Vikings eliminated by St. JosephPublished 9:22am Tuesday, February 26, 2013
ST. JOSEPH — It didn’t take long for St. Joseph to assume command in Monday night’s Class A girls basketball district quarterfinal game against Niles.
Less than 10 seconds, to be exact.
A layup by Erika Priebe accounted for the game’s first points just seven ticks after the opening tip, and suffocating defensive pressure helped propel the experienced Lady Bears to a 60-32 victory over youth-laden Niles.
Niles (0-21) turned the ball over 27 times, with many of the miscues coming against swarming full-court pressure. In all, St. Joseph tallied 32 points following turnovers by the Lady Vikings.
“That matchup for us is very difficult,” Niles coach Pat Touhey said about St. Joseph. “They’re very good, very experienced and a lot stronger. They execute very well, and they’re going to expose a weak team fairly easily. They have at least three players who were on the varsity since they were freshmen, so they’ve been at it for four years.”
St. Joseph parlayed aggressive pressure into easy offense throughout the first half. A 14-2 scoring run staked the Lady Bears to a double-digit lead before the game was six minutes old and a 9-2 spurt in the second quarter staked them to a 33-17 lead by halftime.
“I thought we played pretty well tonight, and our experience was a big part of it,” St. Joseph coach Jeff Wallace said. “The length of our perimeter players causes some people some problems. We were able to get some deflections, and when we’re able to do that we can be pretty good in the open floor.”
Sophomore Jaiden Rolan scored a team-high nine points in a reserve role for Niles, and the Lady Vikings got a game-high 12 rebounds from freshman Jazmin Brann. The respective efforts of the two players drew the praise of Touhey.
“Jaiden is the most offensive-minded player we have. She loves to shoot the ball,” he said. “We need her on the floor in terms of what she brings to us, offensively.
“And I am very happy with Jazmin. She works hard and has picked up a lot of slack.”
As a team, Niles shot a chilly 24.5 percent from the field (12 of 49), but outrebounded the Lady Bears by a 40-34 margin.
St. Joseph got a game-high 18 points from Erika Priebe, while younger sister Robyn Priebe chipped in with 13 points. The Lady Bears will face Mattawan Wednesday in the semfinal round of the tournament. Mattawan edged Portage Northern, 46-41, Monday night.
With six freshmen and three sophomores on the final roster, Touhey said his players are already looking forward to a full summer of basketball and that elusive first victory as varsity players next season.
“We’re not going anywhere, the kids are going to work hard this summer and we’ll back next year,” Touhey said. “We’ll start winning next year, and I am very excited about what the future holds. My hat goes off to all of us staying focused on the right things this year.”
“It’s a good group of kids and they’re well-coached,” Wallace said about Niles. “They played hard the entire game tonight and they played hard every minute of all three games against us. Personally, I think they’ll surprise people next year and make strides. They have a bright future ahead.
ST. JOSEPH 60
Erika Priebe 18, Robyn Priebe 13, Samantha Taylor 9, Isabel Knuth 4, Lauren Brower 9, Christina Valentine 3, Kaitlyn Ross 2, Sarah Punches 1, Bridgette Waning 1, Lauren LaBaumbard 0, Madeline Paul 0. Totals: 18 21-33 60
Khalilah Abdullah 0, Elyse Zimmerman 3, Maya Brookins 4, Kylee Myer 5, Jazmin Brann 4, Jaiden Rolan 9, Libby Moody 7, Antonia Palmer 0 Kasia Dockery 0. Totals: 12 6-9 32
St. Joseph 20 33 47 60
Niles 7 17 24 32
3-point goals: St. Joseph 3 (R. Priebe, Taylor, Brower), Niles 2 (Myer, Rolan). Team fouls (fouled out): St. Joseph 15 (none), Niles 21 (Rolan). Niles record: 0-21