SOUTH WAYNE – Black Hawk head coach Corey Manlick wasn’t worried when Saturday’s scheduled regional championship game was moved to Monday night. He knew it would give his team some extra time to rest and prepare for the biggest game of their season. And, boy, did they look like they used that time to their advantage.
Looking well-rested and well-prepared, the #2-seeded Warriors fired out of the gates early and ran roughshod over #3-seeded Potosi, racing away with a stunning 73-46 victory to claim a WIAA Division 5 regional boys’ basketball championship at BHHS on Monday, Feb. 25.
“We controlled the game to the best of our abilities,” said Manlick after his team extended their current winning streak to 19 games and captured the first regional title for the school since 2006. “We really dictated the tempo of the game. It’s all about momentum. The kids stepped up and hit some big time shots.”
Neither team had much success putting the ball through the basket early on as they battled to a 2-2 tie during the first three minutes of the game. Potosi (19-5 overall) misfired on their first four shots from the field and connected on just 2-of-6 free throw attempts, while Black Hawk (23-1) hit just one of its first six shots.
That all changed midway through the first quarter when sophomore forward Heath Butler converted a 3-point play to put the Warriors into the lead to stay at 5-2.
From that point on, Black Hawk couldn’t miss as they connected on their final six shot attempts of the first quarter, including two daggers from beyond the 3-point arc to open up a 19-6 advantage.
The Chieftains continued to struggle to find their shooting touch against the Warriors’ high-energy defense throughout the first half, hitting just five of their 23 shots (22 percent) from the field including a dismal 1-of-11 performance (nine percent) from 3-point range.
“Our defense played outstanding tonight. The kids came out and executed our game plan. We recognized who their shooters were and we did a nice job by not allowing any clean or open looks,” Manlick stated. “Then, we went down to the other end and made our shots. We broke them down offensively, saw some of their weak spots and we got some easy points. That’s what this team is all about. We do that and good things happen for us.”
The Warriors built up a 25-8 lead at the start of the second quarter, and then closed the first half on a 10-2 run to grab a 35-15 halftime advantage.
Black Hawk opened the third quarter by scoring 11 of the first 14 points to increase their lead to 46-18, and they used a 12-0 run at the start of the fourth quarter to open up their largest lead of the night at 34 points.
The two Six Rivers champions were supposed to meet twice during the regular season, but both games were postponed due to the weather before being cancelled altogether. On Monday, the Six Rivers East champs could not wait to face the Six Rivers West champs.
“The boys wanted it bad,” said Manlick about Monday’s win over Potosi, who had won five consecutive game on the hardwood over the past few seasons and denied the Warriors a chance at a conference title on the gridiron the past two years as well. “I told them (Potosi is) not going to get our regional plaque on our floor. I used it as motivation and the kids came out and played an outstanding game overall, offensively and defensively.”
H. Butler poured in nine of his game-high 17 points in the first quarter to get the Warriors rolling, while his brother, junior guard Seth Butler, accounted for 10 of his 13 points in the second half to keep the hosts gunning towards the regional crown.
Senior forward Cory Rupnow stepped up big with 13 points, while guards Tyler Peterson and Colton Piefer each sank a pair of 3-pointers on the way to 10 and nine points, respectively, for the Warriors.
Spencer Hawes was the lone Potosi player in double figures with 12 points.
The #4-ranked Warriors head to Waunakee on Thursday, Feb. 28, to take on the #1-ranked and top-seeded Randolph Rockets (23-2) in D-5 sectional semifinal action, starting at 6 p.m.
“They’re a great team. Coach Bob Haffele has a great program, and the kids are fundamentally sound,” said Manlick about Thursday’s foe. “They’re there for a reason, but I believe we’re there for a reason as well. It’s going to come down to who executes the best and, hopefully, the best team wins.”
Tickets for Thursday night sectional game will be available for purchase in the high school office until noon on Thursday. There will also be a fan bus to the game. Please contact Black Hawk High School with any questions.
Thursday’s winner will face the winner of the Racine Lutheran (13-12) vs. Milwaukee Academy of Science (16) in the sectional final game at Fort Atkinson High School on Saturday, March 2, at 2 p.m.
At South Wayne, on Friday, Feb. 22, the Warriors locked up a berth in the regional final by stopping #7-seeded Cambria-Friesland, 56-38, in a regional semifinal affair.
Seth Butler netted eight of his 10 points in the opening quarter to lift the Warriors out to an early 14-6 lead, and the hosts used a 17-6 run in the second quarter to grab a 31-12 halftime cushion.
The Warriors put the game away at the foul line in the fourth quarter, converting 13-of-21 free throws to put away the Hilltopper (13-11).
Heath Butler led the Warriors with a season-high 17 points, while Coltin Piefer chipped in with 11, and Brett Lovelac and Merik Meythaler added six apiece.
At South Wayne, on Tuesday, Feb. 19, the Warriors opened the tournament by waxing the #15-seeded Oakfield Oaks, 67-33, in a regional quarterfinal contest.
Black Hawk doubled up the Oaks (2-19) in the first quarter, 16-8, and then used a 42-11 scoring run over the next two frames to put the game away.
Heath Butler led three Warriors in double figures with a game-high 16 points, while Cory Rupnow and Brett Lovelace contributed 12 points apiece on the night.
Seth Butler added eight points and Tyler Peterson chipped in with seven as 10 different players scored for Black Hawk.
Potosi…..…... 6 9 10 21 – 46
Black Hawk… 19 16 15 23 – 73
Potosi – Udelhofen 3, Leibfried 4, Kruser 6, Hawes 12, Langkamp 5, Wright 7, Curtis 4, Parkins 2, Fritz 3. Totals – 17 5-11 46.
Black Hawk – Tyler Peterson 10, Cuyler Meier 2, Brett Lovelace 6, Seth Butler 13, Merik Meythaler 3, Heath Butler 17, Coltin Piefer 9, Cory Rupnow 13. Totals – 28 10-15 73.
3-point goals – P 7 (Udelhofen 1, Kruser 2, Hawes 1, Langkamp 1, Wright 1, Fritz 1), BH 5 (Peterson 2, Meythaler 1, Piefer 2). Total fouls – P 17, BH 10.
Camb/Fries… 6 6 8 18 – 38
Black Hawk… 14 17 4 21 – 56
Cambria/Friesland – Bahr 2, Bubolz 9, Link 2, Williams 3, Bylsma 3, Katze 1, DeYoung 3, Schaalma 15. Totals – 15 6-11 38.
Black Hawk – Tyler Peterson 2, Cuyler Meier 4, Brett Lovelace 6, Seth Butler 10, Merik Meythaler 6, Heath Butler 17, Coltin Piefer 11. Totals – 15 22-31 56.
3-point goals – CF 2 (Williams 1, Bylsma 1), BH 4 (S. Butler 1, Meythaler 1, H. Butler 1, Piefer 1). Total fouls – CF 25, BH 15. Fouled out – CF: Katze.
Oakfield…….. 8 6 5 14 – 33
Black Hawk… 16 20 22 9 – 67
Oakfield – Schaefer 9, Holz 9, Petersen 9, Burbach 8. Totals – 13 5-12 33.
Black Hawk – Tyler Peterson 7, Brett Lovelace 12, Seth Butler 8, Merik Meythaler 1, Heath Butler 16, Coltin Piefer 5, Cory Rupnow 12, Braydn Meythaler 2, Justin deBord 2, Shawn Woodruff 2. Totals – 30 5-12 67.
3-point goals – O 2 (Holz 1, Petersen 1), BH 2 (Peterson 1, Piefer 1). Total fouls – O 14, BH 4.