Like everyone other team that has taken on the unbeaten and top-ranked Germantown boys basketball team this past month, border rival Menomonee Falls set up breakwalls, heaved sandbag after sandbag on top of one another to stem the tide, and tried to shove their fingers into the gapping holes that were being punched through their dike by the relentless Warhawk attack.
To no avail, like everyone else, the Indians (1-5) simply could not keep up as Zak Showalter, Luke Fischer and company simply launched one wave of attack higher than the next as Germantown flooded every Indian hope in a 99-62 decision at Homestead Saturday night.
"I think we made our statement," said the senior guard Showalter, who 31 points, two dunks and countless assists. "....We've been playing together since fifth grade and know each other so well now. That is such a big aspect to what we can do."
Which is so much and why the Warhawks were easily able to improve to 7-0 overall, include six games in a hectic last two weeks.
And for veteran coach and Zak's father Steve Showalter, it didn't even matter so much that this was a border battle with all its attendent distractions, and which was played before a big and noisy crowd in the Homestead Fieldhouse.
"We always have a lot of incentive to play well," he said. "We do that everytime we step out onto the court. But we did have good reasons to play hard tonight. One, is that it was Falls and two, it was the next game up. Whether it's Cedarburg or Grafton (opponents whom the Warhawks dispatched earlier in the week) or Falls on Saturday, we always want to play as hard as we can."
"It's just another day and we give everything we can to it."
It doesn't hurt that the Warhawks have an almost unnatural cohesion for a high school team, as they force turnovers on a regular basis, almost always get out on a break and usually have an imagninative and entertaining finish at the end of it.
The passes always seem to find the right target and the players on the receiving end always seem to know what to do with the ball.
Take the moments early in the third quarter when this game stopped becoming a competitive contest and instead became a pure entertainment with absolutely no doubt in its outcome.
Falls got back-to-back baskets from Brandon Ramey and superstar J.P. Tokoto to cut the margin to 48-34, but as easy as turning the ignition in a car, Germantown put the accelerator to the floor and left the game Indians in the dust.
Zak Showalter started it with a simple jumper from the wing and that was followed by a bucket in the post from senior forward Dan Studer.
And in the decisive turn, Zak's little sophomore brother Jake, whom Zak could occasionally be seen playfully rubbing his head after a good play, hit a mile-long three-pointer from the wing and was fouled after the shot, meaning that Germantown would get possession again.
Indian coach Dan Leffel objected just a little too vigorously to the call and picked up a technical foul for his efforts. Zak Showalter hit both free throws on the technical and when the Warhawks took the ball inbounds, Germantown center Fischer, who had 26 points including two dunks of his own, scored on an easy post play.
In short, it was a seven-point play and augmented by Zak Showalter's two free throws seconds later after a Falls turnover, what had been something of an interesting game, was suddenly turned into a 61-36 laugher with 5:17 left in the third.
"They are just everything they're cut out to be and more," said Leffel. "We tried to take away the inside and then they get us outside (eight three-pointers on the night). In short, we tried to get them to shoot lower percentage shots, but they are just deadly."
"The lead hovered around 20 for a half and we kept on trying our best, but they're top-ranked for a reason. So deep, so tall, and then when they go to the bench, they get even bigger. We had a good gameplan, but in the end it was just not enough."
Tokoto had 22 points to lead the Indians.
The guts of the Warhawk team has been playing together since fifth grade and the aforementioned communication is what Coach Showalter has been looking forward to for some time. He said it doesn't make his job perfect, but it does make it easier.
"Our dream is to get to the point where the kids can play without being yelled at or coached," he said. "Look at how loud this place was, they can't hear me. They couldn't hear me at the Al (for sectional play) or the Kohl Center (for state) either."
'They just listen to one another and that comes with the experience these guys have."
Creating a perfect storm of success in their wake.
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- 'Two more wins': Menomonee Falls baseball team heads back to state
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