No style points for Red Dragons in win over Hubbard

HUBBARD – Niles wasn’t concerned about putting on an Oscar-winning performance Friday against Hubbard.

The Red Dragons were just 3 of 7 from the free-throw line in the final minute, but held off the the Eagles Friday at Hubbard High School, 39-36.

“We did enough to hang on against a talented, athletic team,” Niles coach Ron Price said. “… It’s nice to come on the road, not play great offensively and find a way to win.”

The Red Dragons were manhandled by an aggressive, much bigger Eagles team that imposed their will in a loosely called game. Both teams played at a pace where fouls were called as often as they were in a driveway contest among friends. Niles didn’t shoot one-and-ones until the final minute of the game. It was the only time either team was in the bonus. Brennan Wassil was the catalyst in the Hubbard inside game with a game-high 10 rebounds.

“The inside-out game was ours the first three quarters. We had some opportunities, but made some bad decisions near the end. Niles capitalized on it,” Hubbard coach Rick Fox said.

The Eagles took advantage of the rough-and-tumble style during the first three quarters, but the smaller Red Dragons (5-3) used their quickness to befuddle Hubbard into a handful of early fourth-quarter turnovers.

“We have some quickness that counters the length disadvantage we have,” Price said.

Niles eventually surged ahead with a pair of 3-pointers from Cameron Kane, who had a game-high 12 points, and Chris Parry. Niles outscored Hubbard 13-4 in the fourth.

“You never know when the big shots are going to fall,” Price said. “Sometimes it’s the timely shots that will help you win. We had some timely shots go in tonight.”

Parry’s 3 gave Niles a 34-32 lead with 4 minutes remaining, a lead the team wouldn’t surrender.

He went to the line in the final 13 seconds and was 1 of 4. However, Parry’s biggest contribution came after he missed his second free throw with 6 seconds remaining. He snared the ball after Justin Lopes tipped it out to him, dribbled to near halfcourt and chucked a 3-point attempt as the clock expired.

“The ball isn’t going in right now,” said Price, whose team was 14 of 47 from the floor and 4 of 21 from 3. “For us to fight out a win, it was good for us tonight.”

Hubbard had to fight and scrap for points in the final quarter.

The Eagles didn’t score a point until Brennan Wassil went 1 of 2 from the line with 3:16 remaining to cut the Niles lead to 34-33. Derek Kupanic’s bucket a minute later accounted for the Eagles’ only field goal in the fourth quarter, when they went 1 of 8.

“Once we got in a half-court set, we were making poor decisions down at the end. You can’t do that against a good team,” Fox said.

For the game, Hubbard was 14 of 39 from the floor and 1 of 13 from 3. Isiah Scott paced the Eagles with eight points.

“We had some looks. The ball didn’t fall in,” said Fox, whose team dropped to 2-5.

Tuesday, Niles hosts Lakeview, while Hubbard travels to LaBrae.