Vikings rise up and bite TigersPublished 11:17am Sunday, December 9, 2012
BENTON HARBOR — There are big wins and then there were big wins.
Visiting Niles got a “big” win against Benton Harbor Friday night.
The Vikings built up an 11-point lead midway through the final quarter and then held on for a 57-53 victory over the Tigers.
“What a great environment for a game!” Niles coach Todd Pawielski said. “Benton Harbor fans are fantastic. We always tell our kids when we come here to embrace the moment. This is a very wonderful and historic place to play.
“We felt if we took care of the ball tonight we had an excellent chance. Benton Harbor sure made us earn it there at the end. We did not want to play one more minute. Not even 10 more seconds. What a great win for our kids.”
Pawielski was right about not wanting the game to be extended.
After Matt Miller’s put-back bucket made it 53-41 with 3:20 to play, Benton Harbor caught fire and began chipping away at the Vikings’ lead.
But despite hitting just 5-of-11 free throws in the fourth quarter, Niles was able to hold on.
The two biggest free throws of the game came from Jeremy Wortham, who connected on both shots with 48.6 seconds remaining to give the Vikings a 56-51 advantage.
The game was really a back-and-forth battle through the first three quarters.
Niles (1-1) grabbed a 12-11 lead after one, but trailed the Tigers (0-2) at halftime 26-24.
The Vikings outscored Benton Harbor 13-8 in the third quarter to open up a 37-32 advantage heading into the final quarter.
Alec Brown led Niles with 19 points, while Anthony Bice added 11.
Benton Harbor was led by Michael Dyson’s 21.
Anthony Bice 11, Alec Brown 19, Connor Glick 2, Jesse Jordan 3, Tate Brawley 7, Jeremy Wortham 7, Matt Miller 2, Mitchell Dean 6. TOTALS: 18 14-21 57
BENTON HARBOR 53
John Robinson 6, Eric Headspeth 3, Moore 13, T.J. Morris 10, Michael Dyson 21. TOTALS: 23 5-9 53
Niles 12 24 37 57
Benton Harbor 11 26 32 53
3-point goals: Niles 7 (Brown 4, Bice, Jordan, Browley), Benton Harbor 2 (Headspeth, Moore). Total fouls (fouled out): Niles 11 (none), Benton Harbor 16 (none). Varsity records: Niles 1-1, Benton Harbor 0-2