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Battle of Brookfield goes according to script

Brookfield Central senior Elijah Goodman reaches for a loose ball in Friday’s semifinal win over Brookfield East at home.

Brookfield Central senior Elijah Goodman reaches for a loose ball in Friday’s semifinal win over Brookfield East at home. Photo By C.T. Kruger

Feb. 28, 2014

The third time Brookfield Central (23-0) met Brookfield East (5-18) this season was the third time Brookfield Central beat Brookfield East this season.

But that's about par for the course for the undefeated Lancers (23-0), who came away with a 63-30 playoff win Friday evening at Central.

The Lancers took control early when Riley LaChance drove up the middle for the game's first 2 points. The Lancers found themselves up 13-0 before the Spartans finally got on the board on a basket from Will Ikpi. LaChance drained four 3-point baskets to help his team to a 22-5 lead after the first quarter.

"My teammates were getting me open looks," LaChance said, "and I just knocked them down. It was good. I think I was aggressive early, and everybody was aggressive early, and I think that got us off to a good start. I was feeling pretty good."

Clear the bench

The Lancers continued to dominate and led, 38-14, at halftime. LaChance, who led all scorers with 21 points, came out of the game in the second half, when Central coach Mark Adams started to play some of his seniors off the bench.

"It was good to get everybody in there, especially in this atmosphere," LaChance said. "It was good to get everybody in there in a playoff game. We knew we needed to get off to a good start, and the momentum from this game should carry into the next, and throughout."

Adams added, "I'm proud of the way we practice, because that's why (the second unit is) able to do what they do. We call things right away, and they're right into it, and they know where to go. We've had pretty good focus in practice, and it showed there."

Brookfield East finished the season at 5-18.

"When the shots are falling, then that obviously hurts," coach Matt Mallett said. "Obviously, all week we were talking about how we need to shade on LaChance and shade on (Brad) Newman, and I think our guards believe us now that he can shoot.

"We were really confident with our game plan. We didn't feel we matched up with them very well in man. We wanted to press, not to speed them up or turn them over; it was a very conservative press just to get them passing four times to stop their transition.

"Our kids played really, really hard; we just got beat. We're learning how to be smarter players, too, and that's going to come in the off-season.

Eight of the Spartans' losses came by six or less points, and the young squad will graduate just one senior.

"We're disappointed that we didn't show better today," Mallett said. "We didn't do what we needed to do to compete in the game. I'm unbelievably ecstatic for next year, because, first and foremost, they are unbelievable kids. They have a great work ethic. They have great attitudes. They're great people. They're great students. They're the most together team I've ever had.

"We knew we were going to take our lumps this year. I know our numbers don't show it, but we are very close to making some noise in the conference. I really believe that the lumps we took are going to make our guys even hungrier than they were, and we're going to have a very, very important summer and off-season coming up, but I'm excited to get back to work tomorrow."

Getting tougher

Next up for Brookfield Central is Milwaukee South, who squeaked past Milwaukee Vincent, 47-46. A state championship remains the goal.

"Basically we preached in the very first practice in preparation for the tournament that everything changes now," Adams said. "It's all about what we do. There's a tournament intensity that now evolves. Everybody, for the most part, wants to keep playing, and each game you play, somebody's not going to be (playing) anymore. So we always preach a good warm-up, and tonight we had a really good warm-up and I think that had a lot to do with the energy we came out with.

"I think they were pretty focused. From here on in, it's going to be a completely different animal, is what it's going to be, because each night is going to get tougher and tougher."

Malett was very complimentary of the Lancers.

"Obviously they're really good, and they're playing great at the right time," he said. "They're well coached. They have a program in place where they're running the same stuff at fourth grade as they are here, and so that creates an unbelievable chemistry.

"They develop players well, and then you get special players like LaChance — and Goodman's a special player. Depth is huge, but it's depth that's been developed."

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