Times Sports Editor
The Northview Knights stepped back into league play on Friday night and were able to halt a six-game slide, winning an old fashioned shootout against South Vermillion, 79-75. The victory was important for various reasons, not the least of which was improving to 3-1 in the WIC and keeping the Knights in the running for a conference title.
"I'm very happy for the guys to come out on top," Northview coach Clint Weddle said. "We needed a win and we got one."
South Vermillion might have come in with just two wins on the season, but it was quickly evident that this was going to be a battle throughout as the Wildcats led at each of the first three quarter stops.
The third period was where things really got interesting in a quarter that saw eight lead changes. However, it was South Vermillion that made the biggest run as turning a three-point deficit (52-49) into a 58-52 lead in the waning moments of the period.
After a three-point play and a free throw by the Knights' Ethan Whitson put his squad up by three points, South Vermillion took control.
Kaden Lawson hit two free throws and Tristan Spivey added a jumper to put the Wildcats up 53-52. However, it was the following sequence that threatened to end the Knights' hopes of a victory.
Freshman Dru Strayer drilled a 3-pointer as a foul was called on Northview away from the shot and a technical was whistled on Whitson at the same time. Lawson hit two free throws and SV maintained possession, but would turn the ball over, limiting the damage to just a five-point play and a 58-52 Wildcats' lead.
The play seemed to be just the spark that the Knights needed.
Craig Peters drained a 3-pointer to end the third quarter and the momentum carried quickly into the final period.
Travis Hakman calmly sank a 3-pointer to open the fourth period, Devin Clark made a steal and tipped the ball ahead to himself for a lay-in to put the Knights ahead. The rally continued after Lawson tied the score at 60-all as Peters drained another 3-pointer, Hakman scored off a nifty drive and a bucket by Whitson preceded another trifecta from Hakman.
"I think that was big," Weddle said of Peters' 3-pointer to end the third quarter. "But Devin (Clark) defensively and (Travis) Hakman there made huge plays along with that '3'. It really got us going when we went to that zone," Weddle said. "(Hakman) gave it everything he had. He made some huge plays and he finished with nine points in the fourth quarter."
Northview had strung together an 18-2 run over barely four minutes and suddenly lead 70-60 near the midpoint of the quarter.
South Vermillion would whittle the lead down to 74-72 thanks to some inopportune Northview turnovers, but a score by Whitson off an assist by Peters broke a 12-4 Wildcats' run. Whitson added a free throw with 24 seconds remaining and Peter Tanoos capped a seven-point game with two free throws to solidify the victory.
"It took a little bit of everybody. We need not forget that (Daniel) Kimball was big for us in the first half to keep us in the ball game. (Peter) Tanoos was big too in the second quarter. Everybody played a role. It felt like Joe (Ball) gave us a shot of energy coming out of the half," Weddle said. "There were times when every player made something happen. (Christian) Ellis hits two 3-pointers in the third. So you can go right down the list."
Kimball was indeed big in the first half, scoring eight of his 10 points before the break and Whitson added 11 of his 22 points in the opening two periods.
The Knights improve to 6-8 overall and host Evansville North tonight at 6 p.m.
Tanoos 1-4 5-5 7, Peters 4-10 0-1 12, Ellis 2-3 2-2 8, Whitson 8-13 6-10 22, Mace 1-3 0-0 2, Ball 2-5 0-0 5, Clark 1-1 0-0 2, Hakman 4-7 1-1 11, Kimball 2-2 6-7 10. Totals: 24-47 20-27 79.
Branz 2-4 5-6 9, Spivey 7-10 2-6 16, Lawson 8-15 8-9 24, Luft 2-5 0-0 4, Hines 0-3 3-4 3, Weyrauch 1-2 0-0 2, Strayer 2-5 0-0 5, Morgan 4-7 2-2 10, Waldrop 0-0 0-0 0, Crouch 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 27-52 20-27 75.
3-point fieldgoals -- Nv 9-19 (Peters 4-8, Ball 1-4, Ellis 2-2, Hakman 2-3, Whitson 0-2), SV 2-12 (Strayer 2-3, Weyrauch 0-1, Lawson 0-4, Morgan 0-1, Luft 0-1). Total Rebounds -- Nv 29 (Whitson 9, Kimball 5), SV 24 (Spivey 5). Total Fouls -- Nv 21, SV 24. Turnovers -- Nv 17, SV 16.