SOUTH WAYNE – With the game on the line, Black Hawk got hot at the line and closed out Pecatonica for their third straight victory.
The Warriors converted 11 of their 14 free throw attempts in the fourth quarter, including eight in a row in the final 45 seconds of play, to sink the visiting Vikings, 56-45, in a Six Rivers Conference Eastern Division boys’ basketball clash at BHHS on Thursday, Jan. 19.
“Free throws win you games and once again the guys proved it to be the difference in the game,” said Black Hawk head coach Corey Manlick. “I’m glad these kids are realizing that they can close games out like that. They were resilient knocking down their free throws and capitalizing on the shots they needed to make throughout the night.”
The Vikings (3-10 overall, 1-5 in SRE) held a 12-9 lead after one quarter of play and were still ahead by three early in the second quarter when the Warriors (3-3, 6-7) started to come alive on offense.
Using penetration to attack the Pec defense, the Warriors began to get shot opportunities close to the basket or they got fouled and put on the line, which helped the hosts close the half on a 12-3 run and take a 25-19 lead into the half.
“It was great to see them respond when we needed to. When the opportunities arose, the guys knocked down their shots,” stated Manlick.
Pec kept fighting and even took a brief 30-29 lead midway through the third quarter thanks to back-to-back baskets by freshman Drew Schliem, but Warrior junior Cory Rupnow grabbed the lead right back with a basket with 3:37 remaining in the period and he added another basket minutes later to extend the lead to 35-30.
The Vikings never got closer than four the rest of the way as Black Hawk used a quick 6-0 spurt early in the fourth quarter to build up a 45-33 advantage, then hit 11 of their 14 foul shots in the final three minutes, 38 seconds to seal the victory.
“It was a little frustrating at times with our turnovers, but we responded on defense by working hard, getting over the top on their screens, contesting all their shots and capitalizing off good defensive rebounding,” Manlick commented.
Rupnow scored 10 of his game-high 19 points in the first half, while senior Hayden Schliem poured in nine of his 13 points in the second half– including a 4-for-4 effort at the foul line in the final 22 seconds– to put away the victory for Black Hawk.
Seth Butler added a season-high seven points– all in the second half– and Cuyler Meier chipped in with six points– all in the first half– for the Warriors, who used a 19-7 advantage on made free throws to sink Pec.
D. Schliem led the Vikings with 14 points and J.J. Hogan tacked on 10 for the guests.
At Cassville, on Saturday, Jan. 21, sophomore guard Ty Kartman dropped in five 3-pointers on his way to a career-high 33 points as the host Comets shot down the Warriors, 57-53, in a non-conference inter-Six Rivers affair.
Black Hawk held a slim 31-28 lead at the half, but the Comets (9-4) turned things around by outscoring their guests 17-7 in the third quarter and they held on down the stretch to snap the Warriors’ three-game winning streak.
Cory Rupnow led a balanced Black Hawk attack with 12 points. Hayden Schliem added 10 points, Merick Meythaler nine and Coltin Piefer eight for the Warriors.
Black Hawk heads to Shullsburg on Friday, Jan. 27, to face the Miners (6-7) as part of the 2012 Six Rivers Challenge. On Tuesday, Jan. 31, the Warriors host Orangeville in a non-conference game.
Pecatonica…. 12 7 14 12 - 45
Black Hawk… 9 16 14 17 - 56
Leading Scorers: Cory Rupnow 19, Hayden Schliem 13, Seth Butler 7, Cuyler Meier 6, Cory Triem 4, Kyle Woodruff 3, Coltin Piefer 2, Kyle Walters 2.
Black Hawk… 17 14 7 15 - 53
Cassville……. 13 15 17 12 - 57
Leading Scorers: Cory Rupnow 12, Hayden Schliem 10, Merik Meythaler 9, Coltin Piefer 8, Kyle Walters 6, Cuyler Meier 5, Seth Butler 3.