The one area of Northview’s game that has pleased Wildcats coach Terry Shadle all season has been his team’s effort.
The Wildcats had stepped on the court ready to play every night heading into Tuesday night’s crosstown clash with rival Southview.
Shadle welcomed such an effort on their rivals’ home court since it played a pivotal role in Northview posting a 59-52 win over Southview in a Northern Lakes League matchup.
The Wildcats (5-5, 2-3 NLL) came away with the victory over the struggling Cougars (2-8, 0-5 NLL) by winning the hustle game.
“They play as hard as any team I’ve ever had in my five years here and that’s why we’ve been in so many games this year,” Shadle said.
Northview seniors Jeff Czerniakowski and Conner Hartnett led the winning effort for the Wildcats by combining for 38 points. Czerniakowski pumped in a game-high 20 points, including a 3-pointer, and Hartnett chipped in 18.
Northview’s leading scorers were as responsible as anyone in a Wildcats uniform, playing hard from the opening tip-off until the final second of the game ticked off the clock. When they weren’t scoring baskets, they were defending and coming up with loose balls.
The Wildcats grabbed an early jump on the Cougars by finishing the opening quarter with a 16-6 lead. Northview maintained a lead throughout the second quarter and took a 30-20 lead into halftime.
Hartnett and Czerniakowski accounted for seven points each by halftime. Czerniakowski scored six of his points in the opening quarter to ignite the early attack for the Wildcats while Hartnett scored five of his first-half points in the second quarter to carry Northview into the break.
“We jumped out to a great lead and I think that was the difference,” Shadle said. “We kind of jumped them early, and they were never able to recover.”
Matt Morrison paced Southview with a team-high 17 points, including four 3-pointers. Brandon Stewart added 14 points and Nate Hall finished with 12 points for Southview.
The Cougars fell behind early and trailed the Wildcats by as much as 13 points in the first half.
Southview opened the second half by falling behind by 15 points after Northview went on a 5-1 spurt, with Hartnett giving the Wildcats a 36-21 advantage with a basket from close range with over six minutes remaining in the period.
However, the Cougars made a 10-0 run of their own and cut the lead to single digits midway through the quarter. They trailed 36-30 when Stewart scored on a drive to the basket with more than four minutes left in the quarter.
Yet the Wildcats responded by closing out the quarter with a 7-1 run to take a 43-31 lead into the fourth quarter.
Southview put together its strongest offensive output in the fourth quarter, outscoring Northwiew 21-16 during the final period. But it still wasn’t able to pull any closer than three points.
A basket by Morrison cut Northview’s lead to 51-48 with under two minutes remaining in the game, but that was the closest Southview came to tying the score.
Northview closed out the contest with an 8-4 run to seal the win on the Cougars’ home court.
Contact Donald Emmons at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade