Coming off huge win, Brookfield Central boys stunned by Northstars
Lack of defense hurts in play against Waukesha North
There are plenty of ups and downs in the high school basketball season. Brookfield Central's boys team experienced both ends of the roller coaster in a window of four days.
After topping nationally ranked Chester (Penn.) in an uplifting performance Jan. 12 at the Brandon Jennings Invitational, Central traveled to face Waukesha North (4-9) in a nonconference battle three days later. North's Ruben Ortiz hit a driving runner with one second to go, and the Northstars administered a stunning 60-59 defeat to Central.
"We spent a lot of time in two days of preparation trying to bring them back down to earth after beating Chester," Central coach Mark Adams said. "Even Riley (LaChance) asked in the pregame if he could say something before they went out for warm-ups, and he said all the right things. Just because it's a nonconference game or they don't have as good a record as us (doesn't mean we can take it lightly).
"In the first quarter, we were ahead 21-14 but I had a bad feeling because of the way we were playing defense, letting them score way too easily. From that point on, we had a hard time scoring and went from being up 7 to down 6 at halftime."
The back-and-forth battle continued, with North taking a lead as large as 9 points in the second half but Central battled back to lead by 5 with two minutes, 22 seconds to go. The Lancers missed two front-end bonus freebies, with one late turnover and a missed shot in the final possessions contributing to North's comeback. The Northstars inbounded from underneath their basket with six seconds to play, setting up Ortiz (20 points) to finish with the winning shot. He also drew a foul and missed the free throw intentionally to drain what was left of the clock.
"We had a second guy come over and had two guys with their hands up; he just banked it in," Adams said. "They had another guy who had 15 points in the first half, and then in the second half we let Ortiz go off on us. We just were not in a mind-set that we needed to be in. It was very disappointing. … You're going to learn from it because it can't happen. It just can't."
As Adams noted, there was a small bright side: It wasn't a Greater Metro Conference battle.
Central 75, Hale 35
The GMC battle came Friday, and it was Hale that felt the wrath of Central's frustration.
"We were trying to get the mental part back in order again and realize no matter who we're playing, they're all important," Adams said. "It seemed like we were getting things back where they should be, the response by the players to start the game was right where we wanted it. We ran the break down the floor pretty well."
Central (11-3, 6-1 in conference) jumped out to a 23-5 first-period lead and crushed the Huskies. LaChance finished with 19 points, with Elijah Goodman and Brad Newman adding 11. The team finished with more than 20 deflections, which Adams considered a strong defensive indicator.
Newman was able to achieve penetration and handed out three assists, with Goodman adding 12 rebounds to his dominant inside performance. Zach Tichelaar came off the bench and hit all four of his free throws, finishing with 6 points.
"All of us were disappointed with how things went Tuesday, but we bounced back and played really well," Adams said.
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