Times Sports Editor
A lot can be said for continuity as Wednesday's boys' basketball season opener between Northview and visiting Vincennes Lincoln proved.
The Alices returned much of their varsity roster from last year while the Knights had a variety of new faces getting their first action at the highest level. Vincennes Lincoln was able to take advantage of that in the second half of a 53-41 victory over Northview.
Northview was in foul trouble throughout the game, but it became an increasingly larger problem at the end of the third quarter with Vincennes holding a tentative 36-34 lead.
At that point, Northview senior point guard Dillon Reynolds was whistled for his fourth foul seconds before 6'5 sophomore Ethan Whitson.
The pair were forced to the bench for the final 40 seconds of the period and the Alices began to take charge.
Whitson's night ended early in the fourth quarter called for his fifth foul and the post player's night concluded with him barely having broken a sweat. However, his effectiveness in his miniscule minutes on the court (five points and one rebound), left head coach Ernie Maesch wondering what might have been.
The foul trouble was really a problem more than just in the third quarter," Maesch said. "We need (Ethan) Whitson in there too. I don't know where the game would have been if he would have been in there longer."
Vincennes smelled blood after a jumper from senior Bryce Nowaskie pushed the Alices' lead to 40-36. At that point, Vincennes amped up the pressure on defense, which contributed to turnovers on the Knights' next four possessions. Compounding the problem, Reynolds was called for an over-the-back call on a rebound and he was forced to the sideline with his fifth foul.
The turnover string included a lay-in off the break in the action following Reynolds' foul. The Knights weren't back on defense yet as Jordan Shots laid home a 42-36 lead. Back-to-back turnovers by the Knights led to a free throw from Cameron Claycomb and another lay-in by Nick Klumpp. The 9-0 Alices run effectively pushed the game out of reach as Vincennes upped its lead to 47-36 before a score by Craig Peters ended the string.
With 4:35 left in the game, the Knights trailed 47-38, but were unable to creep any closer as Vincennes got two free throws from Janzten Goodwin and another lay-up by Klumpp with Northview reserves on the floor.
"Inexperience showed a little bit there in the fourth quarter. We have to keep guys out of foul trouble and we have to play like we did the first three quarters," Maesch said.
The early stages of the game were promising for the Knights as they patiently worked for good shots and forced a total of 10 turnovers in the first half.
Damon Hyatt hit his first two shots from the field on short jumpers and Reynolds added a pair of buckets of his own on the way to a team-high 11 points.
Northview opened a 14-9 lead after the opening period and kept a 25-24 at the break despite a pair of 3-pointers from Goodwin.
The lead see-sawed early in the second half with the Knights' lead growing to 42-38 on a 3-pointer by Reynolds, but the fouls began to mount for Northview.
Cameron Claycomb used his quickness and experience to get to the line for two free throws and drew a three-point play before scoring on a baseline lay-up in a 6-0 run to put Vincennes up 34-32. Northview's Jacob Ninesling hit a jumper to tie the score, but Vincennes responded with a 13-2 run into the fourth period.
Despite the loss, Maesch found some positives to take into a Dec. 2 road trip to Terre Haute North.
"We can take a lot of good from this game. We had a lot of balanced scoring, we were hard to guide there for the longest time and we played some pretty good defense. (Vincennes) got too many putbacks there in the first half and I thought we adjusted well in the second half. We just have to keep getting better."
In the JV game, the Knights' hit 8-of-12 free throws in the fourth quarter to salt away a 36-26 victory against Vincennes.
Joe Ball hit the Alices for 15 points with Tyler Rector contributing eight points followed by six from Daniel Kimball. Christian Ellis scored three points followed by two apiece from Conner Ganly and Mark Underwood.
Vincennes Lincoln (53)
Goodwin 4-6 2-2 12, Klumpp 3-8 4-4 10, Ca. Claycomb 4-9 3-7 11, Br. Nowaskie 2-6 2-2 7, Shots 3-4 1-4 7, Hudson 0-1 0-0 0, Mickens 3-4 0-0 6. Totals: 19-38 12-19 53.
Hyatt 3-10 0-1 6, Reynolds 5-8 0-0 11, Talbot 2-3 0-0 4, Whitson 2-3 1-2 5, Ninesling 2-3 2-2 6, Peters 3-4 0-0 6, King 1-3 0-0 2, Pestoff 0-0 1-2 1, Ball 0-1 0-0 0, Kimball 0-0 0-1 0, Ellis 0-1 0-0 0, Hakman 0-1 0-0 0, Clark 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 18-37 4-8 41.
3-point fieldgoals -- VL 3-10 (Goodwin 2-4, Nowaskie 1-2, Ca. Claycomb 0-1, Klumpp 0-3), Nv 1-10 (Reynolds 1-3, Hyatt 0-4, Peters 0-1, Ellis 0-1, Hakman 0-1). Rebounds -- VL 23 (Mickens 8), Nv 13 (Ninesling 4). Team Rebounds -- VL 5, Nv 7. Total Fouls -- VL 15, Nv 17. Turnovers -- VL 16, Nv 21