Meridian’s Metzger overcomes illness and shines in win over Beavers

Meridian’s Nick Metzger spent all day Sunday sick to his stomach. By the end of Monday, Beaverton was feeling rather uneasy.

Metzger — an athletic, lanky sophomore guard — scored 14 of his game-high 18 points, and all but five of Meridian’s points in the second half, after the break to propel the Mustangs into a fight generally fierce. 36-28 win over hosts Beavers in Jack Pine Conference men’s basketball.

Meridian improves to 10-3 overall and 8-2 in the Jack Pine, while Beaverton slips to 6-5 overall and 4-4 in conference.

Fellow sophomore Sawyer Moloy scored his 10 points and all but seven MHS first-half points before the break as he and Metzger combined to match Beaverton’s offensive output for the game.

“I thought Sawyer played big minutes, played with a big engine. Nick is coming out of an illness and was throwing up all day yesterday due to food poisoning so we didn’t play him as much as we wanted to but he (got big),” noted the Meridian coach, Mitch Bohn.

“…It’s so hard, and they make it hard, so we’re trying to do the same thing,” he added of the matchup with the Beavers. “Hopefully our kids come out of this big and better and can play with their nerves in a place where they can shoot the ball, dribble the ball and pass the ball (against that kind of defensive pressure).”

Metzger, who enjoyed a calm first half, was all over the place after the break and showed few signs of fatigue due to his illness.

“In the first and second trimester, I was a little nauseous, I didn’t feel 100%,” he said. “But in the third and fourth, I started picking up (the energy) and feeling it.”

Beaverton coach Roy Johnston admitted his team struggled to score at times, but added the Mustangs have good athletes.

“We’re kind of limited in some of the things we can do (offensively). … We just don’t know what we’re doing sometimes,” Johnston said. “…And they always had so much (darn) talent there. … Mitch did a good job there, but they always had talent there.

A half-hook shot down the lane and a transition layup, both by the 6-foot-6 Moloy, provided the lone score in the first three and a half minutes of the game. The Beavers eventually responded with a 3-pointer from Mitch Hall and a mid-range jumper from Logan Love to start a 12-2 run, which was capped by the 3-pointer from Alex Pahl in the final seconds, giving BHS a 12-6 lead. approaching the second quarter.

With the Beavers scoreless for the first three minutes of the second quarter, the Mustangs got buckets from Moloy and Metzger to restart a 9-1 streak, giving Meridian a 15-13 advantage. Hall replied with another 3-pointer, Beaverton’s first field goal of the period, to give the Beavers a 16-15 advantage. After a few more lead changes, BHS entered the locker room with an 18-17 lead.

Metzger then came alive in the opening minutes of the second half. He scored seven quick points on a turnover layup from Beaverton, a transition layup on a long pass out from Moloy, a steal and a layup, and a free throw in a 8-2 run that gave Meridian a 25-20 lead. The Mustangs eventually took a 25-22 advantage in the fourth.

“I scored on a turnover, and then Sawyer passed me a dime, and I did, and it was like, ‘Okay, I feel it. Let’s keep going,’ and I did,” Metzger said.

Indeed, he did.

Metzger opened the fourth quarter with a solid base drive for a layup, Brayden Riley added a short jumper in traffic, and Metzger drilled a 3-pointer to give the Mustangs a 7-0 run and the first lead. double digit game, 32-22. Beaverton only came close to eight from then on.

Johnston noted that his team played hard but are still learning to play together.

“Everybody (besides Hall and Love) is green and new, and I knew that would happen,” he said of the Beavers’ struggles. “… The kids scrambled, but we gave up at least eight points on lay-ups where it was just us not working very hard. … It’s frustrating in a way, but you don’t see a baby walking. They have to crawl first.

When asked if he sees any progress from his group of inexperienced players, Johnston added with a smile: “I think so. We do not abandon them.

For his part, Bohn was thrilled to get a win after watching his team shoot 1 of 19 from outside the arc.

“I’m really impressed that we managed to win the game, shooting so badly,” he said, while applauding his Mustangs’ defense. “…The first time we played them at home, they were missing a few players and they were a far cry from where they are now. I don’t think they even really felt like they could win the first time they faced us.

“But this time I knew they thought they could win, and they proved they could win the game if we weren’t able to press the ball as well as we did and for as long. that we did,” Bohn added. “I give a ton of credit to Dane Plichta and Brayden Riley because they pressed the ball all over the pitch the whole time.”

Meridian shot 31 percent (13 of 42) from the floor overall to Beaverton’s 26 percent (11 of 42) and had the advantage at the foul line, making 9 of 13 free throws to the Beavers’ 3 of 5.

Moloy had 14 rebounds, three steals and a pair of blocks to go with his 10 points, while Plichta had five rebounds and three steals, Riley also had five boards, Cam Haiser had four assists and Metzger added three steals for the Mustangs. .

For Beaverton, Love led the way with 12 points, 11 rebounds and four steals, while Hall had seven points and five rebounds, Colton Compton had five steals and three assists, and Pahl added five rebounds.

According to Bohn, neither team is the same as the first time they faced each other this season.

“Compton and (Josh) Clark have scored for them (lately), and they haven’t played last time. It was a different team this time,” he said. “We are a better team, and they are a better team.”

Johnston agreed, noting that he’s pretty happy with his Beavers’ situation, all things considered.

“I think we’re tied for third in the league, so it’s pretty good for us if we can maintain that,” he said, adding with another smile, “I don’t know if we can maintain this or not, but we could be last.

Asked about playing his school’s great rival in front of a huge crowd, Metzger immediately replied, “Love it.”

“It’s hard sometimes being a sophomore and handling the ball, being afraid to return it,” he added. “But you get used to it after a while.”

Beaverton travel to Vestaburg on Wednesday, while Meridian host Farwell on Friday.