Times Sports Editor
TERRE HAUTE -- Northview opened a new girls' basketball season on Thursday night, participating in the Terre Haute Savings Bank Tip-Off Tourney in a first round match-up against the host West Vigo Vikings.
A Vikings' team that started four seniors was able to use that edge in experience to hold off the Knights in a tight game down the stretch for a 36-31 victory. Northview had five freshmen see their first varsity action on those nerves were apparent at times.
"It probably hurt a little bit not having our scrimmage," Northview coach Scott Buell said. "We had the nerves and all those types of things going. We need to understand a little bit better in crunch time, what shot we're looking for and how we're going to get that shot."
Despite their youth, the Knights were efficient during a first half that saw them shoot eight-of-13 (62-percent) from the field while turning the ball over just six times. Northview junior Ashley Hughes hit both of her first quarter fieldgoal attempts and 5-10 freshman Mikayla Rowan hit all four of her attempts for a tidy nine-point, four-rebound effort before break.
The Knights showed that they were going to find different ways to get Rowan the ball inside in an effort to get high percentage looks. Before the half, the Knights succeeded in those attempts to take a 19-18 lead.
After the break, West Vigo went to four-year starter, Brooklyn Waters, who worked off ball screens to get open jumpers. The Vikings also got 5'11 senior center Erin Barton back from early foul trouble and she opened the half with the go-ahead bucket.
Northview junior Sierra Girton responded with a score off her own offensive rebound to put the Knights back out front. However, the Vikings began to gain some momentum off a transition 3-pointer by McKenzie Little.
Turnovers were the story in the second half as Northview lost several opportunities while committing 13 turnovers in the final two quarters.
"For the most part in the first half we executed pretty well," Buell said. "Then in the second half we started turning it over a lot, we got our hands on a lot of balls, but couldn't come up with them. We didn't execute in the second half like we did in the first half."
Opening the fourth period, Waters extended the lead to 30-26 with a jumper on the way to her 13-point effort. Knights' freshman Whitney Halfhill responded with a length of the court drive off a defensive rebound, but West Vigo was in the bonus and would make the most of their chances at the free throw line. Barton hit both of her charity tosses for a 32-28 West Vigo lead.
Hughes gave the Knights their final gasp as she nailed a 3-pointer with 3:50 remaining, but it was Northview's final bucket of the game. The Knights also hit just 2-of-8 free throws in the game despite outrebounding West Vigo 28-20 led by Rowan's 11-rebound effort.
"It came down to, I don't know how many free throws we missed, but (West Vigo) executed better than we did in the second half," Buell said. "I think a lot of that comes down to, they have several players with four years of experience and our inexperience.
"For the most part I thought we rebounded pretty good," Buell said. "Overall our defense was pretty solid. We gave up 36 points, it was a good defensive effort. We're just going to have to execute a little better on the offensive end."
The Knights take on Greencastle Friday night in game two after the opening match-up between North Central and South Vermillion at 6 p.m.
Terre Haute Savings Bank Tip-Off Classic
At West Vigo
Halfhill 1-3 0-0 2, Weddle 0-2 0-0 0, Hughes 3-6 1-4 8, Girton 2-5 0-2 5, Rowan 5-7 0-0 10, Knight 0-3 1-2 1, Timberman 1-1 0-0 2, Kumpf 0-0 0-0 0, Smith 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 13-28 2-8 31
West Vigo (36)
Carlson 0-1 0-0 0, Little 3-7 0-0 7, Br. Waters 6-18 1-6 13, Silcock 2-8 4-6 8, Barton 2-9 3-4 7, Shy. Elkins 0-0 1-2 1. Totals: 13-43 9-18 36
3-point fieldgoals -- Nv 3-5 (Hughes 1-1, Girton 1-2, Rowan 1-1, Weddle 0-1), WV 1-5 (Little 1-3, Waters 0-2). Total Rebounds -- Nv 28 (Rowan 11, Girton 6), WV 20 (Waters 5, Barton 4). Total Fouls -- Nv 15, WV 9. Turnovers -- Nv 19, WV 6. Team Rebounds -- Nv 1, WV 0.