In the driver’s seat with a couple minutes to play and a seven-point lead, Three Rivers’ varsity boys basketball team couldn’t close in its season opener at home Tuesday against Niles.
A total of 10 turnovers in the fourth quarter by the Wildcats played a big part in Niles battling back to force overtime and eventually go on to win 63-62 on a buzzer-beater by Brayden Lake.
Austin Brookins led Niles with 18 points, followed by Chad Barton (11), Robert Brown (10), Jonathon Bybee (10), Nathan Goins (eight) and Lake (seven).
Gavin Charvat scored 16 points to pace the Wildcats, Jalen Heivilin poured in 14 and Tirrell Hausmanis finished with 13 points and 19 rebounds. Charvat registered seven boards and Heivilin had six.
“Niles did a nice job full court pressuring us and we had 10 turnovers in the fourth that Niles did a great job of converting into points,” Three Rivers coach Brian Burg said. “To start the overtime, we scored first and had our chances to finish out the game. Niles got the rebound with 5.5 seconds on the clock off a free throw miss and dribbled the length of the court and Brayden Lake made the game winning shot at the buzzer.”
Three Rivers was 23-for-48 (48 percent) from inside the arc but couldn’t get going from deep, making just 1 of 15 attempts from 3-point land. The Wildcats also struggled at the stripe, going 13-for-24 (54 percent). The Wildcats ended the night with 19 turnovers.
Parker Ellifritz chipped in nine points for the Cats, Jensin Blyly and Nolan Mark each had four, and Ashley Manansala added two.
Video by Cole Harrison