King ends Lancers season for second year in a row, 77-74
Generals sink 11 3-pointers to move into sectional finals
For the second year in a row, Milwaukee King ended Brookfield Central’s boys basketball season. And for the second year in a row, it was the 3-point shot that killed the Lancers.
The Generals won a thriller, 77-74, before close to 3,000 fans in a packed Brookfield East Fieldhouse, and advanced to the WIAA Sectional Final on Saturday against Racine Case at 4 p.m. at West Allis Central.
The Generals sank 11 3-pointers, six by senior Curtis Weathers, who finished with a game high 22 points, and three by junior Jordan Poole, which accounted for all nine of his points.
But in the end, it was 6-foot, 4 inch senior forward Chris Howell who did in the Lancers, scoring 13 second-half points, including seven in overtime as he scored three baskets in the paint.
“We had to get out of it (1-3-1 zone),” Central coach Mark Adams said. “But there was no way we could match up with them for a real long time. They just gave the ball to Howell and we didn’t have a guy on our team that could match up with him and stop him.”
Senior guard Brad Newman scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, including three 3-pointers, the last one bringing the Lancers within one, 64-63, with 1:46 to play. But then Jemell Posey stole the ball, was fouled and he converted a free throw for 67-63 with 1:13 to play.
Then Central senior guard Gunnar Malensek hit his only basket of the game with 42 seconds left, nailing a long 3-pointer from the right side to cut the lead to 67-66. Junior guard Joe Binyoti, who hounded Central’s Riley LaChance all night, was fouled with 21.4 left and he sank both free throws for a 69-66.
LaChance, who finished his high school career with 14 points, then missed a 3-pointer from deep in the right corner, but Elijah Goodman grabbed the rebound and threw it back out to LaChance, who then drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
“We thought we had it,” the soft-spoken Goodman said afterwards. “We were all pumped up.”
King coach Jim Gosz talked about what went on in his huddle.
“We took a deep breath and Posey said that’s why we do our conditioning so hard,” he said. “Our guys weren’t tired. I told our guys it would be hard and that’s a testament to our guys will.”
Binyoti was fouled to start the OT but missed two free throws and then LaChance was fouled, went to the line, but only made 1-of-2 shots, giving Central its final lead of the year at 70-69.
Then Howell, King’s leading scorer during the year, went to work.
First he hit a jumper, then he was fouled and made 1-of-2 free throws with 2:54 to play for a 72-70 lead. Following a basket by Newman, Howell drove the lane and scored with 55 seconds and then King came out of the pile with a loose ball and fed Howell, who scored on a fastbreak layup for a 76-72 lead with 42.5 seconds left to play.
“Howell he is our money player,” Gosz said. “He’s going to get us a basket. When they went man, we exploited a couple and converted on it.”
Goodman then put in a rebound shot to make it 76-74, before Posey sank 1-of-2 free throws with 4.8 seconds left to play.
Central inbounded the ball and Goodman threw the ball all the way down court to Caleb Mortag, but the throw was high, skimmed off his fingers, and King recovered the ball and sent the Lancers home for the second year in a row.
Gosz explained his team’s strategy at the end.
“Riley is going to be my Player of the Year,” he said of LaChance. “Riley was not going to get that last shot or these kids would have never got back on the bus. Riley was not shooting that shot with four seconds left. We knew that as a fact.”
Goodman finished with 19 points and 20 rebounds, while Mortag had 16 points and 13 rebounds for Central (24-1).
Central had opened the game with a 9-0 run and led 24-12 after one quarter, but King rallied to cut the lead to 37-32 at halftime. Weathers sparked the Generals with nine points in the third quarter as King took a 51-49 lead into the fourth quarter.
"That was as fine as a basketball game that could be played," Gosz said. "Brookfield played well too, two heavyweights going at it trading punches. It was a whale of a game. It's tough to come up empty.
"I can understand what Mark (Adams) is going through right now. I’m not amazed at our guys, they are so competitive, strong, mentally. We’re 22-2 and we’re worthy of it."
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