News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

January 17, 2014

Vikings lose game and key player vs North

WEST TERRE HAUTE — Visiting Terre Haute North used a quick start to pick up a good win in Vigo County boys high school basketball Friday night in West Vigo’s Jim Mann Green Dome, downing the host Vikings 62-41.

How bad a loss the game proves to be for West Vigo won’t be determined until magnetic resonance imaging tests are conducted, either today or Monday.

Braiden Cardinal, West Vigo’s leading scorer and most explosive offensive player, suffered an injury to his left knee in the final seconds of the third quarter; although the Vikings have seen their depth increase over the past several games, they also lost sophomore Hunter Voils to a broken hand earlier this week and are certainly hoping the Cardinal injury isn’t a serious one.

North’s depth took a self-inflicted hit on Friday, as the usually stellar Patriot reserves had a second-quarter letdown that threatened to let West Vigo overcome its own bad start. But the Patriots were strong in the third quarter, particularly sophomore post player Kobi Riley, and pulled away.

West Vigo committed three turnovers before it got a shot off Friday night, enabling North to score the game’s first six points, and the Patriots added a 9-0 run moments later for an early 15-3 lead.

“We got off to a good start,” coach Todd Woelfle of the Patriots said after the game, “and that carried us in the first half.”

“The start really got to us,” coach Joe Boehler of West Vigo agreed. “[The Patriots are] very good defensively, and they’ve got some very good players.”

West Vigo cut the lead to 17-9 by the end of the first quarter, then missed a 3-pointer at the start of the second period that could have cut the lead to five.

North got two free throws from Charlie Aimone and a steal and three-point play by C.J. Brown for a 22-9 lead, but the Vikings made a game of it with an 8-0 run. Cardinal had four points and assisted on a basket by Alex West for the home team, and Austin Sappingfield added a pair of free throws.

“We’ve had really good production from our bench all year, but it was not as good tonight,” Woelfle said later. “They came in and turned the ball over … we’ll be looking for better production from them [tonight in a home game against Martinsville].”

West Vigo’s comeback attempt was blunted by an 11-2 run by the Patriots to close out the half — “I didn’t feel we ended our quarters very well,” Boehler said later — and the visitors took away all hope by opening the third quarter with a 17-6 burst. Riley had 11 points in that stretch as his team took an insurmountable 50-25 lead.

“I was very pleased with the way C.J. Brown ran the basketball team tonight,” Woelfle said, “and Kobi Riley was very active and had his best game of his young career.”

Offensive post play had been absent from the North game plan in earlier games, but Riley — on his way to sharing  scoring honors with Aimone with 19 points each — earned what he got on Friday, Woelfle added.

“He ran the floor, he got some easy baskets and he got some confidence,” the coach said, “and I really felt like the other guys looked to get him the ball.

“Post touches are not something we’ve always done, so that was good to see … [Riley’s] effort and motor were really good.”

“I think I was just feeling it,” Riley said. “My teammates were feeding it to me, I was getting open, they were screening for me … they trusted me with the ball.”

The 250-pound Riley, North’s only real bulk on the inside, also had a productive stretch in an otherwise forgettable Patriot game at Indianapolis North Central.

“I’ve got more confidence handling the ball in the post, and I’ve been running the floor better,” he added. “Coach Woelfle relies on me [to run the floor] and I just do my job.”

No other Patriots scored in double figures, and the Vikings had just one double-figure scorer of their own. The 6-foot-6 Sappingfield, another improving post player, had 10 points plus three blocks.

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