Times Sports Editor
TERRE HAUTE -- The Terre Haute North Patriots have been a stumbling block for the Northview boys' basketball team of late with four straight losses coming into Friday's road test against the Patriots.
For three quarters of play, the Knights were even with another sizable North squad, but it was pivotal 12-2 run to open the second half that ultimately tipped the contest in favor of the Patriots, 54-41.
Over the opening 16 minutes of play, North couldn't find its range from beyond the arc, going just 2-of-13 as the game hit the midway point in a 23-all deadlock. However, the Patriots found their stroke during the halftime break.
Loyola of Chicago recruit, Matt O'Leary, scored to open the half and Ross Sponsler followed a Knights' turnovers with a 3-pointer to open a 28-23 gap for the Patriots. Northview got a pair of free throws from Damon Hyatt, but North responded with an offensive rebound and score by the 6'8 Leary and Sponsler added a second 3-pointer just 2:50 into the half.
Turnovers and offensive rebounds again fueled the opposition's run as Sponsler added a put back off an offensive board for a 35-25 Patriots' lead.
"They knocked down a few shots and we had a couple of silly turnovers," Norhthview head coach Ernie Maesch said. "We had 22 turnovers again tonight and once again, if you have 22 turnovers, you are not going to win against a quality opponent. Going into the half I think we had 10. We gave them too many offensive rebounds."
Northview found success in the first half, limiting O'Leary and 6'5 junior Calvin Blank to just five points. However, the duo were a handful in the paint, which helped open up Sponsler from 3-point land.
Ethan Whitson scored a pair of free throws to cut the deficit, but O'Leary completed a three-point play after a Knights' turnover to push the gap to 45-30 before Northview's Jacob Ninesling scored to end the period.
"We executed tonight. Some guys played with guts. We can take a lot away from this. We just have to come out ready to play (tonight). This game is over with. We did some good things," Maesch said. "If we finish some more plays, get a couple more rebounds and knock down a couple more shots. . .(Terre Haute North) is pretty talented. They are long and we lost a little bit of our composure against the 1-3-1 (defense) at times."
In the final quarter of action, a 3-pointer from Reynolds and a jumper from Peters, who got open off a screen by Ninesling, cut the deficit to 50-39, but North was able to finish the game at the free throw line, hitting 12-of-13 in the game and all five in the fourth period.
In the first half, the Knights played North evenly as Craig Peters nailed three shots from long range as part of an 11-point game. Whitson was tough inside with eight of his 10 points before break. The Knights also hit 7-of-16 from the field while North hit for only 33-percent (8-of-24).
When we were patient, we got great shots and got back in the game. Right now it's rebounds and turnovers we're working on. This was a good road test. I thought we played them toe-to-toe most of the time. We are playing well together, we're getting balanced scoring. We just have to make a few easy plays."
In the junior varsity game, Daniel Kimball had 15 points to lead the Knights, but North came away with a 41-32 victory.
Joe Ball had seven points, Nate Newton added four and both Mark Underwood and Christian Ellis posted two.
Northview (0-2 overall) hosts Brown County tonight in a boy/girl doubleheader beginning at 6 p.m.
At T.H. North
Hyatt 2-4 2-3 6, Peters 4-6 0-0 11, Reynolds 3-7 0-0 9, Whitson 2-6 6-6 10, Ninesling 1-3 0-0 2, King 0-0 0-0 0, Talbot 0-0 1-2 1, Pestoff 0-1 0-0 0, Kimball 0-0 2-2 2, Clark 0-0 0-0 0, Hakman 0-0 0-0 0, Ball 0-0 0-0 0, Ellis 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 12-29 11-13 41.
T.H. North (54)
Jahn 0-0 0-0 0, Davis 0-3 0-0 0, O'Leary 5-10 1-1 13, Sponsler 7-14 2-2 20, Blank 2-6 5-5 9, Vickers 0-2 0-0 0, Lewis 3-6 4-5 10, Grady 1-3 0-0 2. Totals: 18-44 12-13 54.
3-point fieldgoals -- Nv 6-12 (Peters 3-5, Reynolds 3-4, Hyatt 0-1, Whitson 0-2), THN 6-19 (Sponsler 4-10, O'Leary 2-5, Davis 0-2, Vickers 0-1, Lewis 0-1). Total Rebounds -- Nv 24 (Whitson 8, Talbot 4), THN 20 (O'Leary 7). Team Rebounds -- Nv 2, THN 0. Total Fouls -- Nv 11, THN 14. Fouled out -- THN (Blank). Turnovers -- Nv 22, THN 12.