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Panthers upend Warriors
Times photo: Adam Krebs Black Hawks Jace Johnsrud, defended in transition by Judas Matt Trotter (23), has the ball stolen by Joey Jordan (54) in the first half of Thursdays game.
SOUTH WAYNE - Trying to climb up the Six Rivers East ladder, the Juda Panthers boys basketball team has set a few goals for themselves. Shooting a high percentage from the free-throw line and making smart decisions are two things Kyle Krueger has tried to emphasize to his players this year.

"Free throws are all about confidence and we have some good shooters," said Krueger, whose team was 11 of 15 from the charity stripe in a 45-36 win over Black Hawk Thursday night. "We've been a good free throw shooting team all year and we should continue that."

But as far as making good in-game decisions on the court? That's something that came and went several times on Thursday.

"We have to make better decisions with the basketball, and we did that in the second quarter and the second half," Krueger said. "Early on with our defense and our offense we weren't making the best choices. But credit to our guys, who adjusted in the second quarter."

Black Hawk (3-6, 1-3) stayed right with Juda (6-3, 3-1) in the first quarter and tied the game up at 12 early in the second. That's when the Panthers made their first big run.

"We knew it would be a dogfight with Black Hawk because they are a scrappy team. They did a good job," Krueger said.

The Panthers started working the ball into the post where their size advantage with juniors Joey Jordan (6-feet, 3-inches tall) and Cody Suiter (6-2) could find the hoop. Juda went on a 9-2 run in a 1 minute, 42 second stretch to open up the game.

"We talked before the game about guarding Brandon Bauman," Black Hawk head coach Kyle Bille said. "I think we did a good job containing him because he only scored three points. But then they have Joey Jordan. He's a special talent and will get his (points)."

Jordan finished with 14 points, tied with Bryan Bauman for the game-high.

"I think Bryan Bauman stepped up and was the difference maker. He had some big points at the end and hit some late free throws to keep us out of reach," Bille said.

Bauman led the charge late in the game, scoring eight second half points and hit four of his last five free throws.

Black Hawk had kept themselves in the game by opening up the second half on a 5-0 run to bring the score to 27-26. But then Juda went on it's big run, scoring the final nine points of the third quarter and keeping the Warriors off the scoreboard for nearly eight minutes.

"We felt like we could get the ball into the post. We did that our first two possessions of the second half and got fouled a few times," Bille said. "And defensively, if you hold a team to 45 points, you're going to be in a lot of ball games. But we are struggling right now offensively. We had some good looks throughout the game, but just didn't execute."

Hayden Schliem led Black Hawk with eight points.

As the game progressed, the tensions started to flair on the court. Krueger was pleased with how well his guys handled themselves down the stretch.

"That's been our main focal point all season - trying to not lose our composure. Losing your head because of physical play or a call from the refs is never going to help you," Krueger said.

Juda will get back to the court on Tuesday when they host conference leader Barneveld (7-1, 4-0). Black Hawk travels to Orfordville Parkview for a non-conference game the same evening.