WEST TERRE HAUTE —
Northview’s girls basketball team has 10 of its 11 players back next season. So the chance to win the Knights’ first girls basketball sectional will be on the table again in the future for these Knights.
But that was little solace in the wake of a tense 37-34 loss to Owen Valley on Saturday in the Class 3A West Vigo Sectional. The Knights wanted to take advantage of the chance they had now.
“You don’t know how many times you’re going to get the opportunity you had tonight. We wanted to take advantage of that opportunity,” Northview coach Scott Buell said.
The Knights (8-11) were undermined by three things. They were tired after a 42-36 win over Edgewood in a noon semifinal game.
The Knights also had 19 turnovers against a trapping Owen Valley defense.
But the biggest factor was Owen Valley senior Alicia Wilson. The savvy senior guard had 22 points and seven steals. She was the difference-maker in a game where Owen Valley (13-9) lacked size, but not her experience.
“I’ve never wanted anything more than I wanted this. The way we wanted to do that was with defense and we did a good job of that today,” Wilson said.
Buell couldn’t help but be impressed.
“Wilson stepped up as a senior and made some huge plays. That’s what seniors like her do,” Buell said.
The game came down to a tense fourth quarter. Owen Valley led 21-20 entering the period. There were eight lead changes and two ties as both teams hit one clutch shot after another.
Mikayla Rowan, who co-led Northview with 12 points, made a third-chance bucket with 2:31 to put the Knights up 31-29. But Wilson had an immediate response. She drove the bucket and converted a traditional three-point play with 2:17 left to put the Patriots up 32-31.
“That’s what you have to do in those situations. I’m a senior and I have to step up and hit shots like that,” Wilson said.
Northview’s Mallory Smith missed the front end of a one-and-one with 1:37 left that could have given the advantage back to Northview. Wilson quickly scored in transition to make it 34-31. A Wilson free throw with 38 seconds left made it 35-31.
The two-possession lead didn’t last as Northview freshman Stacy Payton drained a 3-pointer with 29 seconds left to make it 35-34. Payton also had 12 points.
Owen Valley’s Emily Smith converted at 18 seconds to make it 37-34. Rowan missed a baseline jumper with nine seconds remaining. Hailey Mitchell missed two free throws with 2.6 seconds left, but Northview couldn’t get a game-tying 3-pointer off at the buzzer.
The first half was a stalemate at first. Owen Valley used a box-and-1 defense on Rowan. The Knights used a 1-3-1 zone. It kept Wilson from getting untracked and also kept the Patriots off the free throw line, one of their strengths.
Northview hit its first two shot attempts against the box-and-1, and found Rowan for three points, to take an 8-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The worm turned right before the quarter break. Up three, Northview tried to work the clock down for a last shot. Owen Valley decided to pressure the perimeter and forced a steal converted into a Wilson bucket.
The effectiveness of the pressure didn’t escape the Patriots’ notice. They used it with brutal efficiency in the second quarter. Flustered Northview turned the ball over seven times in the quarter and Owen Valley took command.
Namely, Wilson took command. She had three steals in the period and scored all but one of the Patriots’ points in the period as Owen Valley surged to a 14-10 halftime advantage. Northview closed the gap to one point by the end of the third quarter.
“It’s a tough day. You don’t play two games in one day with the intensity of what today was. We struggled on offense tonight. We came up a little short tonight,” Buell said.
The Patriots will play Indianapolis Chatard at 10 a.m. next Saturday in the Class 3A Danville Regional.
OWEN VALLEY (37) -- Bucy 0-1 0-0 0, Wilson 8-17 6-9 22, Herrington 2-6 0-0 6, Mitchell 1-6 0-2 2, Jones 2-8 1-2 5, E. Smith 1-1 0-0 2. 14-29 FG, 7-13 FT, 37 TP.
NORTHVIEW (34) -- Timberman 1-1 0-0 2, Kumpf 3-7 0-0 6, Payton 4-10 0-0 12, Rowan 5-9 2-3 12, M. Smith 1-4 0-1 2, Buell 0-0 0-2 0, Fagg 0-1 0-0 0. 14-35 FG, 2-6 FT, 34 TP.
Owen Valley 7 7 7 13 -- 37
Northview 8 2 10 14 -- 34
3-point goals -- OV 2-9 (Herrington 2-4, Wilson 0-4, Jones 0-1); N 4-9 (Payton 4-9). Rebounds -- OV 19 (Jones 5); N 23 (Rowan 9). Steals -- OV 11 (Wilson 7); N 4 (Kumpf 2). Blocks -- OV 0; N 1 (Rowan). Turnovers -- OV 8, N 19. Total fouls -- OV 12, N 13.
Next -- Owen Valley (13-9) plays Indianapolis Chatard at the Class 3A Danville Regional. Northview finished its season 8-11.