News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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November 9, 2012

Northview, Terre Haute South impressive in girls basketball openers

Knights, Braves pick up convincing victories in Terre Haute Tip-Off Classic

TERRE HAUTE — The draw for the Terre Haute Savings Bank Tip-Off Tournament didn’t set the table for many close first-round girls high school basketball games, and Northview made sure there were none.

The Knights, coming off a one-win season a year ago, took over midway through the second quarter and rolled to a 52-35 win over Greencastle in Thursday night’s opener at West Vigo, with Terre Haute South completing the first round with an 82-31 trouncing of the host Vikings.

There’s no action today, but plenty on Saturday, beginning with a 9 a.m. contest between South Vermillion and North Central. Following, in order, are Greencastle vs. West Vigo, then Owen Valley vs. Terre Haute North, then Northview vs. South. The consolation championship is 5 p.m. Saturday, followed by the third-place game and then the championship.

Northview didn’t start Thursday like it was going to be a big winner; with just two points in the first quarter, on 1-for-11 shooting, the Knights probably brought back unpleasant memories for their fans, their coaches and themselves.

But after the second of three first-half 3-pointers by Greencastle’s Shelby Earl made the score 11-6 Tiger Cubs, the Knights went to work. They scored nine points in a row, taking their first lead at 13-11 on a three-point play by Abbey Timberman and padding it on a basket by Cassie Weddle.

Greencastle tied the score 16-16 at halftime, and was still within 20-19 with 6:25 left in the third quarter before Northview scored 12 points in a row. The Knights shot 54 percent from the field over the last three quarters, and blew the game open with a 14-2 run to open the fourth quarter that put them ahead 46-25.

“We started off really slow,” coach Scott Buell confirmed afterward, “but once we got some nerves out, we started playing well … I’m really proud of how we played the last three quarters.”

“We had some breakdowns defensively,” said coach Bradley Key of Greencastle. “Mentally, we’re a little slower than we want to be … and when we didn’t hit some easy shots, [the Knights] would score at the other end.”

Mikayla Rowan took over in the second half with 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Knights, enabling the 5-foot-11 sophomore to finish with game-high totals of 19 points and 14 boards. No other Northview player was in double figures, but six more had at least four points. All contributed in some aggressive man-to-man defense.

“We defended pretty well,” Buell agreed. “We were able to pressure [the Cubs], and that helped us shoot the basketball pretty well.”

Once the Knights got rolling, they looked nothing like a team that had been unsuccessful, even though the names remain the same.

“They gained a lot of experience with what we went through last year,” Buell noted. “This was a good confidence booster.”

Earl led the Tiger Cubs with 11 points, but had all of them by halftime.

“We’re still finding where we’re at and who fits where,” Key said.

South blitzed the host team from the opening tip of the second game, scoring its first nine points, then getting a 14-0 run later in the first quarter while forcing 14 turnovers in the first eight minutes.

“Our focus this year is to set the tempo,” coach Cara Stuckey said after the game. “We want to be a team that gets up and down [the court], but we know to do that we have to defend and rebound.”

West Vigo used 15 players Thursday, eight of them freshmen and at least two others making varsity debuts. The Vikings hustled, but still gave up 15-0 runs in both the second and third quarters.

“There were a lot of nerves going on,” coach Ryan Easton said, “but this group will bounce back; they’re resilient … a lot of them were overthinking some things, but I told them I was glad we played South because we know exactly where we’re at.”

Senior leaders Tasia Brewer and Emily Bell had 19 and 12 points respectively for the Braves, with freshman Lauren Hambrock also scoring 12. Guards Kylie Fendrick and Labrea Joyner set the defensive tone, with the former also leading both teams in rebounds and the latter flashing her playmaking skills.

“I liked the intensity,” Stuckey said. “That’s something we should bring every night … the guards did a nice job creating turnovers that led to easy baskets.”

Charity Lane had eight points to lead West Vigo, with Lexus Elkins scoring seven and McKenzie LIttle six. Shyanne Elkins had six rebounds and four steals.

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