Times Sports Editor
SULLIVAN -- Hitting the road for a conference basketball on Friday night is never an easy task and the Northview Knights squared off with a pair of tough Sullivan squads in a boy/girl doubleheader.
Both Knights' teams dug themselves sizable first quarter deficits, but only the boys were able to mount a serious rally against the Arrows. The boys' team fell behind by as many as 15 at halftime before rallying in the second half to take a lead into the fourth quarter. However, the Arrows dug in during a fourth quarter battle to capture a 59-52 victory.
The Northview girls also trailed by double-digits at the break, but were unable to post a threat to the Arrows, who pulled out to a 64-33 win.
For the Northview boys team, coming off a conference win against Owen Valley last Saturday night, the Arrows were a good measuring stick, coming in with a 15-2 record having won nine-of-10 games.
The Arrows looked to be every bit as good as their record in the first half as sophomore James Lisman took advantage of the Knights concentration on 6'6 classmate, Rhett Smith.
Lisman carried the Arrows in the second quarter, scoring 10 of his 18 points in the quarter. He did most of his damage in the paint, cutting to the hoop and completing a pair of three-point plays. His efforts and a two-of-seven shooting performance from the Knights in the quarter contributed to a 34-19 Sullivan lead at the break.
Coach Ernie Maesch was undoubtedly unhappy with his team's effort to that point and whatever his said in the locker room lit a fire under the Knights.
After an early drive by Caleb Turner for the Arrows, Mershon hit another bucket followed by one from Jonathan Bradshaw in transition. Smith followed with a turnaround jumper for the Arrows, but the Knights press began to take affect.
Bradshaw went baseline for a score to get the deficit within 38-28 and an Arrows turnover led to another Mershon 3-pointer. Northview's defense forced another turnover, one of three straight for the Arrows and Mershon scored off an offensive rebound. Cue another Arrows' miscue and Mershon drained another 3-pointer to get the Knights within two points.
"Our kids showed me something tonight," Northview coach Ernie Maesch said. "We only put a press in this week and we got after them a little bit and I thought the kids did a great job getting into it. Caleb (Mershon) knocked some shots down, which was great. Teams are not going to be able to set in on Trent (Lancaster) when he does that and the rest of the guys played well."
Trent Lancaster followed with a jumper and the game was tied at 38-apiece. The Arrows finally broke a 12-0 run on a score by Turner, but a bucket by Dillon Reynolds and a one-handed leaner in the paint by Lancaster sent the Knights into the final period with a 42-40 lead.
The Knights outscored Sullivan 23-6 in the third quarter and hit 10-of-13 shots from the field.
Sullivan apparently got a wake-up call from coach Jeff Moore during the break between periods as they came out with two free throws from Lisman and a bucket off an offensive rebound by Smith. The sophomore was held to just five points through the first three quarters, but made good use of the final eight minutes.
Smith would score five of the next six baskets for the Arrows as Northview stopped helping on the forward defensively in the paint.
Sullivan crept back ahead 50-45 on a score by Smith, but Mershon nailed another 3-pointer, one of six in the game for the senior, to narrow the gap again. Smith followed with another hoop on his way to 15 points, but the Knights' Dillon Reynolds hit a bomb from beyond the arc to get Northview within 52-51.
From there however, the Knights were plagued by turnovers, committing five in the quarter and Sullivan got a three-point play from Dreyson Boyd with 1:49 to go to follow a score by Smith and Turner added a free throw to push the lead back to 58-51 with under a minute remaining.
"We dug ourselves too big of a hole, but we got back into the game and got ourselves a lead and from that point on, we just didn't play real smart," Maesch said. "We kept being aggressive, but we had some crucial turnovers and lost our head in the halfcourt defense and we quit helping down on (Rhett) Smith."
Mershon had a game-high 22 points followed by Lancaster with 16 for the Knights. Boyd added three 3-pointers in the first quarter on his way to 14 for the Arrows.
In the girls' game, the Knights fell behind early in the first quarter before rallying to within 12-10 at the first stop. Kelsey Searing had a three-point play and one from beyond the arc to narrow the Sullivan lead.
