Times Sports Editor
TERRE HAUTE -- One of the most intriguing aspects of the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic is the small school vs. big school match-ups often provided during the tourney. The Knight's second round battle provided exactly that as Northview (enrollment 1,119) took on Shakamak (enrollment 267) with a semifinal berth at stake.
The Lakers gave Northview all it could handle in a game that featured six second half lead changes before the Knights were able to take advantage of six fourth quarter turnovers to take a 55-48 decision over Shakamak.
"I thought (Shakamak) did a great job. I can't compliment them enough in the way in which they approach the game," Northview coach Clint Weddle said. "We were fortunate enough to beat a team that just had some things happen and I wish they could keep playing."
Lakers' coach Steve Brett has long been known for preparing his teams to play an economical and methodical style that often takes the opposition out of their element. Friday was no different as the Lakers were able to control the pace early and held a 10-6 lead after one quarter. Not helping Northview's case was the foul trouble that starting guard Joe Ball got into almost immediately.
Ball scored 13 in the Knights' opening tourney win over Monrovia, but was on the bench just one minute into the contest. Meanwhile, Laker's senior guard Brodie Crowe got going early with five points in the opening period. The 6'2 scorer came into the game averaging nearly 25 points per contest.
With Ball on the bench, the Knights got a pair of 3-pointers from Craig Peters and pounded the ball into Ethan Whitson, who had six of his 18 points in the second period to go with five boards. His soft jumper off an inbound pass with just one second left in the half beat the buzzer and gave Northview a 20-19 edge at the break.
The third period was a see-saw affair for both teams as two early lead changes led to a score by Jim Mace off a Lakers' turnover and a lay-up by Peters after Mace deflected a pass to open up a 29-24 lead.
"He got his hands on a little bit of everything," Weddle said of the 6'5 Mace. "We're all pressing a little bit seeing that zone. We tried to make (Shakamak) play a little bit quicker than maybe we were even comfortable with and Jim made some great things happen for us and finished right around the hoop."
The margin was short-lived for the Knights as Shakamak responded with a 3-pointer by Dylan Collins a free throw by Crowe and a 3-pointer by Patrick Green after a Knights' turnover. Whitson would score off an assist by Mace to end the period with the second tie of the quarter (31-31).
The Lakers maintained the momentum into the fourth quarter as a 13-4 run ended with a 3-pointer by Crowe, who added a three-point play after a turnover by the Knights. The burst gave the Lakers a 37-33 lead.
The game remained close for several minutes as two free throws by Crowe preceded a baseline drive by Whitson to tie the game at 39-all. Ball, who hadn't played much more than a few minutes in the game after picking up his fourth foul early in the second half, stepped up and knocked home a 3-pointer with 4:45 left in the game. Back-to-back buckets by Whitson and Mace pushed the gap to 46-41.
The Lakers climbed within three points after two free throws by Green and could have gotten closer, but the senior missed a pair with 2:03 remaining.
The Knights would take advantage as Mace scored inside and a steal by Mace led to a 3-pointer by Ball that would put the game out of reach at 51-43.
Turnovers derailed the Lakers' chances of a comeback as Shakamak turned the ball over six times in the final period and 16 times in the game.
Weddle noted that his team's success had plenty to do with not allowing the Lakers to extend their lead early in the fourth quarter.
"I kept thinking that I hope we don't get any further behind the 8-ball because they could have completely taken the air out of the ball," Weddle said. "That would have made it even tougher for us. The guys made just enough plays there at the end and I'm very happy for them. They get to move on and play tomorrow."
Mace poured in 10 points along with Peters and Whitson added eight rebounds to his 18-point game. Crowe led the Lakers with 20 of his team's 48 points. Green added 16 for Shakamak.
Northview (5-2 overall) advances to face Robinson, Ill. in tonight's 7 p.m. semifinal. The Maroons were 63-58 winners over Terre Haute North on Friday night.
Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic
Peters 4-11 0-1 10, Ball 2-5 0-0 6, Hakman 0-6 0-0 0, Whitson 8-12 2-3 18, Mace 5-7 0-2 10, Tanoos 0-0 0-0 0, Clark 0-0 1-2 1, Kimball 1-3 2-2 4, Ellis 1-4 4-7 6, Rogers 0-1 0-0 0, Underwood 0-0 0-0 0, Newton 0-0 0-0 0, Harden 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-49 8-15 55.
Crowe 6-12 6-7 20, Schubla 0-1 1-2 1, Green 5-9 5-9 16, Morin 0-0 1-2 1, Bessling 0-3 0-0 0, Collins 1-1 2-2 5, West 0-1 0-0 0, Walters 0-0 0-0 0, Cox 1-1 0-0 3, Messmer 0-0 0-0 0, Burris 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 14-29 15-22 48.
3-point fieldgoals -- Nv 4-18 (Peters 2-8, Ball 2-4, Ellis 0-2, Hakman 0-4), SH 5-8 (Crowe 2-4, Cox 1-1, Collins 1-1, Green 1-2). Total Rebounds -- Nv 24 (Whitson 8, Peters 4), SH 25 (Bessling 6, Crowe 5). Team Rebounds -- Nv 1, SH 5. Team Fouls -- Nv 16, SH 14. Turnovers -- Nv 5, SH 16.