Times Sports Editor
PLAINFIELD -- Getting off to an 0-5 start to open the boy's basketball season isn't exactly ideal, but the Northview Knights are headed down the stretch playing some of its best basketball.
The Knights claimed their fifth straight victory with a road win at Plainfield on Tuesday night, which improved their mark against sectional opponents to 2-3 this season. After hitting 11-of-12 free throws in the fourth quarter to claim the 61-56 victory, coach Ernie Maesch was pretty happy with his team's performance.
"I thought we executed tonight about as well as we have all year," Maesch said. "We were patient with it and allowed it to work. When we got up on them we were playing patient and then we played impatient for two or three minutes and let (Plainfield) get right back in it, but we showed some composure when they came back and got a one-point lead on us. We came down and kept making the extra pass.
"It was a great win to go on the road and get a quality win over a 4A opponent and keep the momentum going. I'm really pleased with our effort," Maesch added.
The Knights were never able to put the game out of reach, but held a lead for the majority of the game against the Quakers.
Plainfield's 6'6 Chris Page has been a thorn in the Knights' sides for much of his career as his 34-point game against Northview last year will attest. However, the Knights put senior Hunter Robertson on him much of the night and his defensive effort didn't allow Page to take over the game.
"He hit some good free throws and kept some rebounds alive, guarded their best player and hounded him. That's what Hunter does and I love him for that, he gives it everything he's got," Maesch said.
Northview senior Trent Lancaster and Caleb Mershon nailed back-to-back 3-pointers around a bucket by Plainfield's Garrett Hanna to give the Knights a 30-26 lead.
Mershon was clutch most of the night, hitting seven-of-11 shots from the field for 17 points, including three-of-six 3-pointers. He wasn't alone however as the Knights got 17 from Lancaster and a game-high 21 from junior point guard Dillon Reynolds.
Plainfield came out of the gates in the fourth quarter using a reverse lay-up by Gavin Walker and a pair of free throws from Page to take a 39-38 lead. However, Reynolds fired right back with a bucket to regain the lead for the Knights.
"He's very capable of doing that and like I said, we let the game come to us," Maesch said of his junior guard. "When Dillon is playing that well and making those shots and everyone is executing, it makes us that much better."
Lancaster followed with a 3-pointer and Mershon pushed the lead to 45-39. After Eli Wheeler scored for the Quakers, Lancaster's 3-pointer gave Northview a 48-41 lead with 3:18 remaining.
Plainfield wasn't going away easily as Zach Johnson scored inside and a turnover by the Knights gave the Quakers another shot to cut the lead. Johnson followed with a three-point play and the lead was down to 48-46 for the Knights with 2:35 left.
Jacob Musgrave picked a great time for his fourth point of the game for the Knights and Robertson calmly sank a pair of free throws to give the Knights a 52-46 lead with 58.4 seconds left.
The Knights finished off the game at the free throw line as Reynolds hit seven-of-eight from the charity stripe to preserve the victory.
In the JV game, Plainfield hit a tying 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left to send the game into overtime and were able to pick up a 52-51 victory.
Ethan Whitson led the way with 14 points followed by 10 points apiece by Craig Peters and Dallas King and Devin Clark added nine.
Northview improves to 12-9 overall this season and wraps up the regular season on the road tonight against Danville.
Reynolds 6-8 7-8 21, Lancaster 5-9 4-6 17, Mershon 7-11 0-0 17, Robertson 0-2 2-2 2, Musgrave 2-4 0-0 4, Hyatt 0-2 0-0 0, Talbot 0-1 0-0 0, Ninesling 0-0 0-0 0, Pestoff 0-0 0-0 0, VanHorn 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-37 13-16 61.
Walker 5-11 2-3 12, Brackney 1-5 0-0 3, Johnson 5-9 2-3 12, Hanna 3-6 0-0 6, Mershon 0-1 2-2 2, Wheeler 1-3 0-0 2, Page 3-10 9-10 15, Smith 2-4 0-0 4. Totals: 19-52 15-18 56.
3-point fieldgoals -- Nv 8-12 (Reynolds 2-2, Lancaster 3-4, Mershon 3-6), Pl 1-5 (Brackney 1-4, Page 0-1). Total Rebounds -- Nv 21 (Robertson 6, Mershon 4), PL 26 (Johnson 7). Total Fouls -- Nv 12, PL 15. Fouled out -- Pl (Smith). Turnovers -- Nv 10, Pl 8.