By CAREY FOX
Times Sports Editor
As far as pre-season tests go, Northview's scrimmage match-up with Princeton the last two years is a pretty stern exam. However, the Knights used the experience to work on different combinations in their lineups and came away with a 50-49 edge in scoring over the course of the four varsity quarters that were 12 minutes long with a running clock. Free throws were only shot on fouls that occurred with under a minute remaining in a quarter.
Head coach Ernie Maesch felt that his squad improved as the contest went on and gelled as the players began to get a feel for playing with each other.
"I thought our intensity picked up as the game went on. This group hasn't played together. We're mixing a lot of guys, seniors, juniors, sophomores and I thought we started to click as the game went," Maesch said.
The Tigers, a team that had gone a combined 65-14 the past three years and was second in the state in scoring last year, returned some of the same tools that enabled them to go 15-8 in 2011.
Princeton outscored the Knights 14-6 in the opening period of play as Holder tallied half of the Tigers points. The Tigers' Michael Bugher, a 6'0 guard, scored on an open 3-pointer and had five points and four boards in the quarter.
"Early on we gave up some open looks to (Princeton). We struggled throughout the game to put the ball in the hole. We executed well and got some open looks," Maesch said. "We might have taken some contested shots. Wide opens shots just weren't going in, but that's why you play scrimmages."
Ethan Whitson, one of four players on the Knights' varsity roster listed at 6'4 or taller, had four of his nine points in the opening quarter.
The second period saw the Knights use some of their transition game to get some easy scores and those open looks started going down as well.
Damon Hyatt and Dillon Reynolds both hit 3-pointers and both Chance Talbot and Craig Peters hit field goals in a 21-point outburst for the Knights. Overall, the Knights forced six turnovers and won the period by a 21-15 margin.
Princeton returned to form in the third quarter behind a pair of 3-pointers from Holder and four from his sophomore brother, Tyler.
Northview got a 3-pointer from Travis Hakman and a bucket from Jacob Ninesling near the final horn to pull within a 12-5 margin in the third quarter.
The final quarter's action went the Knights way as Hyatt locked down his man on the defensive end, forcing a couple of turnovers and scoring on lay-ins that allowed Northview to pull away for an 18-8 edge in the final period.
Hyatt had 14 points in the scrimmage and Reynolds added seven followed by Whitson's nine.
"It was good for us to get our feet wet. It gave me a chance to look at different combinations and different defenses. I told the kids that we're taking this quarter-by-quarter and I'm evaluating. I'm not coming out here per se to play a game to win. We played a lot of kids and Princeton doesn't have a lot of kids. Their guys were out there about the whole time. We were all tired I think.
"I thought Damon Hyatt played incredibly hard," Maesch continued. "He gave us a lot there. As the year goes on our defense will get better and shots will go in. Ten years ago I would have probably been too upset and putting too much value into the scrimmage. I saw where you start and where you finish and it was a good opportunity for us and I could see us get better over the five quarters"
In the junior varsity quarter, Princeton came away with an 18-11 margin as Northview struggled to contain the Tigers' 5'11 sophomore Josh Dyer.
Dyer scored eight points with junior Jayson Jamerson adding six for the Tigers.
Northview got a 3-pointer from Joe Ball and four points from 6'5 sophomore Daniel Kimball, who added three rebounds. Christian Ellis, a 6'2 transfer from Terre Haute South, added a pair of rebounds and both Jim Mace and Tyler Rector had scores.
The Knights get the season underway with a pre-Thanksgiving tilt at home against Vincennes Lincoln on Wednesday beginning at 6 p.m. with the junior varsity contest.