News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

February 27, 2013

Patriots move on, Knights fall on opening night of 4A Mooresville Sectional

MOORESVILLE — One gallant comeback — caused, unfortunately, by a lot of self-inflicted problems.

One calm, efficient, taking-care-of-business victory.

Those were the scenarios for Northview and Terre Haute North on Tuesday in the first round of the Class 4A Mooresville Sectional for boys high school basketball, the Knights losing 56-44 to the home team and the Patriots dispatching Plainfield 63-40.

The opener was both closer than the final score would indicate and probably a lot closer than it might have been.

Northview committed nine turnovers in the first quarter against Mooresville’s half-court trapping defense that had 6-foot-6 Jacob Johnson cutting off passing lanes in the middle. Floor general Craig Peters picked up three fouls in the first six minutes — two of them trying to stop breakaways after steals — and the Knights added 10 more giveaways in the second period.

And yet they stayed in the game, thanks to their own defensive play.

“I thought we did a great job defensively,” Northview coach Clint Weddle said afterward. “We put ourselves in position to win today because of that.”

With all their problems, the Knights were within 17-11 until Johnson hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to close out the first half. A 3-pointer by Joe Ball and two free throws by Ethan Whitson got Northview within 20-16 early in the third quarter.

Mooresville, which shot 23 percent in the first half, heated up at that point and had a 33-19 lead midway through the third stanza. But still the Knights kept coming.

With just six second-half turnovers, Northview went on a 10-3 run to get within 36-29 late in the third quarter. The Pioneers surged ahead 40-29 with the first basket of the fourth quarter and were still ahead by 10 when Northview made an 8-3 run to get within 45-40 with about three minutes left. When Christian Ellis drove for a three-point play at 1:27, Northview was down 50-44. But Northview didn’t score again.

“Turnovers have been a detriment to us this year,” Weddle said, “but it’s not for these guys not giving good effort or maintaining good attitudes. We just didn’t get the ball in the right places … we were a little passive offensively.”

Johnson was the difference for Mooresville. The future Division I recruit had 26 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocked shots. Keith Kassen added 15 points for the Pioneers, who earned a game with Terre Haute South at 6 p.m. Friday.

Whitson had 12 points for Northview, with Ellis scoring eight and grabbing 10 rebounds. Jim Mace added eight rebounds and Whitson seven and Daniel Kimball had an energetic second-quarter stint as the Northview big men all made solid contributions.

It was the final Northview game for guards Peters, Peter Tanoos and Devin Clark and defensive stopper Travis Hakman.

“This senior class was laying a tremendous foundation for what we will do from this point forward,” Weddle said. “They gave great effort and were a joy to be around, as all of these kids were.”

North is almost all seniors, and the Patriot 12th-graders — particularly Calvin Blank — made sure they would be around a little bit longer by dominating the Quakers from the opening tip.

Blank had one of his best halves of high school basketball in the first two quarters, hitting his first seven shots from the field on his way to 17 points, six rebounds,, four assists and three blocks by halftime.

“It’s my last go-around here at the sectional, so we seniors have got to be locked in,” he explained. “This is our legacy this year; we’ve won two [sectionals] in a row and we’ve got to top it off.”

“Plainfield is a young basketball team [that started two freshmen and a sophomore],” coach Todd Woelfle of the Patriots explained. “Coach [Andy] Weaver is trying to build a basketball program and they’re doing the right things.

“Our game plan was to go inside early and often [against the slender Plainfield frontliners] and I thought we executed and got high-percentage shots.”

North hit its first four shots — Blank scored twice and had an assist, Austin Lewis a basket and two assists — and rebounded its first two misses for scores in building a quick 11-2 lead.

Plainfield drew within 18-11 at the first stop and was still hanging around until the Patriots closed out the first half with a 9-2 run for a 34-18 lead. To seal the deal even tighter, North got the first six points of the third quarter.

“I thought we came out with energy and played with a sense of urgency,” Woelfle noted. “You expect that with 10 seniors.”

Blank finished with a game-high 21 points and he and Lewis had nine rebounds each. Lewis and Steven Davis added 11 points apiece. North meets Martinsville in Friday’s second semifinal game.

Josh Courtney scored 10 and Luke Jones had eight points and four assists for Plainfield.

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