Hamilton, Brookfield Central renew rivalry Friday
Chargers are coming to town for Greater Metro opener; Ellignson, LaChance square off
The careers of Brady Ellingson and Riley LaChance will always be linked, remembered as friendly rivals who each brought game-changing ability to the table during their four-year careers with Greater Metro Conference heavyweights.
The final chapter of this friendly rivalry gets written this year, starting with an installment Friday night. The boys basketball game between Sussex Hamilton and Brookfield Central will be carried live on Time Warner Cable Sports Channel (32).
Ellingson, the reigning GMC Player of the Year, will travel with his Sussex Hamilton boys basketball team to meet a Brookfield Central team fronted by fellow first-team All-State choice LaChance on Friday in the league opener.
The teams shared the crown last year, with the Lancers winning the second meeting in double overtime, 58-56, after Hamilton had scored a 41-30 win earlier in the season. Both finished 13-1 in conference, with Hamilton closing the year at 21-3 and Central at 20-4. Both were defeated in the regional, with losses to Arrowhead and eventual state qualifier Milwaukee King, respectively.
This time around, Hamilton comes into the battle at 3-2, with a three-point loss to King and another setback against a team from Dubuque, Iowa, on the ledger. Ellingson, averaging 23.3 points per game, has unsurprisingly carried the load offensively.
Central, coming into the battle off a rare two-week layoff, enters with a 2-0 record after dominating both battles against Illinois teams at a tournament south of the Wisconsin border shortly before Thanksgiving. LaChance has averaged 27 points per game, while big man Elijah Goodman has pumped in 16.5.
Central will be the heavy favorite this time around. The Chargers graduated three starters off last year's team, including post presence Tony Gumina, while the Lancers are positively loaded with returnees, notably the double-double machine Goodman. Guard Brad Newman and high-flying Caleb Mortag also return, meaning Central brings back each of its top four scorers, helping the program garner the No. 2 overall state ranking in Division 1, behind only two-time undefeated state champion Germantown.
Yet another returnee, senior Gunnar Malensek, shot two clutch free throws in double overtime last year that helped Central hold on and grab a share of the league title.
Ellingson has committed to play at the University of Iowa next year, while AAU teammate LaChance will play for Vanderbilt. Mitch Geszvain (6.7 points per game) and Sam Olson (5.0) have been the supplementary scorers this season for HHS, while Mortag (8.0) has been next after LaChance and Goodman.
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