Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Norwell's Will Geiger, center, draws a foul as he tries to get through the double team of Huntington North's Chazz Bruce, left, and Luke Pulver on Friday at Norwell.
Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Norwell's Cole Wilson, left, puts his hand up as Huntington North's hunter Hollowell takes a short jump shot during the third quarter of their game on Friday at Norwell.
Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Norwell's Brandon Nicholson, left, tries to block the shot as Huntington North's Hunter Hollowell tosses the basketball toward the net at the end of the third quarter of Friday's game at Norwell.
Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Huntington North's Chazz Bruce, left, takes a hook shot as Norwell's Brandon Nicholson slides over to defend him duringFriday's game at Norwell.
Friday, February 10, 2017 7:59 pm
Huntington North wins to take NE8 outright
Aubree Reichel | The Journal Gazette
OSSIAN – They say it's lonely at the top, but that's how Huntington North wanted it.
The Vikings finished the season undefeated in the Northeast Eight, winning the title outright with a 49-42 win at Norwell on Friday.
Huntington North (15-5, 7-0 NE8) came into Friday's matchup with at least a share of the title with New Haven sitting in second place with one conference loss.
"It was very motivating because we didn't want to share it," Huntington North's Hunter Hollowell said. "We didn't want New Haven to have the other part of it. We wanted it all to ourselves. That's selfish but you have to go out with that mindset and be able to play with that mindset so you can go out, play well and hopefully come out with the win."
The goal was set at the end of last season when Huntington North was one of four teams to share the conference title with Columbia City, Leo and New Haven.
"We talked about that a lot because every team could talk about one possession, basically, that cost them a conference championship by themselves," Vikings coach Craig Teagle said. "Same thing happened to us at Leo (last year) and we ended up getting beat on a last-second 3-pointer and so you never know. It meant a lot coming in.
"I think it says a lot about this group of kids. They play really hard-nosed and tough and extremely well. We've had a few ups and downs but it seems like every time they've had a down, they've bounced back. Norwell's a very good basketball team. I think they've only lost twice on their home floor. This is the important one, we knew it was going to be a dogfight."
The Knights (11-8, 4-3) led 20-18 at halftime after a slow first half as Cody Shively made three 3-pointers for Norwell and the Vikings' shots weren't falling.
"I think there were 19 possessions for us in the first half, so you've got to make the most of them," Teagle said. "We missed four or five of them right around the rim early and in a low-possession game, you cannot do that."
The Vikings went on a 12-2 run to build up a 32-25 lead with three minutes left in the third and led by as much as 43-30 with 5:25 remaining on a Zach Daugherty 3-pointer.
"We had to get energy overall, as a team," Vikings' Chazz Bruce said. "We had to work on getting out to shooters and shutting off (Shively), he's a great shooter, great driver, too, and (Will Geiger), the freshman, he's a great driver, too. We shut off the lane so he couldn't be as powerful in there and try to take both of them out of the game."
Hollowell finished with 13 points, Luke Pulver 12 and Bruce 11 for the Vikings.
Shively scored 19 to lead the Knights, Cole Wilson added 13 and Geiger 10.