Shullsburg and Belmont each posted key victories to help the West claim the inter-conference bragging rights for the third year in a row with a 4-3 edge over the East in the eighth annual Six Rivers Boys’ Basketball Crossover Challenge played at West schools throughout the area on Friday, Jan. 27.
The red-hot Miners used a big second-quarter surge to pull away from Black Hawk, 58-37, at SHS, and the Braves earned their first win of the season– and avenged a loss earlier in the year– with a stunning 48-37 decision over Argyle at BHS on Friday night.
The Miners improved to 6-2 all-time in the Six Rivers Challenge, while the Warriors fell to 1-6 during the event. Shullsburg has now beat Black Hawk three times during the Challenge and five straight times overall.
Belmont moved to 2-6 in the SRC after picking up their first win at the event since 2006, and the Braves’ victory ended a 16-game losing streak to start this season and a 19-game overall losing streak.
River Ridge defeated Pecatonica, 57-48, and Benton downed Albany, 55-31, to aid the West’s victory; while Monticello rallied past Cassville, 47-43, and Juda routed Highland, 57-38, for the East.
In the highlight game of the night, East-leading and #7-ranked Barneveld used a 25-9 second quarter run to sink West-leading Potosi, 60-46, in the first-place showdown.
In the eight seasons of the Six Rivers Crossover Challenge, the West holds a 35-22 head-to-head advantage over the East in these highly competitive inter-league games. The West has won the Challenge five times and has also tied with the East once.
Shullsburg 58, Black Hawk 37
SHULLSBURG– The Miners broke open a tight game by outscoring Black Hawk 18-3 in the second quarter to run away with a 58-37 victory on Friday night.
The Warriors tied the game at 18 all early in the second quarter, but the Miners fired back by scoring the final 18 points of the quarter to open up a 36-18 halftime lead and the outcome was never in doubt the rest of the night.
“We really turned up the defense in the second quarter and we were able to turn that defensive effort into points. I thought the players played extremely hard and smart, and we were able to maintain our composure for the entire game,” said Shullsburg coach Mark Lierman. “Black Hawk has been playing some good basketball lately, also, so I was concerned about this match-up. But, the effort of the players put us at ease.”
Senior forward Jacob Scott matched his season-high with 18 points and added six rebounds and two steals to lead the Miners’ effort.
Junior guard Pierce Russell chipped in with 16 points, three assists and three steals, while senior guard Nate Carrier contributed eight points, four assists and two steals for Shullsburg.
Junior guard Merik Meythaler was the lone Warrior in double figures with 10 points to go along with a team-high five assists. Junior guard Coltin Piefer followed with nine points, and senior forward Hayden Schliem tallied six points, six boards and two steals for Black Hawk.
“We didn’t play a complete game on Friday by any means. Shullsburg was able to dictate the tempo of the game and were able to over power us with their defense,” noted Black Hawk coach Corey Manlick. “In the half court, we were unable to get anything going and I credit their defensive pressure. Our execution on offense was very poor (with 23 turnovers). As I told the kids, we need to have a short-term memory and forget about this game.”
Black Hawk… 15 3 9 10 - 37
Shullsburg…. 18 18 11 11 - 58
Leading Scorers: Black Hawk– Merik Meythaler 10, Coltin Piefer 9, Hayden Schliem 6, Cory Rupnow 5, Jordan Coulthard 3, Seth Butler 2, Kyle Walters 2. Shullsburg– Jacob Scott 18, Pierce Russell 16, Nate Carrier 8, Collin Hauser 6, Reid Schwartz 4, Kyle Hoppman 2, Jacob Meyer 2, Hervey Trejo 1, Matt Cook 1.
Belmont 48, Argyle 37
BELMONT – Senior guard Avery Willborn sank five 3-pointers on the way to a career-high 23 points and added three assists as he and his Belmont teammates shot down Argyle, 48-37, at BHS.
The Braves jumped ahead 19-12 after one quarter of play, and then opened up a 13-point halftime advantage by outscoring the Orioles 8-2 in the second quarter to go up 27-14.
Argyle shaved five points off the deficit in the third quarter, but the Braves held on for their first win of the season and the program’s first win since Feb. 17 of last year when they beat River Ridge.
“I was glad to see the kids’ hard work lead to a win. We have improved a lot this season and have really been playing good basketball for a little while now,” Belmont coach Jeff Hodgson said. “We did a great job on defense Friday night and got to the free throw line ourselves.”
Junior forward Jeremy Richardson scored 12 points with six rebounds and three assists, while junior forward Brandon Wedig chipped in with nine points and 12 rebounds for the Braves.
Matt Ritchie tallied 14 points and Jared Johnson netted 10 for the Orioles (3-13), who had previously beaten the Braves by a score of 58-55 back on Dec. 22.
Argyle…… 12 2 11 12 - 37
Belmont… 19 8 6 15 - 48
Leading Scorers: Avery Willborn 23, Jeremy Richardson 12, Brandon Wedig 9, Isaac Haag 2, Lane Friedrich 2.