Times Sports Editor
PLAINFIELD -- In Friday's sectional opener for the Northview Knights, the Braves of Terre Haute South didn't do anything unexpected, combining stingy defense and a heavy dose of 3-point shooting in the game plan. However, it was a lethal combination that ended the Knights' season 66-45 in the semifinal of the Class 4A Plainfield Sectional.
Northview wasn't the only team to go away disappointed as Martinsville (5-16) shocked 17-7 Terre Haute North in the evening's opener, 33-31.
Those results set up a sectional final game tonight between the Braves and Artesians at 7:30 p.m.
Terre Haute South has made a living from beyond the 3-point line all season and Friday was no different. The Braves attempted 33 shots from beyond the arc and just 13 from two-point range. However, Anthony McGill made the most of his 12 3-point attempts, knocking home seven in the game on the way to a 27-point game that fueled the Braves victory.
What also gave Northview fits was the Braves' defensive tenacity, double-teaming the ball out top and denying the Knights a smooth transition into their half court offense.
"Their length and our lack of length at the guard position and the way they play (gave us problems)," Northview coach Ernie Maesch said. "If they don't play that type of defense then maybe it doesn't bother us as much, but the defense that they are playing, that length gives us a lot of problems."
McGill hit a pair from long range in the opening eight minutes and followed that with three more in the second period as the Braves opened a 31-21 advantage at halftime.
What frustrated Maesch more than the perimeter accuracy of the Braves, was the eight turnovers that the Knights had in the first half.
"They made their shots, I'll give them that," Maesch said. "We just turned the ball over too many times and didn't really execute anything that we've worked on the last 10 days and that's a credit to Terre Haute South and the pressure they put on you up top. We were just unable to find the guys that were open and failed to make plays."
Northview was able to hold the Braves top scorer, John Michael Jarvis, to five points in the first two quarters, but he opened the second half with a steal and a lay-in for a 33-21 lead. Mershon kept the Knights close with a 3-pointer and his own steal that led to a lay-up as Northview closed to within 33-26.
From there however, the Braves got a pair of 3-pointers from McGill sandwiched around a bucket by Jacob Tanoos to extend the lead to 41-28 after a score by Trent Lancaster. Mershon nailed another 3-pointer, one of six in the game for the Knights' junior, but Ike Worrell followed with an offensive rebound and a score for the Braves. Jarvis rang up a long 3-pointer for the Braves before Northview's Damon Hyatt capped the scoring in the third quarter with a fieldgoal.
The lead stood at 46-33 heading into the fourth quarter and the Knights were holding on to a chance at a run to get back into the contest. However, the Braves quickly put those hopes away with a 8-0 run to open the quarter that bumped the gap up to 56-33. South's defense was especially stingy in the final period, holding the Knights to just six shots from the field.
"They are hard to play against and I thought we played competitively with them the first time and did not play a good game so I had that to go into this game and that we had a chance to beat them," Maesch said. "We just couldn't execute offensively and that leads to easy baskets for them and that gets them going offensively and they start making 22 or 25 footers left and right."
The Knights got back within 19 points a couple of times, but the Braves salted the game away with their reserves. Northview senior, Jordan Allen, capped the scoring with a banked 3-pointer to provide the final score.
Mershon led the Knights with 20 points followed by 12 from Lancaster while Jarvis' 14 points was second to McGill's big night.
Afterwards, Maesch commented on the season and the hopes for a resurgent future for the program.
"I told the guys that sometimes you have to get low before you get back up and I think your going to see us in the future get back to what your used to seeing Northview basketball," the Knights second-year coach said. "I'm very proud of the kids, we competed and won games against good quality opponents. I'll miss these two seniors (Jonathan Bradshaw and Jordan Allen) a lot."
Class 4A Plainfield Sectional
Hyatt 2-3 0-0 5, Reynolds 1-5 0-0 2, Lancaster 2-7 8-10 12, Mershon 7-11 0-0 20, Bradshaw 1-5 1-3 3, Talbot 0-1 0-1 0, Allen 1-1 0-0 3, Rohr 0-0 0-0 0, Hull 0-0 0-0 0, Van Horn 0-0 0-0 0, Pestoff 0-0 0-0 0, King 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-33 9-14 45.
T.H. South (66)
McGill 8-14 4-6 27, Jarvis 5-9 2-3 14, Schwartz 0-3 0-0 0, Tanoos 2-9 0-0 5, Worrell 4-4 2-4 11, Smith 2-4 2-2 6, Etling 0-0 0-0 0, Ulrich 0-2 0-0 0, Turner 1-1 1-1 3. Totals: 22-46 8-14 66.
3-point fieldgoals -- Nv 8-13 (Mershon 6-9, Hyatt 1-1, Allen 1-1, Reynolds 0-1, Lancaster 0-1), THS 11-33 (McGill 7-12, Jarvis 2-6, Tanoos 1-7, Worrell 1-1, Ulrich 0-2, Smith 0-2, Schwarz 0-3). Total Rebounds -- Nv 23 (Bradshaw 8, Lancaster 7), THS 25 (Jarvis 6, Worrell 4). Total Fouls -- Nv 15, THS 15. Turnovers -- Nv 18, THS 10.