Defense powers Vikings to victory

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Josh Flickinger/Beloit Daily News Parkview's Adrian Meza goes up for a shot against Johnson Creek Tuesday night.

ORFORDVILLE, Wis. - The Parkview boys basketball team seemed content to trade baskets in Tuesday night's WIAA Division 4 regional opener with visiting Johnson Creek.

In order to win their first playoff game since 2007, however, it would take a little defense to get the job done.

The Vikings turned up the heat defensively and the result was a solid 72-61 to end the playoff victory drought at long last.

Parkview coach Mike Striegel said the win could have lasting implications for the program.

"This is huge for what we've been trying to do, all the way down to the youth levels," Striegel said. "We're trying to create a championship culture, and this is a way for guys to buy in even more. It's important to see results. One of the big sayings we have around here is that we don't want excuses, we want to see results. It's going to take some time, but I think we're going in the right direction."

Parkview (14-9) took a 41-38 lead into intermission largely thanks to eight 3-pointers, four of them coming from Justin Balch.

But an early run by Johnson Creek gave the Bluejays a 42-41 in the early stages of the second half.

Another Balch trey gave the Vikings the lead right back, and they wouldn't surrender the advantage for the rest of the way. A 13-2 run, highlighted by seven points from Adrian Meza, gave the Vikings a 10-point lead. Johnson Creek would get no closer than seven for the remainder of the contest.

It was a typically balanced scoring attack for Parkview, with four players scoring in double figures, and another finishing with nine. Balch sored 18 of his game-high 21 in the first half. Riley Carroll ran the show effectively at point guard while adding 17 points, and Eli Hoscheit finished with 12. Meza had 11, and Brayden Tracy stepped up to score nine.

The Vikings were without the services of forward Aydon Campbell, who was suspended after being ejected from Parkview's last regular-season game against Palmyra-Eagle.

"We've been working on defense and rebounding all week," Striegel said. "We really focused our efforts on their top two scorers, and we did a nice job especially in the second half. We can score points, we know that. It's a matter of getting stops on the other end. We had some lapses on our help defense in the first half, but we were able to clean it up in the second half."

Carroll, the only senior who receives meaningful playing time, said he was proud of his team's effort.

"That was probably the best defensive game we've played all season," Carroll said. "We face-guarded (Cole) Ducklow all game and did a good job on him. It's a big win for the program. Nobody even remembers when the last time we won a playoff game."

Ducklow was held to 16 after be scored 25 against the Vikings on Feb. 13.

It's on to face a solid St. Mary's Springs team Friday. Striegel, who said he didn't want to jinx anything by looking past Johnson Creek, said he knows his team will be in for a challenge.

"I Know they've got four guys that are 6-foot-4 or so," Striegel said. "But you never know until you see them in person. We've been up against a few teams like that this year. Black Hawk has a lot of height, and we played them right down to the wire. We will have Aydon back,and that will help. I'm not a big zone person, but we might have to play some zone against them. We just need to figure out the best way to attack them and go out and execute."

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