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Miners top Braves to move back into West lead
RJBel-Shulls-BBB Bahr Matye color
BELMONT GUARD Jon Bahr (#12) drives past Shullsburgs Hunter Matye during Thursdays battle for first-place in the Six Rivers West. Bahr scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half to rally Belmont from a 12-point halftime deficit, but Matyes team-high 17 points helped the Miners gain a share of first-place in the West with their 58-54 win over the Braves. Also pictured are Belmonts Josh Logsdon (#50) and Quinn Cushman (#4) and Shullsburgs Joey Meyer (#22) and Nathan Wedige (#20).

    BELMONT — Shullsburg shot back into a first-place tie atop the Six Rivers West boys’ basketball standings after taking down league-leader Belmont, 58-54, in a nail-biter at BHS on Thursday, Jan. 28.
    The Miners improved to 13-3 overall and 6-2 in the West with the victory, while the Braves slip to 11-5 overall and 6-2 in league play. Potosi is also tied for first in the West at 6-2.
    “This win puts us back into the race and now all we have to do is take care of ourselves and not worry about what anybody else does,” said Shullsburg head coach Mark Lierman, whose team has swept Belmont and split with Potosi this season.
    The Miners broke off on a 16-6 early in the first half to turn a 7-6 deficit into a 22-13 lead, and they increased their lead to 32-20 by the intermission.
    “When you’re not hitting your shots outside, you tell your boys to get inside. But, when you get inside on Shullsburg, they’re big and intimidating,” noted Belmont head coach Glenn Gaulke. “We tweaked a few things at halftime. Mostly, I talked about playing with more heart and soul. I tried to get them to work hard defensively and to not be intimidated by their size.”
    Belmont, which dropped a 45-44 decision to Shullsburg back on Dec. 11, opted to push the pace by starting the second half with a full-court press. The Miners handled the Braves’ pressure for the most part, but a couple of errant passes in their half-court set allowed Belmont to mount a comeback.
    “They added the pressure and, uncharacteristically, we kind of lost control of ourselves and started to throw some passes into places we thought our teammate was going to be instead of where they actually were. We broke the press pretty methodically, and then all the sudden we decided to get in a hurry,” Lierman explained.
    Senior Jon Bahr sparked a 16-4 Belmont run with eight of the team’s points, and senior forward Raine Voigts pulled the Braves even at 42 all after converting a three-point play with 10:18 remaining.
    The Miners answered right back with a 16-5 run of their own to regain a double-digit lead at 58-47 with 5:07 to play. Junior guard Noah Wand hit three clutch 3-pointers to ignite the run, and junior center Joey Meyer added five points for the Miners.
    “I thought when we tied the game that things were going to go our way. They have fantastic three-point shooters. Wand came through and hit those shots,” Gaulke said.
    However, the game was far from over as the Miners struggled to put the game away, missing their last five free throw attempts– including the front end of three bonus situation– and committing a turnover in the final three minutes.
    Bahr scored back to back baskets to cut the gap to six points, and a basket by senior Quinn Cushman with 1:32 to play brought the Braves within 58-52.Unfortunately, they could get no closer as they misfired on their final five shots attempts.
    “(Belmont’s) a really good team. We knew they wouldn’t quit. They had a run, we had a run and then they had another run. It was a nail-biter all the way to the end. I’m ecstatic to come out of here with a win. They were playing for a conference title. Now we’re back playing for the conference title,” Lierman commented.
    Junior Hunter Matye scored 15 of his 17 points in the first half, and he finished with a team-high seven rebounds and six assists. Meyer also scored 17 points for the Miners with five boards and two blocked shots, while Wand hit four 3s on his way to 12 points and junior forward Lance Lierman added 10 points and six rebounds to aid the victory effort.
    “We don’t need anyone else’s help now. We just have to do our own thing and at least we’ll get a share of it,” stated Lierman. “If we can keep playing like this, we can do that. Were trying to get back to playing like this consistently.”
    Bahr also finished with 17 points and he added four assists, four rebounds and four steals to lead the Braves. Voigts chipped in with 11 points and three boards, and Cushman tallied 10 points, seven assists, six rebounds and five steals on the night.
    “We still have control, but now we have to control every conference team from here on out if we want a share of the title. That’s just the way it is. We know that,” Gaulke said.
    At Belmont, on Tuesday, Jan. 26, the Braves gave #8-ranked Iowa-Grant all that they could handle, but in the end the Panthers (15-1) came out on top in this non-conference clash, 57-54, after Belmont’s game-tying shot rimmed out at the buzzer.
