Times Sports Editor
TERRE HAUTE -- The Terre Haute South Braves got off to a slow start this season against some tough competition, but look to be hitting a different gear over the last two weeks.
The Braves followed up a 58-point demolition of Turkey Run Wednesday night by trapping Northview into submission by a 69-46 count in the consolation semifinals of the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic.
South started the season in a 0-5 hole, but have now won back-to-back games in the tourney to reach the consolation bracket championship game at 3:30 p.m.
Northview had trouble handling the Braves trapping defense with its big men in the line-up and were forced to bring in extra guards to handle the pressure. Unfortunately, once the Knights went small, the Braves dominated the boards and got easy put backs to build a 42-30 lead at halftime.
South's Jeffrey Turner scored 14 of his 18 points before halftime and hit 6-of-9 shots from the field. He wasn't alone in his efficiency as 6'2 senior Lucas Steward came off the bench to hit a pair of 3-pointers and 14 of his game-high 20 points before the break.
"We had 13 turnovers at the half and we gave up 13 offensive rebounds. We were down 10 or 12 and then gave up a 3-pointer at the end of the second quarter. That's the first time we've played against a lot of pressure and we didn't really have time to prepare for it," coach Ernie Maesch said of the Braves defense. "I thought as the game went on we got better at it, but the 13 turnovers and 13 offensive rebounds got us in a hole. We had to change defenses and do some things we aren't accustomed to and we got exploited on those."
The Knights got plenty of good looks of their own hitting 11-of-18 with Dillon Reynolds hitting all four of his shots on drives to the hoop and scoring 11 points over the first two quarters. Jim Mace added a pair of buckets and Jacob Ninesling tallied four first quarter points, but the Braves took twice as many shots from the field as the Knights.
Turner knocked down an off-balance 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to give the Braves a 12-point advantage at the break.
The Braves opened the second half with a three-point play by Jermaine Smith, but Hyatt responded with a drive for Northview. However, South followed up with back-to-back scores by Turner, who had 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting.
The Knights were down only 49-37 after a 3-pointer from Craig Peters and a bucket by Reynolds. Peters ended the quarter with a score to get the Knights within 55-41 as part of his 14-point effort.
South was able to pull away in the final quarter of play as Steward scored on a drive and Holden Smith tallied on a lay-in. Peters hit a 3-pointer and Hyatt added a fieldgoal, but the Braves had a 14-5 edge in scoring the final quarter.
"Today was difficult. We have a post-laden team and it's hard to get those guys out there with the quickness of South," Maesch said. "That's what I told the team is that we have to get to the point where we can have our post players able to handle the ball in pressure and make things happen against a team of this quality. We gave (South) too many transitions. When we play them the next time we can shore things up and we'll be a little more prepared."
Northview falls to 3-6 overall and will host Owen Valley on Jan. 6 at 6 p.m.
Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic
Hyatt 3-9 0-0 6, Reynolds 5-7 3-4 13, King 0-2 0-0 0, Talbot 1-1 1-2 3, Ninesling 2-7 2-3 6, Peters 5-9 2-2 14, Hakman 0-1 0-0 0, Mace 2-3 0-0 4, Kimball 0-0 0-0 0, Ball 0-1 0-0 0, Pestoff 0-0 0-0 0, Ellis 0-1 0-0 0, Clark 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-41 8-11 46.
T.H. South (69)
H.Smith 1-4 0-0 2, Benford 6-9 0-1 12, J.Smith 3-10 1-1 7, Etling 1-2 0-0 2, Turner 8-11 0-0 18, Stevenson 0-0 0-0 0, Tofaute 1-2 0-0 2, Jaeger 0-1 0-0 0, Steward 9-12 0-0 20, England 2-2 0-0 4, Gregory 0-0 0-0 0, Tanoos 0-0 0-0 0, Olds 0-2 2-2 2. Totals: 31-54 3-4 69.
3-point fieldgoals -- Nv 2-6 (Peters 2-4, Hyatt 0-1, Ellis 0-1), THS 4-14 (Turner 2-4, Steward 2-5, J.Smith 0-4, Etling 0-1). Total Rebounds -- Nv 17 (Talbot 3), THS 26 (Steward 7, Benford 5). Team Rebounds -- Nv 5, THS 1. Total Fouls -- Nv 4, THS 12. Turnovers -- Nv 19, THS 17.