|3/16/2017 10:45:00 AM|
Barneveld tops Pecatonica for 3rd time
The Barneveld Eagles topped a familiar foe, Pecatonica High School, Thursday, 45-44, beating the Vikings for a third time during the 2016-2017 campaign, this time, in a do-or-die, winner moves-on, WIAA Division 5 Sectional Tournament semi-final contest played at Middleton High School.
Pecatonica ended the year at 20-6 and the Eagles improved their record to 23-3 with the win. The victory by coach Jim Myers' Eagles propelled the ball club into their D-5 Sectional title game Saturday night versus Hilbert at Watertown.
Senior standout A.J. Hendrickson scored a game-high 25 points (including 5 'three-pointers) for the Vikes, an amount that totaled over half of his team's points and he was the only Viking in double figures.
Senior Mike Zouski and sophomore teammate Malcolm Reed scored 18 and 11 points, respectively, to lead Myers' Eagles.
Barneveld opened the game on an 8-2 run but were held scoreless for over four minutes as the Vikings gradually fought back, taking a 10-8 lead on a Hendrickson trey.
Barneveld utilized a three-pointer from senior Matthew Myers and senior teammate Sam Shatrawka's pair of charity throws to take a 24-19 lead but Hendrickson's trey at the first half buzzer left the Eagles with a 24-22 lead at intermission.
Back to-back hoops by Zouski forced Pec coach Matt Fink to call for a hasty timeout at the 9:32 mark of the second half and with Pec down by four - but during the next 2:50 of action, Viking senior Cory Linder ignited his team's fan base by nailing a pair of three-pointers deep from the baseline corner to tie the score at 39-39 with seven minutes to go.
After Pecatonica sophomore Colton Schraepfer had scored on a driving layup in the lane with 52 seconds remaining, Pecatonica held a 41-39 lead. In the ensuing Barneveld possession, Zouski scored on a back cut, beating Viking defenders for a critical score with 37 seconds to go and was fouled on the play, converting the free throw and giving Barneveld a 42-41 lead. Junior Kauy Fargo then hit one of two free throws with 18 seconds to play.
Pecatonica struggled to keep control on the dribble on two crucial closing seconds' possessions.
When Matthew Myers stole the ball at midcourt, Viking defenders finally caught and fouled him as the game clock approached expiration. Myers' two free throws with 2.5 seconds to play gave the Eagles a 45-41 lead and off of the ensuing inbounds pass, Hendrickson scored the final points of a standout career by making a halfcourt shot at the final horn.
Coach Myers praised his players for stepping up and delivering in the all-important closing seconds to seal the win.
"There were a lot of timeouts called there in the closing minutes, some were simply to stop the clock and we were able to talk 'time and score', were able to evaluate who might be getting the ball (for Pecatonica) and to talk about what we didn't want to give up," said Myers. "Our kids were able to make some key stops, we were able to get a set and to plan what we wanted to do on both defense and offense. Our kids made plays at the end at a time in the game where all the guys on both teams were playing their butts off. There were guys diving all over the floor and I really felt it showed the heart of both teams, competing so hard and it was a display of their will to win - because these guys (Pec and Barneveld seniors) have been going back and forth, battling since what, sixth grade or so," added Myers.
"For us, Malcolm (Reed) got to the basket effectively, early, although shots had a hard time falling. We had a number of shots, second and third opportunities and yet shots just weren't dropping and were rolling back out in that first half. Late in the game, Mike (Zouski's) three point play at the end was big, Kauy diving to the floor and his hustle to get the ball, plus we had other guys coming off the bench over the course of the game, and even though they didn't score a lot, they played so hard for us and gave others a breather," added coach Myers.
Entering the Sectional semi-final game as an underdog and after they had lost by 19 and by 24 points, respectively, in a pair of previous 'in-conference' meetings this winter, Pecatonica coach Matt Fink knew his team was capable of turning in a high level performance and pushing the Eagles and that's exactly what they did, taking the Barneveld squad to the final horn.
Speaking after the game, Fink said he was proud of his team for what they'd accomplished, not only this year, but (in the case of his seniors) what the seniors have provided over four years of contributions.
"I told them I loved them, I appreciated them and I thanked them for all they did for our program for four years, for a Six Rivers Conference championship, for a Regional championship and for this WIAA Sectional berth - all that. We didn't really even talk about this particular game in the minutes in the locker room afterward - I think their effort tonight speaks for itself."
"We just simply didn't make enough plays at the end. Earlier, we had missed some free throws - and of course wish we could have some of them back. But that's basketball. We felt pretty good having a two point lead with 50 seconds to play and were probably just one stop away from going on to a WIAA Sectional championship game. We missed a guy on a cut and on the other end, we just didn't ever get a good look again - and you just have to give credit to your opponent in a game like this. We weren't able to finish on a couple of plays and didn't get the ball to where we needed it to be."
Asked about the Vikings' overall game plan heading into a contest against a foe that had given his team trouble in the past, Fink said his team rallied to the occasion.
"We were going to man-to-man them and switch out. We wanted to get a little tougher, to get a little more greedy and to be more effective (than in past games) on switchouts tonight. We missed one or two switchouts all night, missed on a ball screen, when they converted by hitting a three-pointer, but after that, I felt we cleaned things up and overall, our guys turned in a tremendous defensive effort."
"I felt the shots (Matthew) Myers hit in the second half were contested - and sometimes, when a team makes shots like they did late, you just have to tip your cap. Our guys turned in a great effort - we just couldn't get that play at the end."
For Hendrickson, the 6'5" Pecatonica senior standout - next headed to NAIA D-1 Clarke University in Dubuque (on an athletic and academic scholarship) to continue his basketball career, he finishes as his school's top all-time scorer. Hendrickson concluded his prep career Thursday with a grand total of 2177 points, a number Fink says is reportedly '17th all-time' regarding all boys to have ever played WIAA basketball in the state of Wisconsin. He was a four year stand-out for Pecatonica and is one of seven seniors on the 2016-2017 roster that included: Logan Green, Cory Linder, Jake Dearth, Kole Kent, Kyle Pierson and Joey Boland.
Barneveld 45 Pecatonica 44
Barneveld 24 21 - 45
Pecatonica 22 22 - 44
Barneveld (fg-ft-tp) Myers 2-2-8, Fargo 0-1-1, Evans 1-0-3, Reed 4-2-11, Zouski 6-6-18, Slaney 1-0-2, Shatrawka 0-2-2. Three-pointers Myers 2, Reed. Totals: 11 (3) 14-18 45 Fouls: 15.
Pecatonica (fg-ft-tp) Schraepfer 2-1-5, Linder 2-0-6, Dearth 2-2-6, Hendrickson 9-2-25, Green 1-0-2, Three-pointers: Hendrickson 5, Linder 2 Totals: 9 (7) 5-11 44. Fouls: 17.
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