Orfordville Parkview’s boys basketball team set a goal to earn a postseason home game.
The Vikings accomplished that objective, and in their own gym against Trailways South Conference rival Johnson Creek on Tuesday night, they put an end to a recent tournament dry spell.
Justin Balch scored 18 of his game-high 21 points during a first-half shootout, and Parkview (14-9) picked up its defensive intensity to start the second half, forging a gap on the way to a 72-61 victory in a WIAA Division 4 regional quarterfinal.
It was Parkview’s first postseason win since beating New Glarus in a Division 3 opener in 2007.
“The whole week of practice so far had just been mainly defense and rebounding, because that is definitely our main weakness,” said Balch, who made five of Parkview’s 10 3-pointers. “The only way we knew we’d win is if we sharpened up the defense and started playing more aggressive.
“Our main goal was to get a home regional game and then just keep going from there and make a deep run.”
The fifth-seeded Vikings will travel to play No. 4-seeded Saint Mary’s Springs in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Friday.
They can credit their defense in the first seven minutes of the second half Tuesday night for carrying them there.
After holding a three-point halftime lead, Parkview trailed 42-41 in the opening minutes of the second half. But the Vikings forced six turnovers in the next six minutes, sparking a 13-2 run that put them up by double digits.
“We’ve been able to score some points all year, but defensively we’ve been letting teams score, too,” Parkview coach Mike Striegl said. “We came out pretty energized there in the second half, and that really helped.”
The Bluejays (7-15) had turned the ball over just five times while shooting 65 percent from the field in the first half. Balch said the Vikings focused simply on picking up the aggression and clogging the driving lanes.
Parkview also focused much of its attention on junior Cole Ducklow, who was fifth in the Trailways South in scoring at 15.6 points per game during the regular season.
“We face-guarded Ducklow, and he still got 16 points, but the goal ... was to try and take him out of the game the best we could,” Striegl said. “Everybody stepped up. In the second half, Eli (Hoscheit) took (Ducklow) and did a great job on him.”
Ducklow had 11 of his 16 points in the first half.
Parkview junior Adrian Meza went scoreless in the first half but had 11 points in the second, including seven points during the critical 13-2 run.
Johnson Creek got no closer than seven points the rest of the way.
It was Balch that helped the Vikings stay on top in a back-and-forth first half. He went 5 of 8 from beyond the arc in the game and was 7 of 10 from the field in the first 11 minutes.
“I was just feeling it,” Balch said. “My teammates kept giving me looks, and I kept putting them in.”
Joining Balch and Meza in double figures were Hoscheit with 12 points and senior Riley Carroll, who had 12 of his 17 in the first half.
Parkview will now make the long trek Friday to Saint Mary’s Springs, which improved to 13-10 by beating Montello 76-54 on Tuesday.
“We got that (a home tournament game), and we got the win, so now it’s the next step,” Striegl said. “I think this will really help the energy and the buy-in to what we’re trying to preach here.”
PARKVIEW 72, JOHNSON CREEK 61
Johnson Creek (61)—Ducklow 6-2-16, Henningson 3-8-15, Swanson 3-2-9, Richardt 4-2-10, Johnson 4-1-9, Garza 1-0-2. Totals: 21-15-61.
Parkview (72)—Meza 4-2-11, Carroll 6-4-17, Hoscheit 3-4-12, Balch 8-0-21, Tracy 3-2-9, Burns 1-0-2. Totals: 25-12-72.
Johnson Creek 38 23—61
Orfordville Parkview 41 31—72
3-point goals—Johnson Creek 4 (Ducklow 2, Henningson, Swanson), Parkview 10 (Balch 5, Hoscheit 2, Meza, Carroll, Tracy). Free throws missed—Johnson Creek 8, Parkview 9.