Brookfield Central's second-ranked boys needed a measuring-stick basketball game before heading into the New Year.
The Lancers were 7-0 going into the Luke Homan Holiday Tournament on Friday and Saturday. They have outscored their opponents on average, 66-47.
After blowing out Madison West, 72-34, in the first game of the Homan Tourney on Friday, Central faced Mukwonago, a team that was 7-3 and lost in the state finals last year to Germantown.
Central coach Mark Adams had a message for his team before Saturday night's game.
"This is a team that has been in games we want to be in," he said. "They've been in the sectional finals, they've been in the state finals. One of our coaches said it best in our shoot around today. They are going to be unflappable.
"We were up 14 at half and it meant nothing to them."
After Riley LaChance and Caleb Mortag — each with seven points — gave Central a 19-10 first quarter lead, Central led 34-20 at halftime.
But Aaron Nixon had six points and Ryan Wagner and Daniel Gerrits four each, as Mukwonago had a 24-18 third-quarter advantage to cut the lead to 52-44 going into the fourth quarter.
Elijah Goodman and Brad Newman each had six points to spark the Lancers in the quarter.
"I think they're experience, knowing what it takes, they had a couple kids who got hot at the same time and that became a problem because they were scoring rather quickly," Adams said.
But LaChance (7 points), Mortag (4) and Newman (two clutch free throws in the final seconds) battled Nixon (6) and the Indians to a 13-13 draw in the final period.
Nixon led the way with 18 points, nailing six 3-pointers, but the Lancers shut down Indians star Dominic Cizauskas (7 points), who is their second-leading scorer (13.7).
"You hold him to seven. He's a beast," Adams said. "Without a doubt he was the guy we were worried about. I thought our guy (Goodman) totally outplayed him.
"Our guy had 18 rebounds, 10 points. We told him you're playing your clone tonight. Who is going to win — you or the clone. And I think he won — no discredit to him (Cizauskas ). I think our guy won that battle. He's something else."
Central had four players in double figures — Mortag (19), LaChance (18), Newman (12) and Goodman (10).
Adams had some special praise for Mortag and Newman.
"The last two nights he has taken his inside game to another level." Adams said of Mortag. "He's long, he's tall and he can jump a little bit. Those are things he is starting to take advantage of.
"Brad is sort of like an energizer for us. A spirit guy for the team. He just plays hard. The biggest thing that has improved his year is his decision-making.
"When you have two decision-makers on the floor (LaChance), he can handle it regardless. It makes a world of difference."
Newman and the Lancers knew how big the win was.
"It means a lot. We had a ton of adversity tonight," he said. "It's a big win for us; first time we played in that type of atmosphere. We had a lot of fans and the crowd is going nuts. They battled, they gave us everything they had."
Central blew out Madison West on Friday, 72-34, taking a 23-7 first quarter lead and then shutting out the Regents, 24-0, in the second quarter for a 47-7 lead.
Goodman had 16 points, LaChance added 14, Newman, 11, and Mortag, 10. No one from West reached double figures.
Central plays West Allis Hale at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Greater Metro Conference action.
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