Brookfield Central boys win two big games
Lancers beat Tosa East, second-ranked Wisconsin Lutheran
Brookfield Central earned two important wins last weekend, beating Wauwatosa East in a Greater Metro Conference game on Friday and then nipping Wisconsin Lutheran in an big non-conference battle between ranked teams on Saturday at Central.
With the wins, the Lancers are now 17-3 overall and 11-1 in conference, one game behind Sussex Hamilton (12-0), who they hosted Tuesday with the title on the line (see separate story).
Brookfield Central held off a rally by Wisconsin Lutheran in the fourth quarter and nipped the Vikings, 59-55.
Central was ranked ninth in state (17-3) in Division 1 and WISCO (15-5) was second in D2 according to Wissports.net. Both teams put on quite a show.
The Vikings never led, but did cut the lead to 48-45, with 4 minutes and 3 seconds left to play. The Lancers then got some breathing room when they ran their offense to perfection.
First Gunnar Melensak hit Riley LaChance with a perfect pass for a layup. Then with 2:19 left, Elijah Goodman passed to Caleb Mortag, who dunked the ball. Finally, with 1:26 to play, Mortag hit two free throws and Central had a 54-45 lead. The Vikings outscored Central, 10-5, the rest of the way, but it was too little too late.
"I was happy with the way we ran that," Central coach Mark Adams said. "That's the way it is supposed to work. If we don't get the layup, then we don't take a shot."
There was a discrepancy from the free-throw line, as the Lancers made 11-for-15 while the Vikings were 1-for-1.
Vikings' star Diondre Cunningham led all scorers with 18 points and Keith Franklin had 12 for WISCO. LaChance had 17 and Goodman had 15 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, while point guard Brad Newman and Mortag had eight each for Central.
Adams told his team that playing back-to-back games and taking on a team as a good as WISCO is great preparation, especially with teams like Milwaukee King and Milwaukee Vincent in their regional.
"It helps us a lot," Newman said afterward. "They play a lot like teams we will face. They bring a lot of pressure. I like handling the ball, though. It's my favorite part of the game."
"WISCO brings quickness and athleticism," Adams said.
But that wasn't his biggest fear coming into this game.
"My biggest concern was this team has gone through a very emotional month staying in this conference race and to complete it Friday night to make it to the Tuesday game with Hamilton. I didn't know how much that would drain us.
"We had a lot of ups-and-downs . . . but the guys came though," Adams continued. "Gunnar Melensak gave us some good play at point guard and Terry Wallen hit two threes for us. I thought Caleb Mortag saw in the second half the game was being called in a more aggressive fashion. His finishes were a lot more aggressive than what they were in the first half. And Riley just keeps us steady."
Central pulled away from the Red Raiders little by little each quarter for a 62-48 victory Friday at Tosa East, the Lancers' sixth win in a row.
Central took a slim 3-point lead (17-14) after the first quarter and then expanded the lead to 34-25 with a 17-11 second period, their biggest quarter of the four. Both teams exchanged baskets in the third with the Lancers winning the quarter (17-15) to take a 51-40 lead into the final period.
The Red Raiders stayed in the game, but couldn't cut into the Lancers' lead.
LaChance led the way with 20 points while Goodman and Newman had 12 and 11 points each. Mortag added eight points and Peter Mattiacci added seven.
Tosa East had four players score - Anthony Carroll (16 points, four 3-pointers), Ben Mihelich (15 points) and Nate Moore (12 points, two 3-pointers, 8 assists). Kyle Vnuk rounded out the scoring with five points.
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