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Warriors find way against Juda
Times photo: Mark Nesbitt Black Hawk junior Coltin Piefer puts up a jumper against Juda on Tuesday during the Warriors 48-42 road victory.

JUDA - There's something about seeing the Juda jerseys that brings out the best in the Black Hawk boys basketball team.

Black Hawk junior Merik Meythaler scored 15 of his game-high 18 points in the second half Tuesday night to lift the Warriors to a 48-42 victory against the Panthers.

Black Hawk (10-11, 6-5 Six Rivers East) swept two games against the Panthers this season.

"We don't have Juda's number," Black Hawk coach Corey Manlick said. "Juda is still a great team. The kids executed the X's and O's. The only things I can pick at is the rebounding and free throw shooting in the end. It made it a little more interesting for the fans that came out."

The Warriors won despite shooting 8-for-15 at the free throw line in the final 2 minutes, 6 seconds and allowing 15 offensive rebounds. Meythaler made 7 of 8 free throws in the final 2:06, which proved just enough for the Warriors.

"It was a very big key," said Black Hawk junior Coltin Piefer of Meythaler's free throw shooting. "If he doesn't hit all those free throws in the end, we would have probably choked."

Piefer, who added 12 points, said the win against the Panthers could provide a spark.

"It's a good win because they have beat Barneveld pretty bad," he said of the state's No. 8-ranked Division 5 team. "It makes us feel like we can be one of the best teams in the conference."

Meythaler scored on a layup and drilled a 3-pointer to give the Warriors a 39-33 lead with 5:24 left in the fourth quarter. Juda senior Joey Jordan, who scored 10 points, hit a turnaround jumper with about 2 minutes left to cut the Warriors' lead to 42-38.

Juda senior Brandon Bauman, who also scored 10 points, made two free throws to cut the Warriors' lead to 44-42 with 1 minute to go. That is as close as the Panthers would get.

The Panthers (13-6, 6-5) spent the fourth quarter pressing and the final 2 minutes substituting in players to foul.

"If we would have taken care of things the way we should have, we wouldn't have been in that situation," Juda coach Mike Armitage said. "They came in and earned it. We hope to put tonight's game behind us. We don't want to talk about a letdown."

Armitage said Meythaler had a good game, but he credited the way the Warriors played together.

"Honestly, I think (Meythaler) would be the first one to give credit to his teammates," Armitage said. "The thing that won them the game is they played better as a team and we obviously lost because of our team play."

The Panthers got off to a hot start with junior Cole Bauman coming up with a steal and scoring on a layup. Cole Bauman then hit a jumper to give the Panthers a 13-7 lead late in the first quarter.

The Warriors were able to battle back after trailing by six points. Piefer knocked down a 3-pointer to cut the Panthers' lead to 18-16. Meythaler then buried a 3-pointer with 3:42 to go in the second quarter to give the Warriors a 19-18 lead.

Juda junior Kade Allen scored on a putback at the end of the second quarter to give the Panthers a 22-20 halftime lead.

Black Hawk freshman Heath Butler drilled a 3-pointer to tie the game at 31 with 2:23 left in the third quarter. Meythaler knocked down a

3-pointer at the end of the third quarter to give the Warriors a 34-31 lead.

"I thought the kids held their composure and did a nice job of limiting their second-chance opportunities," Manlick said. "We made shots when we needed to. We told the kids when you box out to find a body and get the ball at its highest point. I think we did a much better job of that in the second half. Our kids did it when it really mattered."

Armitage was excited with the offensive rebounds, but he won't forget the missed opportunities to convert on offense.

"Every coach wants to get offensive rebounds," Armitage said. "If all you are doing is getting offensive rebounds and not converting, then you have to shoot better. We had open shots. We just missed the shots we have grown accustomed to making the last seven, eight or nine games."

Black Hawk will play at Pecatonica on Friday and will open up the Division 5 regional at Central Wisconsin Christian Feb. 28.

"Hopefully, this will help our confidence, help us get ready for Pecatonica and we can get on a roll from there," Manlick said.