Braves searching for consistency

After starting off the season 2-0, the Black Hawk men’s basketball team went on to lose eight out of their next ten games, giving them a 4-8 record to begin the year. Now for most teams, a start like this would almost be a sign of a lost season, but coach Bizarri and his guys were able to keep their composure and win seven of their next eight games, giving them a winning record to begin 2016.

It all started with a dominating 113-54 victory over Eureka College on December 17. They followed up with three more wins in a row against Oakton, McHenry County, and Sauk Valley, with the first two being on the road.

At this point in time the Braves sit at 11-12 on the year, after dropping two straight to Highland and Sauk Valley.

When asked about what went wrong against Highland, assistant coach Keith Sutton said they “weren’t able to match the energy level that Highland had to start the game.”

He also said that he “told the guys to use Highland’s level of play as an example of how to start a game”, admiring their “high energy and willingness to communicate with one another.”

This most definitely made a difference early on, as Black Hawk was outscored 46 to 32 in the first half against Highland.

The Braves, lead by Brian Richardson with 23 points, were able to cut  the deficit to four points in the second half, and were only outscored by one point over the final 20 minutes. However, they still found themselves on the wrong side of an 86-71 final score, struggling to find an answer for Highlands Jaylan Robertson, who had 30 points on the night.

Brandon Vice was the second leading scorer for Black Hawk with 15 points and eight rebounds, and Markus Johnson provided ten points and five boards off the Braves bench.

The Black Hawk basketball team is going to need to put together as many wins as possible over the month of February, with the highly anticipated March madness quickly approaching.  A good place to start will be on February second, when the Braves host Black Hawk East Campus, in a chance to avenge a January loss to the Warriors. Of course emotions will be running high during this game considering East Campus could sweep the season series and take home the bragging rights.

The final stretch of games is set up in the Braves favor with five straight being played on their home floor, where they are 6-3 on the year according to the NJCAA website. If they are able to protect home court it will give them the confidence they need when it comes time to play win or go home basketball.

You can come out and support the Braves down the stretch of the season as they play a home game on February 16, at 7:30pm. The Braves end the regular season on the road against Highland, on the 18th, tipoff at 7:30.

Written by Tanner Rowe