Playing against some of the area's best teams early on this season, the Hamilton boys basketball team has been extremely competitive. It just hasn't been able to come up with that last-second shot needed to celebrate even more.
The Chargers lost against Milwaukee Hamilton to begin the season, 41-39, and fell by one point against Waukesha Catholic Memorial last month, 56-55. On Friday, the Chargers fell at West Allis Central, 48-45. Those three teams began the week collectively 11-5.
"We've been right there and had shots to win these games," Hamilton head boys basketball coach Andy Cerroni said. "On Friday, we had a good look at a three by (senior) Brandon Hagenow. It was an open look that just didn't go down. In that situation, that's all you can ask for."
The game was a see-saw battle, featuring seven lead changes. At the half, Hamilton trailed, 24-22, but grabbed a 34-33 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
"We had a good third quarter and could have been up a few more with a few made shots," Cerroni said.
Brady Ellingson scored 14 points and had four rebounds for the Chargers. Austin Kendziorski and Hagenow each scored 8 points. Hagenow had six rebounds, and Jake Knueppel ended up with 6 points. Tony Gumina had 5 points and six rebounds.
"I really thought we did an excellent job rebounding against a very athletic team," Cerroni said. "They only had four offensive rebounds for the game."
Hamilton went 12 for 14 from the free throw line on Friday. On Saturday, the Bulldogs (3-2) scored 68 points against Nicolet.
"Our defensive effort was there all night long, and it's just a matter of finishing off games for us," Cerroni said. "I'm pleased with the consistent effort of the entire team."
Hamilton returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Friday with another Greater Metro Conference game at Wauwatosa East.
Wrestlers enjoy strong showing
The Hamilton wrestling team finished 4-1 at the Hartford Duals, falling only to the host school, 48-25.
The Chargers took down Germantown (45-36), Kenosha Tremper (39-36), Valders (37-30) and Waukesha North (52-25).
The Chargers fell to Valders at the Kaukauna Duals earlier this year. Tremper came into the year ranked No. 7 in the state by Crossface Magazine among Division 1 programs, while Hartford was ninth and Germantown received honorable mention.
Mike Konvalinka stayed unbeaten on the year at 220 pounds, now at 11-0 after a 5-0 day. Joining him with perfect records at Hartford were Brett Neverman at 113 and Bob Holzem at 145. Holzem improved to 10-1 on the year, and Neverman upgraded to 9-2.
Kevin DuVall, Loren Hesselgrave, Phil Flegner and Nick Knoebel all went 4-1. Vince Pascale and Tyler Hoell both got their first career varsity wins.
In Greater Metro Conference fare Dec. 8, Hamilton defeated Milwaukee Marquette, 49-18. Winners were Thomas Xiong, DuVall, Hesselgrave, Gino Senymanola, Holzem, Knoebel, Ben Hollnagel, Konvalinka and Mike Liebham, who staged his first career varsity victory.
Hesselgrave, Flegner, DuVall and Knoebel all have 8-3 records after the season's early action.
The Hamilton JV wrestling team competed at Port Washington over the weekend, and freshmen Ryan Hernandez and Mike Fryda emerged with bracket championships.
Girls cruise past Central
Hamilton was "totally locked in defensively," according to coach Dan Carey, and the girls basketball team scored a 54-39 win over West Allis Central in a smooth opener to the Greater Metro Conference season.
"We had a very specific game plan that we knew we needed to execute to have a chance," Carey said. "They have two really hard players to guard, and our kids executed it to perfection. They didn't take a defensive possession off. It was fun to watch my team play that way."
Mehryn Kraker, a University of Wisconsin-Green Bay recruit, and Claire Hankins still managed to accumulate 26 of the team's 39 points, but Hamilton built a 15-point lead at halftime. The Bulldogs committed 28 turnovers to Hamilton's 18.
Central fell to 0-4 but has played a bruising early-season schedule, including close losses to Arrowhead and Oak Creek.
The Chargers (3-0, 1-0 in GMC) hit an early speed bump when forward Mackenzie Latt (17 points) picked up two fouls in the first two possessions and missed the remainder of the first quarter, and the Bulldogs took a 5-0 lead. Robyn Elliott and Rachel Elliott took the reins of defending Kraker, and Hamilton was still able to go on a 20-2 run missing one of its staples on the floor.
"It was an encouraging sign for our team that we're going to have some offensive scoring punch; it bodes well for the future," Carey said.
Sussex Hamilton's 49-21 win over Milwaukee Hamilton last Tuesday, Dec. 6, looked just as convincing on paper, but Carey said his team didn't have that same defensive fire.
"It was kind of a blessing in disguise," Carey said. "It was a positive wake up call, and it's good to get those in wins. It really alarmed our players of the progress we have to make defensively. We had a lot of breakdowns against them. It got their antennas up."
Latt finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds along with 7 assists, 5 steals and 9 deflections. Hannah Menzia and Jenny Shernell both had nine. Shernell also had seven rebounds, and Menzia handed out 5 assists.
Shernell also had 13 points and 8 rebounds against WAC, and Menzia added 9 points, 7 assists and 5 steals. Danielle Latt had six boards and three steals.
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