PORT McNEILL—Forced to adjust their style of play by a midgame officiating change, the North Island Secondary School senior boys basketball team hung on for a 47-36 win over Gold River after giving away most of a 22-5 halftime lead Saturday at the NISS gym.
The Norsemen closed out a doubleheader victory over the visitors with a 58-42 win in the afternoon rematch to improve to 4-0 in exhibition play.
“I think the guys were getting better at playing with tight officiating,” NISS coach Casey Mork said. “And this is a good thing. It’s going to be like that when we go down-Island.”
The opening game of Saturday’s doubleheader tightened considerably after Gold River coach John Levering grabbed a whistle to assist with officiating chores after NISS had run wild for two quarters. In the third period, the visitors suddenly found their rhythm and closed within 32-26 as the Norsemen were whistled for a series of fouls, three-second violations, traveling and other calls that had escaped notice in the early going.
“Because we had a big lead we kind of let off a little bit,” NISS forward Brad May said. “And we were getting a little tired, because we only had two players on the bench.”
Teammate Juan Camacho was somewhat less charitable, noting that Levering seemed to save all his whistles for the NISS players while sparing the Gold River contingent.
Mork came down somewhere in the middle, but noted the tighter play-calling will only serve to help his squad when it travels to play, first in a four-team round-robin this Friday, then in the Island A championships Feb. 21-23.
“It was a really good game for the guys,” Mork said after Aidan Horgan scored 20 points and Camacho added 14 in the doubleheader opener. “When we go down-Island, everything’s going to be called. The teams and officials there are a lot more technical, and every single foul will be called.”
In both games, NISS ran to early leads, only to have Gold River charge from behind to close the gap. In the opener, Gold River closed within 32-28 on Brandon Curr’s basket to open the fourth quarter. But Camacho scored on a drive, then May fed Horgan for an inside bucket to make it 36-28 with 8:32 left. From that point, Gold River never got closer than six points.
In the second game, even with Levering handling a whistle from the start, NISS bolted to a 14-4 lead midway through the first period behind the inside-outside attack of Horgan and guard Brandon Pelletier. By the late second period, however, Gold River used a 10-5 run to close to 25-23. Then Camacho hit a three-point shot to make it 28-23 and, after Camacho and Gold River’s Kolby Amos traded baskets, May drained another three-pointer to give NISS a 33-25 halftime lead.
NISS 47, Gold River 36
Gold River 3 2 21 10—36
NISS 12 10 10 15—47
Gold River—Brandon Curr 14, Fournier 7, Murphy 6, Thomson 2, Levering 2, Woodruff 2, Peters 2, Taylor 1, Amos.
NISS—Aidan Horgan 20, Camacho 14, May 7, Pelletier 4, Glendale 2, Cann, Neilson.