Turnovers cost Vikings a winPublished 7:52am Saturday, January 19, 2013
It was deja vu all over again Friday night for the Niles boys basketball team against visiting Kalamazoo Central.
Clinging to a four-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, the Vikings played with a lack of discipline down the stretch and allowed Kalamazoo Central to escape with a 66-63 Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West Division victory.
The game featured six lead-changes and four ties in the fourth quarter, alone, but the Maroon Giants meshed five clutch free throws during the final minute of the contest to seal the Vikings’ fate.
“It’s difficult to win a ballgame with 31 turnovers,” Niles coach Todd Pawielski said. “We were our own worst enemy at times and we were too impatient. We’re not getting in the right spots before we start to attack and we just had a number of turnovers that were horrific.”
Junior Tate Brawley had a monster game for the Vikings, converting three of his six 3-point baskets during the first quarter to help stake Niles to an early, 13-5 lead.
Brawley, who scored a game-high 25 points, netted his fourth trey of the contest during the final minute of the second quarter to propel Niles to a 25-23 lead at halftime, but the Maroon Giants began to assert themselves in the third period.
Sophomore Adrian Young and senior Jamaal Conger combined to produce a 12-2 scoring run during the first four minutes of the third quarter to stake Kalamazoo Central to 35-32 lead, but Niles countered with a triple by senior Jesse Jordan and two more treys by Brawley en route to an 11-2 flurry by the Vikings.
Deadlocked at 44 heading into the fourth quarter, the two teams exchanged the lead five times during a span of three minutes, setting the stage for the final minute of the contest.
In addition to eight fourth-quarter turnovers, the Vikings also missed five free throws down the stretch.
“We missed some (free throws) in the fourth quarter that really would have helped and Kalamazoo Central made some. That was a big swing,” Pawielski said.
“We were just happy to be on the winning end,” Kalamazoo Central coach Ramsey Nichols said. “One of our keys is to pressure the ball, get some traps and see if we can get the other team to play fast.
“Our fight at the end was encouraging. I thought we kept our poise at the end. A couple of calls, here and there, didn’t go our way, but we didn’t unravel and we closed it out.”
In addition to Brawley’s offensive outout, the Vikings also got 16 points from senior Alex Brown and nine points from senior Mitchell Dehn. Niles shot a crisp 54.8 percent from the field (23 of 42) and outrebounded Kalamazoo Central by a 28-25 margin.
Conger scored a team-high 24 points for Kalamazoo Central, while freshman Orlando Little chipped in with 10 points. The Maroon Giants shot 45.6 percent from the field (26 of 57) and turned the ball over just 14 times.
“This is a tough one to take, because it was there for the taking,” Pawielski said. “This is a game that we should have won, and we just weren’t disciplined enough down the stretch. If we take care of the ball just marginally well, we would have won this game fairly comfortably.”
KALAMAZOO CENTRAL 66
Jordan Hunt 3, Jamaal Conger 24, Orlando Little 10, Adrian Young 9, Teris Buchanan 6, Marquevion Peake 5, Davarius Williams 6, Kavon Gardner 1, Sam Knoechel 2. Totals: 26 9-15 66
Tate Brawley 25, Cole Clemens 0, Alex Brown 16, Mitch Dehn 9, Anthony Bice 6, Gevanta Nichols 0, Matt Miller 4, Jesse Jordan 3. Totals: 22 9-17 63
Kalamazoo Central 13 23 44 66
Niles 15 25 44 63
3-point goals: Kalamazoo Central 5 (Hunt, Conger 3, Young), Niles 8 (Brawley 6, Brown, Jordan). Team fouls: Kalamazoo Central 18, Niles 17. Fouled out: None. Niles record: 2-7