The Blackhawks' and game's leading scorer, Matt Pisano hits a basket to lead Mississinawa to a WOAC road win over National Trail. (Chris Tilton photo)

Blackhawks Down Blazers

NEW PARIS – The Mississinawa-Valley Blackhawks were able to down the National Trail Blazers 52-44 on Friday night. The game was knotted at 21 at halftime, but a strong third quarter propelled the Blackhawks into the lead. Then they had to fend off a furious fourth quarter comeback attempt in order to preserve their lead.  The Blackhawks had a steady hand at the free throw line – cooly making 8-of-10 in the fourth quarter as they clung to the lead and were 15-for-18 on the night for a respectable 83% average.

Misssissinawa Valley’s coach stated, “We have 5 keys before the game. One of the things was we have to match these guys intensity at home. I think we did that, although we did fall off a bit in the second quarter. We regrouped at halftime and we played much more solid.  Now in the fourth quarter it came down to execution – we got a little ragged. But we are still a work in progress and we are .500 right now.”

Sometimes you have to take what the other team gives you and the Blackhawks were shooting daggers in the first quarter – scoring 15-points from beyond the arc. Jake Dirmeyer and Troy Woodbury each had a pair, and post player Matt Pisano managed to hit one as well. Davian Trump scored a deuce from the field and the Blackhawks were in the driver’s seat with a 17-8 lead after 1 quarter.

The Blackhawks utilized a three-quarter court press which did get a few turnovers, but seemed to keep the Blazers from comfortably setting up their offense. They used a shell offense for a spell, then used a continuous motion offense. The Blazers used a half court man to man defense for almost the whole game.

In the second quarter, the Blackhawks were cold – not making any shots from the field and only scoring free throws. At the other end of the court, the Blazers got hot. They held the Blackhawks to just 4-points while going on a run and scoring 12 to tie up the ball game.  Wyatt House got things going for the Blazers, scoring 6-points in a row to jump start their offense at the start of the quarter.

At halftime the Blackhawks adjusted their style – again taking what the other team gives. The outside game was not working and so the mission seemed to be to get the ball to the basket.  Either feeding the post players or driving from the wings.  And the defense was superlative – limiting the Blazers to just 5 points. The momentum meter had swung firmly in the Blackhawks direction.

“At halftime it wasn’t really about X’s and O’s. It was about maintaining our composure.  Our third key was about composure and we didn’t do that in the second quarter.  We shot way too many 3’s in the first half. We didn’t adjust – we just reaffirmed our game plan and we executed it better in the second half.”

Matt Pisano led scoring on the night and scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half. This helped the Blackhawks in their strong third quarter surge.  This was despite accumulating a fourth foul late in the third that sent him to the bench for the remainder of that quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter.  Not all of his points were in the paint – he showed versatility as he would also nail three treys.

“He is a really good athlete.  We have five solid juniors.  Jacob Loy came off the bench and played well for us. Connor Shimp played huge off the bench. They all played hard – that’s the way we practice. I would like to up the pace and with these talented players I think we can do that. We keep getting better – and it’s only the fourth game!”

With about 2-minutes left, the Blackhawks lead by 16, 48-32.  A lot of fans were probably putting their coats on and finding their keys.  But the Blazers began to press and got a hot hand on offense.  They made a good run at the Blackhawks, closing the gap to just 6-points 50-44 with 18-seconds left.  But the Blackhawks held off their charge and re-extended their lead with a Pisano bucket at the end of the game for the final margin of victory.

Mississinawa  Valley Scoring: Dirmeyer 8, Woodbury 8, Anguiano 2, Pisano 19, Loy 4, Shimp 4, Trump 2.

National Trail Scoring: House 11, Smyth 2, Leal 13, White 8, Koehl 3, Carrell 5.

Jacob Loy scores for MV in the Hawks WOAC win over the Blazers. (Chris Tilton photo)
Dylan Wehcamp drives to the hoop for Mississinawa in the Blackhawks Friday night conference win over National Trail. (Chris Tilton photo)
Jake Dirmeyer puts up a Hawks shot in the team's WOAC road win over Trail. (Chris Tilton photo)
The Blackhawks Drew Anguiano puts up a shot for MV in the team's win over Trail. (Chris Tilton photo)
Troy Woodbury drives to the basket in the Blackhawks win over National Trail. (Chris Tilton photo)

Chris Tilton / Correspondent

Chris Tilton has covered sports in Southwest Ohio for the past 23 years and has lived in Southwest Ohio most of his life. He is mostly retired and continues to enjoy travel in the USA and hs been to Asia and Europe. Chris continues to work as a freelance writer. His Hobbies include fishing and computer gaming. Chris lives on a 32 acre farm in the Camden area. He has 10 grandchildren the he enjoys spending time with when he is not covering sports or traipsing around the country.

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