on our schedule."
Northview would get as close as 10 points a couple of times in the quarter, but the Orioles were able to hit their free throws down the stretch to hold off the Knights.
Lancaster had 28 points, Bradshaw tallied 18 to go with eight rebounds and Musgrave added 10 points, but no other Knight scored, which Maesch mentioned, needs to be remedied.
"Our big guys have done an excellent job so far this year. Obviously Trent played real well tonight and put points on the board for us and we need that, but we need a couple other guys to step up and get some points," Maesch said. "We need the other two starters to get involved and do some things and understand what we're trying to do."
The Knights are now 0-5 overall and are off until Dec. 28 when they play at the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic.
Sarver 1-3 0-0 2, Blackmon 6-12 18, Griffin 3-12 2-3 10, J.Miller 2-5 2-4 6, Burgett 8-16 4-5 22, Mayberry 2-2 1-2 6, Dickison 3-7 1-2 7, Burns 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 25-57 15-22 71.
Reynolds 0-4 0-0 0, Lancaster 8-16 9-10 28, Mershon 0-2 0-0 0, Bradshaw 7-15 4-4 18, Musgrave 5-6 0-0 10, Hyatt 0-1 0-0 0, Van Horn 0-0 0-2 0, Allen 0-0 0-0 0, Rohr 0-0 0-0 0, Talbot 0-0 0-0 0, King 0-1 0-0 0, Hull 0-0 0-0 0, Wheeler 0-0 0-0 0, Pestoff 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-45 13-14 56.
3-point fieldgoals -- Avon 4-11 (Mayberry 1-1, Blackmon 1-3, Griffin 2-6, Burgett 0-1), Nv 5-15 (Lancaster 5-8, Mershon 0-2, Reynolds 0-4, Bradshaw 0-1). Total Rebounds -- Avon 34 (Burgett 13, J.Miller 6), Nv 26 (Bradshaw 8, Lancaster 5). Total Fouls -- Avon 19, Nv 16. Fouled out -- Avon (J.Miller). Turnovers -- Avon 9, Nv 14.
JV game -- Avon wins 48-28.
Freshman game -- Avon wins 51-28.