Times Sports Editor
VINCENNES -- Northview boys' basketball coach Ernie Maesch has his team focusing on defense this season and it showed in Wednesday's opening contest on the road at Vincennes Lincoln. The Knights held the Alices to 28 percent (13-of-46) shooting for the game, but a couple of small errors proved to be costly as Northview let a 36-33 decision slip away.
Vincennes junior Jantzen Goodwin got free to hit back-to-back 3-pointers with under three minutes left in the game and they turned a 31-26 deficit into a 32-31 lead for the Alices. Goodwin, who scored 19 points in a win over the Knights last season, tallied 10 of his 15 points in the final quarter.
"We completely outplayed them," Northview coach Ernie Maesch said about Vincennes. "The last two minutes, three breakdowns in a row on No. 3 (Jantzen Goodwin) on a ball screen and they get right back in the game. We're up five points, we still had opportunities, missed lay-ups, two-for-seven from the free throw line, I mean it was completely our game and we handed it to them."
Maesch was understandably upset about losing a game that the Knights led pretty much from the opening tip.
"We've got to learn how to win games, win close ones," Maesch said. "Some people have to grow up and some people have to defend late in games. It's funny how practice carries over to games and tonight was an example of that."
Northview got a 3-pointer and a two-point fieldgoal from Damon Hyatt in the opening quarter as Northview opened a 9-7 lead as Goodwin hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer. His clutch shooting was a bit of foreshadowing for a Knights' squad that played excellent defense for much of the game. While Northview was patient on offense, Jacob Musgrave scored a pair of buckets in the second quarter and Keaton Robertson added a hoop to put the Knights up 20-15 at halftime. Northview was efficient from the field, hitting nine-of-16 shots, but the Alices were pounding the Knights on the boards 21-to-13 before halftime.
Indeed the Knights maintained the lead into the third period, but Vincennes began to rally.
Freshman Avory Mickens scored on a drive and Goodwin added two free throws to get Vincennes within 20-19. With 3:10 left in the period, Jordan Shots powered his way to a bucket in the paint to give the Alices their first lead of the game at 21-20. Trent Lancaster answered with a 3-pointer for Northview, but Vincennes held a narrow 24-23 lead heading into the final period.
Northview got untracked to start the fourth quarter as Jacob Ninesling scored on a scoop shot and Caleb Mershon knocked home a 3-pointer to put the Knights back in front at 28-24. After Mickens hit a pair of free throws, Lancaster responded by driving for a scored and a three-point to give the Knights a 31-26 advantage with just 3:20 remaining. However, Goodwin slipped free at the other end and drained a 3-pointer and followed it with another to put Vincennes up 32-31 with just 1:52 left. Lancaster came back with a scoring drive to put the Knights back in front, but Goodwin capped the rapid-fire exchange with a baseline drive to give Vincennes the lead for good with 1:00 left in the game.
After 54 combined points had been scored over the first 29 minutes, the teams combined for 13 in a span of 2:20 during the run that put the Alices up 34-33. From there, Dillon Reynolds missed on a driving attempt at the rim, Goodwin added two free throws and both Lancaster and Reynolds missed potential tying 3-pointers in the final nine seconds of the frustrating defeat.
"The defense is there, the rebounding portion has got to get better, but I'm not so sure it won't when I get different people in there," Maesch said. "I'm going to play different players in rebounding. We could have more athletic kids in there if they made more of a commitment in the offseason."
Lancaster led the Knights with 13 points and both Mershon and Hyatt added five. Lancaster had seven rebounds with Ninesling contributing five. Vincennes, which outrebounded the Knights 34-23 for the game, got 10 boards from Tyler Stutzman and eight from Shots. Goodwin led the team with 15 points.
In the junior varsity game, Northview lost 42-22 as Ethan Whitson scored seven points and Braden Parr contributed six.
Northview (0-1 overall) hosts Terre Haute North on Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m.
At Vincennes Lincoln
Reynolds 1-5 0-2 2, Lancaster 5-10 2-3 13, Mershon 2-7 0-0 5, Robertson 1-1 0-1 2, Musgrave 2-6 0-0 4, Hyatt 2-5 0-0 5, Hull 0-0 0-0 0, Ninesling 1-1 0-0 2, Pestoff 0-0 0-0 0, Talbot 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-35 2-6 33.
Vincennes Lincoln (36)
Goodwin 4-11 4-5 15, Hudson 1-5 1-3 3, Niwaskie 1-4 0-1 2, Welfel 0-4 0-0 0, Shots 3-7 0-3 6, Cam. Claycomb 2-5 0-0 4, Mickens 2-8 2-2 6, Stone 0-0 0-0 0, Stutzman 0-4 0-0 0. Totals: 13-46 7-14 36.
3-point fieldgoals -- Nv 3-10 (Hyatt 1-2, Lancaster 1-3, Mershon 1-4, Reynolds 0-1), VL 3-10 (Goodwin 3-4, Hudson 0-3, Welfel 0-2, Nowaskie 0-1). Total Rebounds -- Nv 23 (Lancaster 7, Ninesling 5), VL 34 (Stutzman 10, Shots 8). Total Fouls -- Nv 17, VL 10. Turnovers -- Nv 8, VL 8.