Warriors’ up-tempo style seals third straight

MESKWAKI SETTLEMENT – It’s one of their greatest strengths.

But at times, the Warriors’ energetic style of play can put them in a bind.

The Meskwaki boys’ basketball team built enough of a cushion with their defense and transition game early in the second half to hold off Janesville and some late miscues in a 55-52 victory in Iowa Star Conference play Tuesday.

Tyus Grant led a trio of Warriors in double-figures with 12 points as Meskwaki (5-6, 2-4) extended its win streak to three and handed Janesville (4-9, 3-6) its fourth straight loss.

“(We) have a lot of energy but we have to control it sometimes,” Meskwaki coach Harvey Davenport said. “I think that’s what gets us in trouble.”

The Warriors found themselves deep in it when three consecutive turnovers complemented a 12-4 run from the Wildcats as Janesville pulled within 55-52 with 1:16 to play.

The Wildcats’ comeback effort was thwarted by a turnover of their own when Danny Amlie stole the ball at midcourt but sailed a pass over the head of Hunter Meyer who had an open floor in front of him.

The Warriors were able to play keep away the rest of the way as Janesville still had four fouls to give before forcing Meskwaki to the line. Fitting for the night, DeMarce Keahna insured the win by leaping in for the offensive board off a free throw miss – the Warriors’ lone attempt of the game – as time expired.

Trailing 33-32 midway through the third, the Warriors rallied with a 9-2 run to claim a six-point advantage heading into the final frame. A layup from Hunter Meyer, who scored a game-high 15 points, brought the Wildcats within 41-38 before a pair of treys from Grant and a transition bucket from Darrion Murray gave the Warriors their largest lead at 49-38 with just less than 5 minutes remaining.

Meyer came out of the gates with three triples and 11 of the Wildcats’ first 13 points, before the Warriors switched to a box-and-one, limiting the junior to just four points over the final 26 minutes.

Meskwaki mounted a 13-2 spurt spanning the first and second quarters to claim a 24-15 lead before Janesville countered by scoring 14 of the next 18 points to lead 29-28 at intermission.

“Our guys are still learning,” said Davenport, whose squad features six sophomores and two freshman.

“I told them ‘as long as you learn something from this, you’ll be alright,'” said Davenport.

Murray and Cordell Bear each scored 10 points for the Warriors. Keahna and Corey Dye both added seven.

Amlie added nine points for the Wildcats and Chris Bright and Joseph Friedrich had eight apiece. Montana Meyer scored seven.

It was a familiar finish for the Wildcats who have endured four straight losses decided by three points or less, including two that went into overtime.

“They had their run, than we had ours,” Davenport said. “It was just a matter of who was going to take care of the ball last.”

The Warriors entertain Tripoli Friday and hit the road to face Central City Saturday.