BLANCHARDVILLE – Black Hawk closed the 2016-17 basketball season the same way they opened it– by falling to Pecatonica on their Vikings’ home court in a hard-fought battle between Six Rivers East rivals.
The #2-seeded Vikings (20-5 overall) were able to hold off a late push by the #3-seeded Warriors (20-5) to earn a 54-48 decision and capture the WIAA Division 5 regional championship title at PHS on Saturday, March 4.
The #10-ranked Warriors won a lot of games this season and had been victorious in six straight outings coming into Saturday’s regional final game, but they could not figure out a way to beat the Vikings as they fell to them for the third time this season.
“It is tough have your season end. Give Pecatonica credit, they made the plays,” said Black Hawk head coach Charlie Anderson.
The Warriors limited Pecatonica’s 2,000-point scorer A.J. Hendrickson to just five points in the first half, but his teammates Logan Green (eight points), Colton Schraepfer (seven) and Jake Dearth (five) combined to lead the Vikings out to a 31-21 halftime lead.
“I thought in the first half our offense was stagnant and we didn’t reverse the ball enough. Defensively we did a good job on AJ, but you have to give the other kids on Pec credit because they hit some clutch shots,” added Anderson.
The Warriors started moving the ball better in the second half and cut the deficit back to one at 43-42 with 5:55 to play, however three missed layups down the stretch derailed the comeback as Pec put the game away at the foul line down the stretch.
“From then on, it came down to who hit shots and we, unfortunately, missed some good looks. We missed three lay-ups in the final five minutes. You couple that with Pec hitting some shots, and they were able to stretch out the lead,” explained Anderson.
Green finished with 13 points to lead the Vikings, while Hendrickson and Schraepfer tallied 12 apiece and Dearth added nine in the winning effort.
Sophomore forward Conner Meyer scored 11 of his game-high 17 points in the second half to rally the Warriors from a double-digit halftime deficit. Senior center Josh Meier struck for 12 points, while sophomore guard Colby Argall scored 10 points and junior guard C.J. Leuzinger provided six points.
Meier, who signed his letter of intent on Wednesday, March 1, to join the Clarke University men’s basketball program next fall, was the lone senior on this year’s team.
“Josh has meant the world to our program through the past four years. He has a great attitude. He is a tremendous leader and a great basketball player. He will be missed, and we wish him the best,” Anderson said.
At South Wayne, on Friday, March 3, C.J. Leuzinger and Conner Meyer poured in 23 points apiece to carry the host Warriors over the #6-seeded Cambria-Friesland Hilltoppers, 68-58, in a D5 regional semifinal contest.
The Black Hawk duo combined for six of the team’s seven 3-pointers and each shot 5-of-6 from the foul line in the victory.
Senior Josh Meier scored 10 points, while Jett Rufenacht chipped in with seven and Colby Argall added five for the Warriors.
At South Wayne, on Tuesday, Feb. 28, Black Hawk opened the post-season by rolling to a 70-30 victory over the #14-seeded Madison Country Day Prairie Hawks in D5 regional quarterfinal action.
Conner Meyer tallied a game-high 18 points and Josh Meier chipped in with 17 to lead the Warriors. Jett Rufenacht scored eight points and Colby Argall netted seven, while C.J. Leuzinger added six and Kyle Lovelace finished with five to aid the balanced attack.
Sophomore Colin Green had 15 points and sophomore Declan Young scored 12 for the Prairie Hawks, who finished 2-21 in their third season as a varsity program.
WIAA D5 REGIONAL FINAL
Black Hawk……… 21 27 – 48
Pecatonica………. 31 23 – 54
Black Hawk – Colby Argall 10, Josh Meier 12, Michael Flanagan 3, Conner Meyer 17, C.J. Leuzinger 6. Totals – 19 7-12 48.
Pecatonica – Schraepfer 12, Linder 2, Prust 4, Dearth 9, Kent 2, Hendrickson 12, Green 13. Totals – 19 10-12 54.
3-point goals– BH 2 (Argall 2, Flanagan 1), P 6 (Schraepfer 1, Dearth 2, Green 3). Total fouls– BH 16, P 15. Fouled out– None.
WIAA D5 REGIONAL SEMIFINAL
Cambria-Friesland… 28 30 – 58
Black Hawk……….... 35 33 – 68
Cambria-Friesland– Wentland 9, Smit 9, Zacho 19, G. DeJager 13, Pulver 8. Totals – 23 7-9 58.
Black Hawk – Colby Argall 3, Jason Treuthardt 2, Jett Rufenacht 7, Josh Meier 10, Conner Meyer 23, C.J. Leuzinger 23. Totals – 23 15-23 68.
3-point goals– CF 9 (Smit 3, Zacho 3, G. DeJager 1, Pulver 2), BH 7 (Rufenacht 1, Meyer 2, Leuzinger 4). Total fouls– BA na, BH na. Fouled out– None.
WIAA D5 REGIONAL QUARTERFINAL
Madison Country Day…. 16 14 – 30
Black Hawk……………… 35 35 – 70
Madison Country Day– D. Maier 3, Young 12, Green 15. Totals – 13 2-2 30.
Black Hawk – Colby Argall 7, Jason Treuthardt 2, Kyle Lovelace 5, Jett Rufenacht 8, Josh Meier 17, Michael Flanagan 4, Jared Knapp 3, Conner Meyer 18, C.J. Leuzinger 6. Totals – 28 11-15 70.
3-point goals– M 2 (D. Maier 1, Green 1), BH 3 (Lovelace 1, Knapp 1, Meyer 1). Total fouls– M 11, BH 13. Fouled out– None.