It took a last-second rebound shot by Germantown's 7-foot Luke Fischer to beat Brookfield Central, 66-64, Saturday in the Lancers' season opener at Germantown.
It was No. 1 ranked Germantown's third game in five days (3-0), while it was the Lancers' first game after four weeks of practice, so despite the heartbreaking loss, Central coach Mark Adams was pleased with some of the things he saw.
"By the way we practiced, the potential was there," Adams said. "Our rotation - of the eight players, five had never seen varsity action. So in that setting, against the No. 1 team in the state, packed house, I didn't know how they would respond."
A loss is something the Warhawks haven't had to deal with in 31 games. Now Germantown coach Steve Showalter will get some badly coveted practice time this week before hosting Grafton in another North Shore tilt Friday.
The Lancers open the Greater Metro Conference season at Menomonee Falls, also at 7:30 p.m.
The Central game was a bit of an anomaly for Germantown in that the Warhawks built a 16-point second-quarter lead, only to have the feisty Lancers, a preseason pick to challenge for the Greater Metro Conference title, roar back, using a big, muscular front-line (6-foot-8 Luke Rasmussen and 6-foot-5 Elijah Goodman) to gain some critical rebounds against the taller Germantown squad, which could not get to the line (only four of seven chances as compared to 12 of 17 for the visiting Lancers).
Germantown jumped out to a 20-8 lead, but Central outscored the Warhawks, 56-46, the rest of the way.
The Warhawks, who led 45-37 at intermission, still held that eight-point advantage after three quarters, 57-49.
But the Lancers then went on a 15-7 run to tie the score at 64, only to see Indiana recruit Fischer grab a rebound and put in the winning basket on the buzzer.
Central only had one brief lead in the second half but Germantown could never put the Lancers away either.
So it came down to a rarely used offensive tactic by the Warhawks after a frenzy of events left them with the ball and 40 seconds to go with the score tied at 64.
"We had the ball virtually the entire last minute and we decided to hold it (for the last shot)," Showalter said. "Dearionte (junior guard Hudson) drove the left side of the lane and threw up an air ball, but Luke (Fischer) grabbed it and threw it up off the backboard off glass and it went in at the buzzer."
Fischer scored 22 points, while Hudson hit four 3-pointers for 12 points and Brian and Lamonte Bearden had 10 points apiece.
A good showing
Lancers junior guard Riley LeChance did not hurt matters for Central with a career-high 32 points as the Lancers packed in a tight zone and the Warhawks, which had won the first two games with a devastating inside-outside combination, could not buy an outside shot in the second half, scoring only nine points in the fourth quarter.
"They killed us on the boards at key times, putbacks and 'and ones,' " said Showalter, "while the basket got smaller and smaller in the second half."
LaChance hit seven of eight free throws with three 3-pointers, while Goodman added 15 points and 14 rebounds and Brad Newton had 9 points and three assists.
"Riley did not have a bad shot the whole game, getting in the flow," Adams said. "He hit from mid-range, he hit 3s, he was seven-of-eight from the free-throw line. He had 20 in the first half.
"They put 6-6, 6-7 guys on him, trying to deny the ball. But we ran some things. He didn't need much of an opening; he's pretty nifty. Then he found other guys. But he looked to score, which is what we told him to."
Germantown's leader was impressed with the Lancers' play.
"Central just played very well," Showalter said. "They also had Riley (LaChance), and we did the best we could against him but we gave him way too many easy ones. And when they (the Lancers) got after the boards, that made it difficult for us to get out and run."
Adams praised the play of Terry Wallen, Caleb Mortag, Gunnar Malensek, Peter Mattiacci and Newman, who were playing their first varsity game. It was Newman who hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at the end.
"It's important to make sure no one outworks us," Adams said. "They set the bar high - the bar for every game we play, not just against Germantown."
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