From that point on however, Sullivan exerted its size advantage in the paint, especially after the Knights' Chelsey Sampson went to the bench in foul trouble.
Sullivan outrebounded Northview 13-4 in the second quarter and 6'1 Rhagen Smith scored eight of her 18 points as the Arrows pulled out to a 28-17 lead at the half.
The rebounding difference was a sign of things to come for Northview, which was beat on the boards 43 to 26 in the game.
Anytime you get outrebounded by 20-plus, you know it's going to be a bad night," Northview coach Lu Anne Anderson said. "It's unfortunate because we came out in the first quarter and we were in the ballgame and we were still in the game at halftime. Sometimes it just seems like we're waiting for the bottom to fall out and we wait for that moment and then it's like 'here it comes again."
Opening the second half, the Knights got a score from Carlee Bell and a pair of free throws from Jessica LaTourette to get within 30-21, but the arrows strung together a 14-5 run to end the quarter behind a balanced scoring effort.
The Knights hit four-of-seven shots in the third period, but the Arrows took 12 more shots in the quarter and hit all six of their free throws to extend the lead to 46-28.
Sullivan finished the game by hitting eight-of-15 in the fourth quarter as Northview scored just five points in the final quarter.
Searing led the Knights with 15 points, but no other player had more than five points.
Despite the loss, Anderson saw some positives in her seniors' play.
"We're going to keep battling and we're going to keep our heads up and keep trying hard. I think our seniors played really hard tonight," Anderson said. "Carlee Bell came in and made some night shots and Kelsey Searing led us on the floor in point totals and I think they both did a nice job in a leadership role. We just need other girls to step up."
The Northview boys (2-12 overall, 1-5 WIC) take on Plainfield at home Friday night while the girls (4-14 overall, 2-3 WIC) hit the road to Plainfield on Tuesday night.
Hyatt 1-4 0-0 3, Reynolds 2-6 0-0 5, Lancaster 6-12 4-6 16, Mershon 8-11 0-1 22, Bradshaw 3-6 0-0 6, Talbot 0-0 0-0 0, Allen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-40 4-7 52.
Boyd 5-9 1-1 14, Lisman 5-7 7-8 18, Smith 7-14 1-3 15, Bedwel 3-5 0-0 6, Turner 2-6 2-5 5, Pirtle 0-2 1-2 1. Totals: 22-43 11-16 59.
3-point fieldgoals -- Nv 8-18 (Hyatt 1-4, Reynolds 1-4, Lancaster 0-1, Mershon 6-9), SL 3-11 (Boyd 3-6, Pirtle 0-1, Bedwell 0-1, Turner 0-3). Total Rebounds -- Nv 18 (Mershon 5, Lancaster 5), SL 27 (Smith 10). Total Fouls -- Nv 15, SL 10. Turnovers -- Nv 14, SL 12.
Conrad 0-4 0-0 0, McKee 1-3 0-3 2, Sampson 2-2 0-0 4, Searing 6-11 1-1 15, J.LaTourette 1-4 2-5 4, Webster 1-7 0-0 2, Bell 2-4 0-0 5, Carter 0-0 1-3 1, Girton 0-0 0-0 0, Hughes 0-1 0-0 0, Weddle 0-0 0-1 0, D.LaTourette 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-36 4-13 33.
Jones 3-6 1-4 7, Mann 2-5 0-2 4, Benninfield 1-2 0-0 2, Gadberry 4-8 2-5 10, Smith 7-17 4-5 18, Walters 1-5 2-2 4, Bond 2-2 1-2 5, Gilham 1-2 0-0 3, Harrison 0-1 0-0 0, Burr 4-6 1-4 9, Whitlock 1-4 0-0 2, Will 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 26-58 11-26 64.
3-point fieldgoals -- Nv 3-9 (Bell 1-1, Webster 0-2, Searing 2-5, Hughes 0-1), SL 1-5 (Gilham 1-2, Jones 0-2, Mann 0-1). Total Rebounds -- Nv 26 (J.LaTourtte 4, Conrad 4), SL 43 (Smith 9, Bond 6, Gadberry 6). Total Fouls -- Nv 17, SL 17. Turnovers -- Nv 23, SL 13.