    Trailing by two at the half, the Braves fought to tie the game at 34 all on basket by senior center Josh Logsdon early in the second half, however they could never grab the lead from the Panthers.
    The Braves trimmed a five-point deficit done to one with 2:40 to play, but back-to-back baskets by I-G’s Isaac Anderson pushed the Panthers’ lead back to five and they hung on for their 15th consecutive victory when Belmont’s last-second shot was off the mark.
    Anderson led all scorers with 24 points. Senior Brayden Anderson netted 14 points and senior Collin Price added 11 for the Panthers.
    Jon Bahr and Quinn Cushman scored 12 points apiece to lead the Braves, while Raine Voigts and Logsdon contributed 10 points each.
    Voigts also pulled down nine rebounds. Cushman and senior Lane Kamps grabbed eight rebounds apiece with Cushman adding three steals. Logsdon tallied seven boards and three blocked shots, and Bahr led the team with four assists and he had two steals.
    At Belmont, on Saturday, Jan. 30, the Braves put their two-game slide to rest by defeating Menasha St. Mary’s Catholic, 68-62, in a non-conference contest.
    Jon Bahr led three Braves in double figures with a team-high 16 points and he added three steals. Raine Voigts registered a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, and senior guard Cole Johnson came off the bench for 14 points with three 3-pointers.
    Josh Logsdon provided nine points, nine boards and three steals. Lane Kamps tallied nine points, four assists and three seals, and Quinn Cushman added four assists and two steals for the Braves, who outscored the Zephyrs 40-36 in the second half to pull out the victory.
    Sam Hoheisel scored 16 points and Christian Jack netted 11 for the Zephyrs (9-6).
    At Platteville, on Saturday, Jan. 30, Hunter Matye put the Miners ahead on a 3-pointer late in the overtime period, and then blocked Platteville’s last-second game-winning shot attempt at the horn to seal a 45-44 non-conference victory over the host Hillmen (5-12).
    The teams went into overtime deadlocked at 38 all, but the Miners used a 7-6 scoring advantage in the extra session to come away with a one-point win.
    Matye finished with a game-high 14 points and he pulled down seven rebounds and dished out four assists. Joey Meyer recorded a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Noah Wand scored eight points and Lance Lierman added seven for the Miners.
    Braden Neis paced Platteville with 13 points..
    Belmont and Shullsburg will each host a Six Rivers East foe during the 12th annual Six Rivers Challenge on Friday, Feb. 5. The Braves face SRE front-runner Barneveld (11-4), while the Miners entertain second-place Pecatonica (13-3). Both nights begin with the junior varsity game starting at 6 p.m. The West has “won” seven of the past 11 Six Rivers Challenges, including the last two seasons, and holds a 46-32 all-time record in the Challenge.
    Shullsburg also has a non-conference game at Argyle (10-4) on Monday, Feb. 8.
Shullsburg….  32    26 – 58
Belmont……..  20    34 – 54
Shullsburg – Lance Lierman 10, Hunter Matye 17, Noah Wand 12, Nathan Wedige 2, Joey Meyer 17. Totals – 24  3-8  58.
Belmont – Cole Johnson 5, Quinn Cushman 10, Lane Kamps 5, Jon Bahr 17, Raine Voigts 11, Josh Logsdon 6. Totals – 21  7-8  54.
3-point goals– S 7 (Matye 3, Wand 4), B 5 (Johnson 1, Kamps 1, Bahr 1, Voigts 2). Total fouls– S 8, B 10.
St. Mary’s…..  26    36 – 62
Belmont…….  28    40 – 68
St. Mary’s Central – Van De Hey 2, King 6, Jakubek 3, Hoheisel 16, Davidson 9, Fisher 7, P. Jack 8, C. Jack 11. Totals – 24  10-19  62.
Belmont – Cole Johnson 14, Quinn Cushman 5, Lane Kamps 7, Jon Bahr 16, Raine Voigts 17, Josh Logsdon 9. Totals – 25  13-26  68.
3-point goals– SMC 4 (King 2, Jakubek 1, Davidson 1), B 5 (Johnson 3, Cushman 1, Voigts 1). Total fouls– SMC 21, B 19. Fouled out– SMC: Fisher.
Shullsburg…..  18    20    7 – 45
Platteville……  16    22    6 – 44
Shullsburg – Lance Lierman 7, Alex Wand 1, Hunter Matye 14, Noah Wand 8, Joey Meyer 10, Cameron Doyle 5. Totals – 17  6-11  45.
