Norse Fall In Regional Final
March 11, 2012By Gary Andrews of Three Rivers Conference
The Northfield boys basketball team got one step closer to their ultimate goal Saturday morning in the first game of the Tipton regional, building a lead as high as 16 points and then holding on for a 74-67 win over Frankton.
The Norse got off to a good start to settle down the Frankton crowd, as their excitement being at their first ever regional was carrying the team in the early going. With 3:12 left in the first quarter Dustin Echard hit to give Northfield a 9-7 lead. Collin Dawes had injured his leg in the sectional and was playing on sure determination as he led the team on basically one leg. The Norse started to take command on a Ryan Givens rebound bucket, going up 13-9 with 2:00 to play. Continuing to build their lead, Ethan Stouffer grabbed a rebound and put it back in to make it 17-9. Frankton would score the last four points of the quarter and the Norse led 17-13.
Frankton would not back down from the Norse and led by a freshman and a sophomore kept pace with the Norse. Northfield led just 28-26 with 1:51 to go, thanks to 9 for 9 free throw shooting in the first half. Dustin Echard hit two free throws with :35 to put the Norse up 32-28 at the half.
Halfway through the third quarter the Norse started to impose their will. Ryan Keaffaber hit a three to put the Norse up 8 and was follwed by two Chad Glasscock steals for buckets, making it 46-35. Northfield kept the heat dial turned on high and built the lead to 54-38 after a Glasscock three. Frankton would then make a run, cutting the lead to 60-55 with 3:12 left in the game. The last 4:00 Frankton was fouling on every possession to get the ball back and the hot Northfield free throw shooting went cold. Stouffer and Glasscock hit one each and it was 64-61 with 1:49 to go. Again Frankton would foul, this time with Glasscock hitting both to make it 66-61. With :43 left, Northfield led 68-64 when Echard was fouled, hitting one. Up 69-67 the Norse turned the ball over and Frankton had a chance to tie or take the lead, but the Norse come up with the stop. The Norse hit a few more free throws the last remaining seconds to secure the 74-67 win.
Chad Glasscock led the Norse with 25 points and 6 rebounds. Dustin Echard added 16 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists. Ryan Givens collected 12 points and 7 rebounds, while Ryan Keaffaber chipped in 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals.
Everyone knew if Northfield and Tipton met in the championship that it would be a slow down slug fest. That would end up being an under statement as the officials could never decide if they were calling a basketball or football game. Neither team could get in a flow as a hand guard would be called on top of the key and then a tackle in the post was over looked. The Tipton depth would eventually wear down the Norse, with the Norse falling 53-38.
The two teams got off to a slow start on the offensive side of the ball. Tied at 4 Tipton would score the next five points to take a 9-4 lead. Ryan Givens answered with a bucket and then Ryan Keaffaber hit a three with .04 left and the Norse trailed 11-9 after one.
Keaffaber would hit the first bucket of the second quarter to knot the score at 11 when Tipton would go on a 5-0 run. Keaffaber would hit again and was followed by a Collin Dawes three to tie the score at 16. Down 2, Chad Glasscock hit two free throws to tie it again at 18. At 21-18 Givens connected before Tipton hit right before the buzzer and the Blue Devils led 23-20 at the half.
The third quarter is when the officials totally lost control of the game, with just 12 total points being scored in the quarter, 10 of them by Tipton. Things were getting chippy, both on the floor and in the stands. Brutal fouls were not being called, while hand checks and flops were. Ryan Givens hit the lone Norse bucket with 2:11 to go in the quarter. Tipton led 33-22 after three.
Tipton started the fourth quarter on a 11-3 run to increase their lead to 44-25 and all one could hope at that point was that the players made it out of the game without being injured. At 50-30, Ryan Keaffaber hit two buckets, one a three pointer, followed by an Echard bucket to make it 50-38. Tipton would score the final three points on free throws for the 53-38 final.
Ryan Keaffaber led the Norse with 13 points and 5 rebounds. Chad Glasscock added 11 points, while Ryan Givens chipped in 9 points and 4 rebounds.
Northfield finished the season with an outstanding record of 22-4, which included a 20 game winning streak, a TRC Championship, and a Sectional Championship.