Times Sports Editor
CLAY CITY -- The Northview Knights appear to be hitting their stride as the season winds down and on Friday night it came at the expense of their county rivals, Clay City.
The Knights got 22 points from Chance Talbot and hit enough free throws down the stretch to claim a 67-59 win over the Eels.
While the Knights usually rely on senior Jonathan Bradshaw in the paint, against the Eels, it was Talbot that made a living in transition and battling inside.
Talbot and Bradshaw combined for 10 of the Knights 15 points in the first quarter, but the Eels hung tough by getting a pair of 3-pointers, one each from Kyle Tiefel and Josh Decker to trail just 15-12.
The second quarter however was when Talbot began to exert himself, getting out in transition to finish off the break a couple of times on his way to hitting all four of his fieldgoal attempts.
The sophomore's effort wasn't lost on his coach, Ernie Maesch.
"Chance is a great finisher, but I'm selfish and I want him to finish every one of them," Maesch said. "I tell him in practice that if no one is around you that you should make a 100 percent of them. Chance is doing a great job for us right now in the role that he's playing."
Logan Higgins kept the Eels inside double-digits by powering to six of his 16 points in the quarter. Clay City also gave the Knights some problems on defense by utilizing a smaller, five guard lineup that was able pressure full court with some effectiveness.
"(Clay City) plays very hard and they are a lot better than their record," Maesch said. "Vance (Edmondson) is doing a very nice job. They gave us all we could handle and they are a quick team. That's something we haven't faced, five guards and the quickness and it gave us problems at times, but we had to adjust to it and we finally did."
The Eels came out in the second half and quickly closed the gap behind junior Tyler Bridgewater, who completed a three-point play followed by a 3-pointer by Ben Denker to knot the game at 33-all.
Talbot followed with a hoop for the Knights that was answered by a score by DJ Newton on a steal in the backcourt. Northview re-opened the gap with a 3-pointer by Caleb Mershon and Jordan VanHorn's lone bucket of the game.
Northview began to open a small gap early in the fourth quarter after Bridgewater completed a three-point play to get the Eels within 46-43. Talbot followed with his own three-point play and after an Eels' turnover, added a free throw for a 50-43 advantage.
After the game, Edmondson was quick to mention that he'd seen more than enough of Talbot.
"That's one of the things we talked about, we had to know where (Caleb) Mershon, (Dillon) Reynolds and (Jonathan) Bradshaw were and we couldn't let some of their role players have a big night and that's what happened," Edmondson said. "(Chance Talbot) got behind us on defense and we didn't rotate."
The lead grew to 52-44 on another bucket by Talbot, but the Knights lost Reynolds, their point guard, to fouls with 4:55 remaining.
Hyatt then stepped up to handle the ball and did admirably as he also hit six late free throws for the Knights, who hit 12-of-19 in the fourth quarter.
"I think that we did a good job the last few minutes playing without one of our main ball handlers in Dillon Reynolds," Maesch said. "Damon (Hyatt) stepped up and played that much better with the ball. Nobody knows, unless you've coached Northview or played Northview, how tough a game this is and the kids, I could see it, played a little bit not to lose."
Mershon got to the line to hit a pair of free throws followed by a score by Bradshaw. Mershon followed with a leaner on the baseline to extend the lead to 57-46 with barely three minutes remaining. Clay City got one last opportunity on a 3-pointer by Newton and a three-point play by Higgins to get within 57-52, but Mershon fired right back with a clutch 3-pointer and the Knights finished the game by hitting nine-of-12 free throws to push the gap back to double-digits at 67-55.
"(Northview) did what they had to do and stepped up and made some free throws and we had two or three possessions there at the end where we couldn't get a basket and couldn't get stops on defense," Edmondson said. "Give them credit, Ernie (Maesch) had them playing well tonight and they knocked down free throws when they had to and we weren't able to capitalize when we had to."
In the JV game, Northview came away with a 51-32 win led by 11 points by Craig Peters, 10 from Braden Parr and eight each from Dallas King and Zach Hull. The Eels were topped by Tyler Allen with 12 and Ethan Shaw with 11.
The Knights have now won five-of-six games to improve to 6-12 overall and the Eels fall to 3-15. Northview hosts Vincennes Lincoln tonight while the Eels host Linton on Feb. 23.
At Clay City
Hyatt 0-2 10-12 10, Talbot 10-12 2-4 22, Reynolds 2-4 0-0 4, Mershon 4-8 2-2 13, Bradshaw 5-8 6-12 16, Allen 0-0 0-2 0, Rohr 0-0 0-0 0, Van Horn 1-1 0-0 2, Hull 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-35 20-32 67.
Clay City (59)
Newton 3-4 1-4 8, Decker 1-1 0-0 3, Denker 1-7 0-0 3, Higgins 7-14 2-3 16, Tiefel 3-4 0-1 7, Jenkins 1-3 2-2 4, Evans 0-2 0-0 0, Bridgewater 6-11 3-3 15, Moore 1-3 1-1 3, Shaw 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 23-49 9-14 59.
3-point fieldgoals -- Nv 3-9 (Mershon 3-7, Reynolds 0-1, Hyatt 0-1), CC 3-12 (Newton 1-2, Decker 1-1, Denker 1-5, Bridgewater 0-2, Evans 0-1, Moore 0-1). Total Rebounds -- Nv 22 (Several with three), CC 25 (Higgins 9). Total Fouls -- Nv 16, CC 23. Fouled out -- Nv (Reynolds), CC (Moore). Turnovers -- Nv 8, CC 10.