|3/24/2017 8:54:00 AM|
Barneveld class of Division 5 with title game win
Show class, have pride, and display character. If you do, winning takes care of itself.
When the legendary football coach said those words he didn't know it at the time but he was talking about Jim Myers and the Barneveld Golden Eagles.
He might have been thinking about the WIAA Division 5 state championship the Eagles pulled off that gave Barneveld its first ever boys basketball title. The Eagles did that Saturday with a convincing win over fellow Six Rivers Conference opponent Shullsburg, 58-28.
He might have had a bigger picture in mind which would be the entire community that supports its teams, its school and most importantly, each other.
Jim Myers has had a hand in that. He coached the girls program to 10 of their 11 state tournament appearances and six state championships. He moved to the boys program last season and got them to state twice, winning the coveted championship this year.
Best of all he has done it all with class, a trait that has not only been his trademark but one he gladly shares with those who play on his teams.
Jim Myers speaks from the heart any time he discusses his players. He knows what the players have put into playing basketball the right way. He knows when the game has passed them by as a player they have the lessons learned to help them live their life.
There's a lot of blood, sweat, and guts between dreams and success. Paul Bryant
Again coach Bryant nailed it. The Eagles show their mastery on the court but they didn't just wake up one morning and there it was. They went out and earned it, paying their dues to the game they love and to the coach they know has always been in their corner.
Jim Myers has a win total of 748 combined with both programs. If you asked him his record he would not have it on the tip of his tongue. It has never been about him or the numbers. It has been about the players. It has been about finding roles for them to play so they all contribute. Many forget basketball is a team sport. But watch the Eagles play sometime and it will come back to you.
No coach has ever won a game by what he knows; it's what his players know that counts.
That's right....the players. They are the ones playing the game. They are the ones with knowledge. They are the ones who play the game right...thanks to Jim Myers.
Saturday was billed as the mythical Six Rivers championship as Barneveld won the East Division while Shullsburg earned the same honors in the West.
Shullsburg had one lead in the game and that came on a layup by Hunter Matye close to two minutes in. But the rest of the half belonged to the Eagles.
When the Eagles went in for the break they had a 21-15 lead led by an eight point half from Malcolm Reed, five from Matthew Myers and a 14-11 rebound advantage. Lucas Evans, Barneveld's 6-5 forward, battled Shullsburg's 6-9 post Joseph Meyer and led the boardwork with six.
The Eagles started to pull away midway through the second half and by 11:08 led 34-22. Matthew Myers heated up on the way to a 20 point outing in his final game as an Eagle, Mike Zouski scored all of his 11 and Reed ended up with a steady 12.
But it was a lot more than the points scored that made the difference in the game. It was the points that the Miners didn't score.
The Eagles limited the Miners to 11 baskets, five of them three pointers, and 25% shooting. Barneveld, with a torrid 70% second half shooting percentage, scored at a 57% clip for the game. Barneveld cruised to a 37-13 second half.
They also hustled their way to a 28-24 rebound advantage over the bigger Miners.
Throw in a couple hustle plays by junior guard Kauy Fargo who has a way of keeping the motor running and having nine of the dozen players who played, score and it is a very impressive win.
For the second straight day the ball was entrusted to junior guard Bryce Vacha to hold as the final seconds ticked off the clock. This time, though, he drove the lane the play before and scored in traffic for his two points.
Every Eagle played and all recorded at least one statistic.
Shullsburg coach Mark Lierman had seen the zone Jim Myers developed to stop the Miners several times before.
"It was nothing new," he said. "Jim used that when we played when I was the girls coach. You have to shoot exceptionally well to beat it and we did not."
"We lost our pep," Lierman added.
It showed in the body language but Lierman thought that was more pronounced in that area by Barneveld.
"You could see they were feeling good," he said. "We tried to pull away but they would not let us. If we hit a three pointer they would come right back and hit one too."
"That took the wind out of our sails."
Lierman would not let the loss tarnish what the Miners did this season. Their accomplishments included the Six Rivers West title, the regional and sectional championships and the second place trophy in the state championship game.
"It was a great season," Lierman said.
Myers knew the Eagles had their work cut out for them with the size, length and athleticism they were facing.
"We worked the defensive plan and finished our possessions," Myers said. "It was a very exciting game."
His son, Matthew, agreed but took it a little further when he said," I have been dreaming about this since I could walk. It is every kid's dream and to do it with my dad and this group of guys makes me very proud."
Matthew thought this was a complete turnaround from last year's appearance at the Kohl Center.
"We were like deer in the headlights last season but we knew what was expected of us this year. We put in a lot of work beginning right after last year's tournament and we knew what was expected of us this year. I didn't feel any added pressure. I don't think of basketball as pressure. Pressure is something when you don't know what you are doing."
Malcolm Reed, who faced a personal tragedy when he lost his mother after the sectional final win, said he was feeling good because he knew his mom would be proud of him,
"The difference from last year was our confidence and overall mentality" Reed added. "We worked hard the first half and even harder the second. We knew they were getting frustrated. I don't think they were able to pull it back together after that."
Zouski said he had a feeling the team could make it this far and was excited for the win.
"I am a little sad though," he said. "Because I will never play with these guys again. But it couldn't have ended in a better way."
Luke Evans said he is feeling a lot of mixed emotions.
"I loved the atmosphere and looking up into the stands and seeing everyone," he said. "We have had a lot of following so it was cool to hear the cheering. It sucks that this is our last game together but I am glad we could end with a win."
"Not everyone is able to do that."
Later Jim Myers said he has been with this group of boys since they were fourth graders and has never seen a group set a goal and go out and accomplish it like this.
"All five seniors scored in the title game," Myers pointed out.
"It's been a great run," he added. "I can't tell you how proud I am to be able to coach this basketball team."
SCORE BY HALVES
Barneveld 21 37 58
Shullsburg 15 13 28
BARNEVELD 58: (fg-ft-tp) Reed 6-0-12, L. Evans 1-0-2, Myers 7-4-20, Fargo 2-0-4, Zouski 4-1-11, Laube 1-0-2, Slaney 0-0-0, Shatrawka 1-0-2, Ignatius 1-0-3, D. Evans 0-0-0, Vacha 1-0-2, Roberts 0-0-0 Totals 24-6-6-58. Fouls-9
SHULLSBURG 28: Meyer 3-0-6, Lierman 0-1-1, Matye 3-0-1, N. Wand 3-0-9, Wedige 0-0-0, A. Wand 0-0-0, Bailey 1-0-2, Weigel 0-0-0, Doyle 1-0-3, Martin 0-0-0. Totals 11-1/2-28 Fouls-9
3 point goals:
B-Myers 2, Ignatius 1, Zouski 1
S-N. Wand 3, Doyle 1, Matye 1
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