NILES — The Buchanan girls basketball team couldn't have asked for a better start to a game
The Bucks jumped out a 9-0 lead in the first and appeared ready to blow the game open, but Niles had other ideas. The Vikings answered with an 11-0 run of their own and went on to win 48-40 Wednesday.
"We were up and down," Buchanan coach Gabe Miller said. "We're a very young team. We played hard but in the second half, we got a little tight. We didn't move as well; I think the moment was a little big for them. It's a good learning experience for us."
The first half was a back-and-forth affair that saw the two teams trade scoring runs until Buchanan took a 24-21 lead into halftime. A Kamryn Patterson 3-pointer kicked off a 9-0 Vikings run to take control of the game.
"We talked about setting the intensity ourselves," Niles coach Jessica Johnson said. "We like to play a quick game and be aggressive on defense. There were times we were playing safe on defense and they drew us away from the perimeter more than we're used to. I told the girls that you have to go with your gut, play hard, and do what you need to do."
A Faith Carson lay-in cut Niles' lead to 41-37 before an Alycia Patterson 3-pointer gave the Vikings a 44-37 lead.
"(Alycia) is an all-state guard for a reason," Miller said. "We weren't disciplined on defense and we let their shooters shoot and they made us pay. That's something we're going to have to learn from going forward."
The Vikings were able to slow down Carson in the fourth. The freshman scored just two of her game-high 22 points in the quarter.
"I wanted them to continue to pressure the perimeter and make that pass (to Carson) harder to make," Johnson said. "I'm really trying to get the girls to understand to box out and hold their box-outs and not actually go get the rebound but our girls love to rebound. We were trying but we just can't rebound with her. She's a big presence in the paint."
Alea Fisher scored eight points for Buchanan. Alycia Patterson led Niles with 19 points and Amara Palmer and Reese Davies scored nine apiece.
"Alycia always gives us a great game," Johnson said. "As a veteran, she keeps her cool throughout the game. She's our go-to player and she makes the girls very calm."
While the loss ends their unbeaten start to the season, the Bucks still have everything to play for. Buchanan remains tied with Brandywine atop the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Red Division ahead of their first clash of the season next Thursday.
"This is good," Miller said. "You want to play teams that will test you and see what you need to fix. We're young but I'm glad we have the opportunity to play teams like Niles and Brandywine in order to test ourselves."
Niles 48, Buchanan 40
Alycia Patterson 6 5-6 19, Amara Palmer 3 2-6 9, Reese Davies 3 3-4, 9, Kamryn Patterson 3 1-2 8, Bailey Bickel 0 1-2 1, Alexis Rauch 0 0-2 0. Totals: 15 12-19 48.
Faith Carson 9 4-6 22, Alea Fisher 3 0-0 8, Emma Lozmack 2 0-0 5, Claire Lietz 0 3-4 3, Jillian McKean 0 2-3 2, Hailey Jonatzke 0 0-1 0. Totals: 14 9-4 40.
3-point goals – Niles 6 (A. Patterson 4, Palmer, K. Patterson), Buchanan 3 (Fisher 2, Lozmack). Total fouls – Niles 15, Buchanan 15. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None. Records – Buchanan 6-1, Niles 4-1.
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