News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

January 17, 2014

Knights too big for Braves

Northview shows no rust from long layoff

TERRE HAUTE — Northview hadn’t played a boys high school basketball game since the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic ended more than two weeks ago.

The Knights were hungry to compete and it showed Friday night at Terre Haute South as coach Clint Weddle guided his squad to a come-from-behind win against the Braves. The Knights’ 74-68 victory was the program’s first against South since 2007, and it spoiled South’s homecoming celebration.

“We’re going to take some time and be thankful for it on the way home because of the way we’ve practiced. These guys have bought into what we’re doing in practice and they earned that. They’ve earned the wins they’ve got,” Weddle said. “We’re taking steps in the direction we need to.”

Ethan Whitson paced the Knights with 28 points and 12 rebounds, and his senior teammate Jim Mace had four points in the final minute and 11 seconds to help push the Knights over the top.

Weddle loved how his team competed, especially after falling behind 50-42 in the final minute of the third quarter. Christian Ellis hit a 3-pointer to close the third-quarter scoring, and the Knights picked up steam early in the fourth.

“These guys wanted to play. When you’re a young person and haven’t been able to for three weeks — whether there’s rust or not — that’s what you practice for. That was a great opportunity for them tonight and they did a fine job,” Weddle said.

After South’s Spence Tofaute intercepted a pass and scored to tie it at 65, Mace hit two free throws with 1:11 left to put Northview ahead 67-65. At 69-65, Tofaute kept it a one-possession game with two free throws, but Mace came down with an offensive rebound — one of his 13 boards on the night — and scored for a 71-67 edge with 27 seconds left. Mace blocked a shot by LaMarkis Stevenson with eight seconds left to clinch the victory.

After going 10 for 18 in the first half at the line, Northview came through when it mattered most, hitting 17 of 21 at the line in the fourth quarter.

Ellis was key in Northview’s win as well, posting a stat-stuffing line of 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists and a steal. The 6-foot-5 guard’s offensive board and conversion put Northview ahead 65-63 in the final minutes.

Sophomore Quinton Hayes connected on 3 of 7 from 3-point range for the Knights and was big in keeping South from pulling away in the second quarter. Northview had 13 first-half turnovers but kept it close.

“[Hayes] did [come up big] when we were turning it over,” Weddle said. “We gave them a lot of extra possessions. We were still able to keep it at a manageable point at halftime. Hayes has been an instant offense provider for us. He didn’t do anything he hasn’t been doing the rest of the season.”

Tre Minnett had 16 points at halftime, hitting three consecutive jumpers — two 3-pointers and a 2-pointer — that stretched the Braves’ lead to 29-20 near the three-minute mark of the second quarter.

Hayes finished a running shot near the low block and drew contact to pull the Knights within 31-25 at halftime. After scoring nine in the first half, Hayes stayed hot, taking an Ellis pass and hitting a 3-pointer to open the third quarter.

South coach Scott Ridge credited the Knights for making plays. The Braves have depth, but they also got hurt by foul trouble against a bigger, aggressive Knights’ team.

“They were aggressive all night. They deserve a lot of credit. We made a lot of mistakes that we can fix,” Ridge said. “They handled our pressure, they got to the free throw line and knocked down the shots.”

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