Although the Greater Metro Conference Championship was locked away, you could never tell by the way the Brookfield Central boys basketball team played Feb. 20 at Central in their regular-season finale.
First of all, senior guard Riley LaChance tied the school's single-game conference scoring record, scoring 44 points in a 81-53 victory over West Allis Central at home.
The Lancers finished 14-0 in the Greater Metro Conference and 22-0 overall, by defeating the second-place Bulldogs (11-3, 18-4) for the second time in six days, this time without all-star Elijah Goodman, who sat out with a bad back.
The Lancers were the school's first unbeaten boys basketball champions and that was something on the players' minds coming into the game.
"It feels great," said senior guard Brad Newman, who finished with 19 points, including 8-for-8 from the free-throw line. "It feels good to add to the legacy of the school. This is the first time we went undefeated (in conference), undefeated period."
The Lancers defeated the Bulldogs, 88-59, Feb. 15 on the road, so Newman knew the Bulldogs might be looking for revenge.
"(We needed to) stay in focus," he said. "We knew they would come to play. We wanted to bring our 'A' game, and we did."
The Lancers led 25-21 after one quarter and 36-31 at halftime, Newman had 11 points at halftime and LaChance had 16 of his 44 points. LaChance tied the Lancers' single-game conference mark set by Charlie Jack in 1965.
"It's great," said the modest LaChance, "but I couldn't have done anything like that without help from my teammates.
"Everyone played really well tonight. Zach (Tichelaar) and Luke (Rasmusen) stepped in for Elijah. It was truly a team effort."
The Lancers trailed, 21-15, when they went on a 10-0 run to end the first quarter. Tichelaar, a senior forward who started in Goodman's place, scored on a rebound, Newman hit back-to-back 3-pointers and LaChance sank two free throws when Brandon Key got hit with a technical fall in the final seconds.
Central led, 36-31, at halftime, then blew the game open and took a 57-42 advantage after a 21-11 third quarter. LaChance had 28 points in the second half, tying the record on a 3-point shot with 2 minutes, 38 seconds to play. He had five 3-pointers and was 9-for-11 from the free-throw line.
Not once, but twice, he connected with Caleb Mortag, who had 9 points, on alley-oop dunks in the final four minutes, bringing the Lancers fans to their feet.
Afterward Goodman talked about winning the GMC.
"It's a great feeling," he said. "It's just hard work paying off. We've been working on it for two years now."
Coach Mark Adams has been setting his squad up all season, not only talking about winning the conference title, one of their first goals of every season, but also setting up their legacy.
"We emphasized that they would be the first team to not only finish the season unbeaten, but also finish the regular season with 22 wins," Adams said.
It was obvious, the Lancers got the message.
Lancers 67, Indians 41
Brookfield Central used a 24-6 first quarter to blow Menomonee Falls away early on Feb. 18 at Falls. That led to a 41-19 lead at intermission. Central only outscored Falls, 26-22, in the second half as coach Mark Adams got 10 players in the box score. Riley LaChance scored 17 points, Brad Newman added 16, Elijah Goodman had 14 points and Caleb Mortag added 10. Jerry Murphy had 10 points to lead the Indians.
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