Missed shots and the inability to pull in rebounds on Tuesday left the Walled Lake Central boys basketball team with a 50-41 road loss to the Novi Wildcats and 0-1 debut for new Vikings head coach, Chuck Spolsky.
The Wildcats, who finished fifth in the KLAA Central Division last season with an overall record of 7-13, took the opening tip-off and the first two points of the game on their home court. The Vikings continued to trail the Wildcats through the entire first quarter and much of the second, un- til taking the lead for the first time in the game with less than 6 minutes to play in the half.
Second-quarter success behind the 3-point line spurred the Vikings to their first lead and helped to keep it with a last-second shot before the buzzer to break a tie and end the first half 19-22.
Overall, Central sank eight of 23 field goals and shot about 24 percent on two-pointers. The numbers were lower from the free-throw line, where the Vikings make just two of nine shots.
Coming off a second-place finish to Waterford Mott in the KLAA North division and their first district title since 2006, Walled Lake Central Seniors TJ Warren and Brandon Nafso finished first and third in scoring during the 2012-13 opening game, tallying 16 and 10, respectively, while Junior guard Phillip Nelson hit the net for a dozen points.
The Vikings were unable to stave off a 13-to-6 run in the third quarter as the Wildcats extended their lead to finish the quarter 32-28 with another last-second 3-pointer from Nelson.
The Vikings will play Northville High School on Dec. 11 at Walled Lake Central High School.