Platteville – Jason Withrow 8, Braden Nies 13, Cody Schambow 1, Alex Traxler 4, Chase Bellmeyer 4, Dillon Shinee 8, Donovan Blevins 6. Totals – 16  9-22  44.
3-point goals– S 5 (Matye 2, N. Wand 2, Doyle 1), P 3 (Nies 1, Bellmeyer 1, Shinee 1). Total fouls– S 19, P 17.

Shullsburg 45, Platteville 44
(from Saturday, Jan. 30 @ Platteville)
Shullsburg 18 20 7 —  45
Platteville 16 22 6 —  44
Shullsburg (15–1) — Lance Lierman 7, Alex Wand 1, Hunter Matye 14, Noah Wand 8, Joey Meyer 10, Doyle 5. Totals — 17 6-11 45.
Platteville (5–12) — Jason Withrow 8, Braden Nies 13, Cody Schambow 1, Alex Traxler 4, Chase Bellmeyer 4, Dillon Shinee 8, Donovan Blevins 6. Totals — 16 9-22 44.
3-point goals — S: 5 (Matye 2, N. Wand 2, Doyle 1); P: 3 (Nies 1, Bellmeyer 1, Shinee 1). Team fouls — S: 19, P: 17. Fouled out — none.

BELMONT, Wis. -- In a battle between the top teams in the Six Rivers West and the Southwest Wisconsin Athletic League, Iowa-Grant gave the SWAL the edge with a 57-54 win over Belmont on Tuesday night.
The Panthers (13-1) have not lost a game since their season opener against Dodgeville, but the Braves certainly gave them a challenge. A Belmont 3-pointer as time expired rimmed out, giving the Panthers the non-conference win.
“Belmont is a very good team,” Iowa-Grant coach Toby Tripalin said. “I was really impressed with them, and I’m glad we don’t have to play them again.”
The Panthers only trailed once in the game, 4-2, and received a well-balanced scoring attack from their senior veterans.
“These kids have worked very hard to get to this point,” Tripalin said. “They’ve been working for a long time and now it’s paying off. They have the chemistry and there are no egos here. They are all going after the same goal and don’t care who is scoring the points.”
The Panthers, who led, 34-32, at the half, haven’t won a conference title since the 1994-95 season.
“We haven’t had an above .500 team in five or six years,” said senior Isaac Anderson, who led the team with 24 points. “We’ve put in the work, and now it’s our time. We want to be the team to beat.”
The Panthers, who shared the ball well offensively, also received 14 points from Brayden Johnson and 11 from Collin Price.
“We all have each others’ backs out there,” Johnson said. “We know our roles. Isaac is our go-to guy, but he is still unselfish and makes great passes when we need him to. What we’re doing is working.”
The Braves (10-4) tied the game at 34 on a Josh Logsdon basket, but were never able to take the lead in the second half. They trailed by as many as five, but pulled to within one on a Jon Bahr basket from underneath with 2:40 to go.
Anderson was there to answer, scoring on back-to-back possessions to make it a five-point game with 1:30 remaining.
Belmont’s Quinn Cushman then scored with 1:01 remaining, pulling the Braves to within three at 57-54. A missed Iowa-Grant free throw with 14 seconds left gave the Braves one last chance to tie, but the shot rimmed out as time expired.
The Braves were led by Cushman and Bahr with 12 points apiece. Raine Voigts and Logsdon each added 10.
“It was nice to go against a team that we don’t usually see who could really challenge us,” Anderson said.
Anderson, who leads the league with 23.4 points per game, is in his fourth year with the varsity team.
“Isaac is just a really special kid,” Tripalin said. “He has evolved so much over the years, and he can do so much for us.”
There’s no doubt the Panthers are keeping their eyes on the SWAL title.
“It hasn’t happened in a long time, and we really want to be the team to end the drought,” Johnson said. “We know we have to stay focused and take it one game at a time, but we think we can do it.”

Iowa-Grant…...  34    23 – 57
Belmont………  32    22 – 54
Iowa-Grant– Jack Reeves 2, Brayden Johnson 14, Isaac Anderson 24, Caleb Hill 6, Collin Price 11. Totals – 24  8-14  57.
Belmont – Quinn Cushman 17, Lane Kamps 12, Jon Bahr 9, Raine Voigts 19, Josh Logsdon 6. Totals – 22  13-19  63.
3-point goals– IG 1 (Johnson 1), B 3 (Cushman 1, Voigts 2). Total fouls– IG 18, B 15.