Times Sports Editor
West Vigo senior Scott West has developed a well-deserved reputation as a shooter and the provided the daggers that kept Northview from reaching the win column on Friday night.
West nailed five-of-six 3-pointers in the first half on the way to 19-points before the break and then knocked home nine-of-10 free throws in the final quarter to secure a 69-67 Western Indiana Conference battle for the Vikings.
Northview actually held a 13-12 lead after the opening period as Jacob Ninesling scored a pair of hoops and Trent Lancaster had five points for the Knights. However, West was getting heated up and he sank four consecutive shots from long-range to spur the Vikings to a double-digit lead. Northview's Damon Hyatt was able to hit a pair of his own 3-pointers and ended the half with a driving lay-in to get the Knights within 38-30 at the break.
The Knights could have been closer, but poor free throw shooting (five-of-11) and nine turnovers proved costly.
"Going into the game I said the team that made the fewest errors will win," Northview boys' coach Ernie Maesch said. "I think we doubled (West Vigo) in turnovers and we were 14-of-24 from the line and they were 18-of-24 and in those areas alone that is too many errors. We just have a different guy each time down the floor that is making an error and we can't get any consistency."
The Knights started to whittle away at that lead in the third quarter as Jacob Musgrave and Trent Lancaster sandwiched baskets around one from the Vikings' Adrien Corenflos. West Vigo was able to boost the gap back to 44-35 before the Knights made a run to end the period.
Lancaster scored two free throws and added a perfect, finger roll before a free throw from Hyatt. Chance Talbot scored on a spin move in the paint and Hyatt nailed two more from the charity stripe to complete a 9-3 run to end the quarter.
After a huge first half, West was held scoreless in the third quarter as Northview got within 47-44 heading to the fourth quarter.
A 3-pointer from Caleb Mershon got the Knights to within 49-47 and after a score by Ryan Crowther of the Vikings, Lancaster drove to the rim, scored and completed a three-point play. His 3-pointer at the five-minute mark gave the Knights a 53-51 lead.
It wouldn't last very long.
West Vigo countered with two free throws from Zach Lyon, West followed a Knights' turnover with two free throws and then followed with a back breaking 3-pointer with 3:48 remaining. The bomb, part of a 31-point night for West, gave the Vikings a quick 58-53 lead barely after the Knights held the advantage.
"We get up, we have the ball, we're going to spread (West Vigo) out and let Trent (Lancaster) go to work and let him get to the foul line," Maesch said. (The Vikings) had nine fouls on them and we turn around and make silly errors and we go from being up two to being down two or three (points) before you can blink."
From there, the Knights worked on sending the Vikings to the free throw line down the stretch, hoping to catch a break. However, West hit nine-of-10 from the line and the Vikings knocked down 17-of-20 (85 percent) in the final quarter.
The Knights stayed close on three field goals from Dillon Reynolds and a pair of 3-pointers in the final two minutes by Lancaster, who had 30 points. However, the Knights couldn't overcome the Vikings' free throw shooting in the final two minutes.
"We stepped up and did a better job in the second half (on West). We just can't sustain anything. I just need some guys that can give me two minutes in a row. We missed a lot of easy 'bunnies' underneath and we made some silly turnovers against the press. We just need more consistency."
The Knights (0-4 overall, 0-2 WIC) travel to Evansville Central this evening for a 6:30 p.m. junior varsity start.
West Vigo (69)
Houser 3-10 2-4 9, West 8-16 9-10 31, Thornton 4-7 1-4 11, Crowther 4-8 2-2 12, Lyon 0-2 4-4 4, Lindsey 0-1 0-0 0, Corenflos 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 21-47 18-24 69.
Reynolds 3-6 0-0 6, Lancaster 10-18 7-7 30, Mershon 2-9 1-3 7, Ninesling 2-5 1-2 5, Musgrave 2-3 1-2 5, Hyatt 3-7 3-4 11, Talbot 1-2 0-3 2, Robertson 0-1 1-2 1, Hull 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 23-52 14-23 67.
3-point fieldgoals -- WV 9-17 (West 6-9, Houser 1-4, Thornton 2-3), Nv 7-18 (Hyatt 2-2, Lancaster 3-9, Mershon 2-7). Total Rebounds -- WV 26 (Houser 6), Nv 32 (Musgrave 9, Ninesling 8). Total Fouls -- WV 16, Nv 19. Fouled out -- Nv (Musgrave). Turnovers -- WV 12, Nv 14.