Times Sports Editor
Northview finally had a conference opener that they can feel good about following the final horn.
Playing in close games should almost be second nature to most of the Northview boys' basketball team as it was 6-4 last season in games decided by five or fewer points. That's nearly half of the program's 23 total contests last year.
The victory surely wasn't easy either as Northview overcame a rain of 3-pointers by Eagle senior Konnor Graber, who hit three of them in the second half. The Knights built a 36-32 lead after a 3-pointer by Craig Peters off a Damon Hyatt assist.
The advantage was short lived as senior guard Jordan Rose drilled a 3-pointer, a 3-pointer from Graber, a Knights' turnover and a second trifecta from Graber gave the Eagles a quick 41-38 late in the third quarter.
We had a little comfort there at 36-32 and then (Brown County) couldn't miss a shot," Northview coach Ernie Maesch said. "Their fourth-best shooter (Graber) became their best shooter. All of a sudden, now we're down in a hole. We had to change defenses with Damon (Hyatt) in foul trouble. He went out there and did a great job defending with four fouls."
Graber's third 3-pointer opened the scoring in the fourth period and the Knights were behind 44-40. The Eagles' Caleb Wedan, who had 27 points in last year's 79-78 overtime win by Brown County, scored on a lay-up to build a six-point lead. A score by the Knights' Jacob Ninesling preceded two free throws by Rose as Brown County led 48-42 with 4:14 remaining.
At that point, the Knights dug in defensively and got some clutch shooting.
Junior Dallas King drilled a pivotal 3-pointer and a step back 3-pointer by Hyatt narrowed the lead to 50-45 with 3:00 left.
"We got some stops defensively and at the other end, I think Dallas King's 3-pointer was huge. I think we were down six points (48-42) when he made that '3' and (Craig) Peters knocked down a '3' and I want those guys shooting it because they are good shooters when they have their feet set."
After 6'6 Quincy Robinson scored off an offensive rebound for the Eagles, it was Reynolds that sank a 3-pointer with 1:42 left in the contest that got the Knights within 52-51.
Reynolds, who led the Knights with 17 points, missed all four of his shots from the field in the first quarter, much like his teammates as Northview hit only 2-of-15 overall to dig a 13-9 hole early on. Much of that was due to an inability to finish off shots around the hoop.
"Tonight our guards led us in points, our bigs could have had 30 points in the first half, but there was a lid on the goal," joked Maesch.
Once the Knights got rolling however, the team hit 18-of-32 (56 percent) over the final three quarters. Reynolds didn't miss a shot the rest of the way, hitting his final seven shots.
Brown County had a chance to extend the lead with a minute remaining, but Tony Goral missed the front end of a 1-and-1 at the line. The teams exchanged turnovers before the Knights took possession with 26 seconds left.
Northview worked the clock a bit before Reynolds took the ball to the rim, drew contact, but finished for the game-winner.
Wedan nearly stole the victory for the Eagles with a driving lay-up attempt with seconds remaining, but it rimmed out before the final horn.
Hyatt scored 14 points for the Knights and Ninesling added nine rebounds to go with a 10-point, four-rebound game by Ethan Whitson. Peters had seven for the Knights. Graber led the Eagles with 16 points.
"To miss as many little shots as we did and still win the game is remarkable," Maesch said. "We've got to shore some things up defensively, we cut about 10 turnovers, but we need to get it to 10 or under. I think this team has a lot of potential. Probably more potential than the last three teams I've had because we can have different guys lead us in scoring and we can score in a lot of different ways. We just have to keep getting better. This is a big win for us because, first of all, Brown County is a good team, and we're 1-0 in the conference and that gives us an opportunity."
Northview (1-2 overall, 1-0 WIC) travels to West Vigo on Friday night for a boy/girl doubleheader at 6 p.m.
Brown County (52)
Goral 2-4 0-1 5, Rose 2-8 2-2 8, Graber 6-10 1-2 16, Robinson 6-8 1-1 13, Wedan 6-15 0-0 12, Norman 0-0 0-0 0, Parker 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 21-45 4-6 52.
Hyatt 6-11 0-2 14, Peters 2-8 2-3 7, Reynolds 7-12 2-2 17, Whitson 3-7 4-4 10, Ninesling 1-6 0-1 2, King 1-2 0-0 3, Talbot 0-1 0-0 0, Pestoff 0-0 0-0 0, Kimball 0-1 0-0 0, Ball 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-47 8-12 53.
3-point fieldgoals -- BC 6-17 (Goral 1-3, Rose 2-6, Graber 3-5, Wedan 0-3), Nv 5-13 (Hyatt 2-4, Peters 1-4, Reynolds 1-4, King 1-1). Total Rebounds -- BC 28 (Robinson 9, Wedan 4), Nv 23 (Ninesling 9, Whitson 4). Team Rebounds -- BC 2, Nv 2. Total Fouls -- BC 10, Nv 12. Turnovers -- BC 14, Nv 11.