POTOSI – Looking solely at the stats from last Thursday night’s Six Rivers West boys’ basketball contest between unbeatens Benton and Potosi, you might be hard pressed to figure out just who won.
A big hint would then be given when looking at the 3-point shooting numbers, where the host Chieftains held a significant advantage on their way to capturing a 60-50 victory.
With the win, coach Mike Uppena’s squad remains the only unbeaten team in the Six Rivers West conference with a record of 2-0, 5-0 overall.
Coach Jim Blaine’s Zephyrs, who have won the last five league titles, dropped to 1-1 in conference play, 4-1 overall. Thursday’s loss also snapped a 21-game conference win streak for the Zephyrs that dated all the way back to January of 2010.
There certainly were some similarities in stats between the two teams last Thursday night. For instance, Potosi was 22-of-53 (41.5%) from the floor, and Benton was 21-of-53 (39.6%). While Benton committed 11 turnovers, the Chieftains had 13. Coach Uppena’s squad made 8-of-11 (73%) free throw attempts on the night, while coach Blaine’s Zephyrs were 6-of-11 (55%).
The biggest difference between the two teams though was that Potosi was 8-of-18 (44.4%) from behind the 3-point arc, and Benton 2-of-17 (11.7%).
“They just shot the ball better from three than we did, and that was the game,” said coach Jim Blaine.
Particularly hot from downtown was Potosi junior Tim Fritz, who knocked down four long-range jumpers in the third quarter and finished with five. Fritz led all scorers with 20 points, 14 coming in a huge third-quarter run that sparked the Chieftain’s victory.
“He has that capability,” said coach Uppena of Fritz. “It’s one of those things where when he’s hot and the guys know it, they’re looking to get him the ball.”
“He’s really worked hard on developing a jumper from behind the arc,” Uppena added. “When he was younger he was more of a set shooter. Now he really gets up and he has a fairly quick release.”
With his team trailing 26-22, Fritz opened up the third quarter with a 3-pointer, pulling the Chieftains to within 26-25.
With 4:56 to play in the quarter, Fritz hit another 3-pointer, giving Potosi a 32-28 lead.
The Zephyrs then responded with a 7-0 run to take a 35-32 advantage, but with three minutes to play in the quarter, Fritz nailed another long-distance dedication to tie the score at 35-35.
Fritz wasn’t done yet, as his fourth 3-pointer of the quarter, along with a 2-point basket, gave Potosi a 44-40 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Potosi junior Mitch Langkamp then stepped into the starring role by scoring eight straight points to start the fourth quarter before leaving the game with a cut over his left eye.
Langkamp took his team from a 44-40 lead to a 52-45 advantage with just over three minutes to play in the game.
Then, in the final three minutes, Potosi made 6-of-8 free throw attempts to secure the victory, Fritz making 3-of-4.
The final three quarters of Thursday night’s game were in stark contrast to the first quarter for coach Blaine and his Zephyrs.
With senior sensation David Neis scoring 10 points in the first quarter, Benton held a decisive 18-5 advantage going into the second quarter.
Coach Uppena and his Chieftains then implemented a 2-3 zone defense that took away Benton’s penetration and forced them to shoot from the outside.
Neis was limited to just five points in the final three quarters and finished with a team-high 15, while fellow senior Mitchell Brant added 13, nine coming in the second half.
While the Zephyrs out-rebounded Potosi, 33-26, Hunter Leibfried led the Chieftains on the glass with 10 rebounds, while Alex Wright had four. Spencer Hawes dished out a tam-high four assists, and Tim Fritz had two of his team’s five steals.
The Chieftains collected a 54-52 victory over visiting Black Hawk two night’s earlier, where coach Uppena’s squad knocked down 21-of-55 (38%) field goal attempts, including 5-of-19 (26%) from long range.
Leibfried and Fritz led the way, each scoring 12 points, Leibfried adding six rebounds and Fritz three steals.
Potosi is off until Thursday, Dec. 29, when they host Lancaster in a boys’ and girls’ double header.Potosi 54, Black Hawk 52
(from Tuesday, Dec. 13)
Black Hawk 13 10 13 16 - 52
Potosi 10 18 11 15 - 54
Black Hawk - Schleim 15, Walters 2, Meirkheyler 5, Meier 2, Butler 6, Pieffer 1, Rupfer 17, Johnfurt 4. Totals - 17 9-15 52.
Potosi - Jace Udelhofen 4, Logan Udelhofen 4, Hunter Leibfried 12, Tom Keene 4, Mitch Langkamp 6, Alex Wright 5, Spencer Hawes 3, T.J. Neuhaus 4, Tim Fritz 12. Totals - 16 7-10 54.
3-point goals - BH: Schliem 2, Meirkheyler 1; P: Fritz 2, Leibfried 1, Langkamp 1, Hawes 1. Team fouls - BH: 13; P: 14. Fouled out - None.
Potosi 60, Benton 50
(from Thursday, Dec. 15)
Benton 18 8 12 12 - 50
Potosi 5 17 22 16 - 60
Benton - Laine Carver 4, Patrick Dixon 2, Brandon Lyne 5, Nick Soppe 2, Alex Droessler 9, David Neis 15, Mitchell Brant 13. Totals - 21 6-11 50.
Potosi - Jace Udelhofen 2, Logan Udelhofen 2, Hunter Leibfried 11, Mitch Langkamp 14, Alex Wright 9, Spencer Hawes 2, Tim Fritz 20. Totals - 22 8-11 60.
3-point goals - B: Lyne 1, Neis 1; P: Leibfried 1, Langkamp 1, Wright 1, Fritz 5. Team fouls - B: 16; P: 15. Fouled out - None.