NORTHFIELD — Ian Steele dropped in 26 points and got solid help from teammates Garrett Sinclair, Cole Beliveau and Dillon Brigham, who all had six points each as the Danville Indians rolled over Northfield, 59-36, in boys high school basketball action Monday evening.
Steele proved to be his team’s pressure relief valve whenever the Indians needed a critical basket to halt a Marauder run, or to simply maintain Danville’s double-digit lead.
After a back and forth first quarter, the Indians built a 32-19 lead in the second and never looked back.
“I think it all started with our defense tonight,” Steele said. “We got out a little slow but turned it up in the second quarter to open it up a bit.”
As good as he was offensively, Steele may have been even better on the defensive side of the ball as he limited the Marauders’ standout freshman Caiden Crawford-Stempel, holding him to 11 points while pestering him the length of the court all night to disrupt the Northfield offense. Most maddeningly for the Marauder defense was the way that Steele seemed to toy with them.
“He really took it to us and we really had no answer for him,” Northfield coach Craig Tassie said. “Once they saw what we were doing in the zone they just started picking it apart. I thought the game was a little bit closer than the score, and we weren’t good from the line — and in a couple of key spots might have made a difference. Danville is just a grade above us right now. It was a great experience for Caiden to play against a player the caliber of Ian Steele and we saw what he can do.”
After going back and forth in the first quarter, Danville’s Tim White poked a steal and ran out for a layup to make it 16-13 Danville at the end of the first stanza.
Northfield’s Trevor Page (six points) put his time in on the glass, grabbing an offensive board and putting it back to make it 18-15 as Northfield tried to keep pace in the second.
It led to the Marauders getting a lesson in high-post passing as Danville twisted them up to open a 28-17 lead. Pinpoint passing from Tito Chamul from the high pivot proved that even when Steele was on the bench, the Indians could move the ball as they played through their senior captain.
A Steele steal at half court culminated with a finish at the rim to give Danville a 32-19 lead at the half.
“Ian played great tonight — he was great on both ends of the court,” Danville coach Jason Brigham said. “When he gets that defense to collapse and then can pass out of that double team we can be really good. He’s a pretty tough on-ball defender but I think overall we have to play together. We haven’t really jelled yet and while Ian played well, our guards have to get better at not turning the ball over, which is what I think allowed Northfield to hang with us for a bit.”
It was more of Steele and company in the second half as the Indians continued to stack on the points before finally emptying their bench to the final.
Danville (9-5) will return to action against Richford on Wednesday. Northfield (6-8) will take on Winooski the same day.