Nix leads Niles North past Glenbrook North
Niles North's Malachi Nix drives to the basket Friday against Glenbrook North. | Adam Alexander~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 25, 2013 12:23AM
SKOKIE — Malachi Nix has a lot of leeway on the court.
That comes from being a four-year varsity player and one of the best inch-for-inch and pound-for-pound boys basketball players in the state.
Which is why the 5-foot-8 point guard said he didn’t think much about pulling up for a jumper from more than 20 feet away when it probably would have been smarter to run some seconds off the clock.
But Nix’s 3-pointer with 1:29 to go pushed the Vikings to a six-point advantage and proved to be the knockout punch in Friday’s heavyweight bout with Glenbrook North.
Niles North’s 62-57 win vaulted the Vikings, ranked No. 14 by the Sun-Times, into control of the CSL North at 6-0. The loss dropped the Spartans to 4-2 in conference play. Niles North now has won five of its last six meetings against Glenbrook North.
“Yeah, he took a real bad shot,” Niles North coach Glenn Olson said. “We are fortunate he’s good enough to make those. It’s not what we wanted there, but all is forgiven.”
When told of his coach’s moderate disapproval, Nix flashed his famous smile.
“Looking back, it might not have been the best play, but I was open,” he said. “If it goes in, it’s all good.”
Glenbrook North (8-8 overall) led by as many as eight in the first half behind 12 points from senior forward Andrew McAuliffe, but it was all Niles North (14-3) in the third quarter.
Nix got things going with consecutive steals and layups two minutes into the third quarter. Niles North forced five turnovers in a row, converting four of them into nine points to take a 43-33 lead.
“Our defense was not very intense in the first half,” said Nix, who scored a game-best 20 points. “We had to step it up and run with the ball.”
Nix now has 1,263 career points and is 40 away from becoming the program’s all-time leading scorer. Nick Williams, who graduated in 2006, holds the Niles North record.
The Spartans made a charge in the fourth, cutting the deficit to three, 56-53, on a 3-pointer by junior Ethan Lutz with 1:52 remaining. But Nix answered on the other end with his own 3-pointer.
Niles North senior BJ Beckford then made three free throws in the final 25 seconds for the final margin.
McAuliffe, who was shut out in the third quarter, finished with 18 points for the Spartans.
“That’s a good, good team over there,” Olson said of the Spartans. “They have some kids who can really play.”
Pick up your local Pioneer Press newspaper Thursday to read more about the Niles North and Glenbrook North boys basketball teams.
Niles North 62, Glenbrook North 57
Niles North (14-3)
Nix 20, Dillard 17, Beckford 12, Myles 6, Penn 5, Voitik 2, Tate 0, Tayloe 0.
Glenbrook North (8-8)
McAuliffe 18, Siegien 16, Lutz 8, Karis 7, Markus 5, Lerman 3, Leigner 0.