Even Sussex Hamilton boys basketball coach Andy Cerroni admits that his team is not very special this year with the exception of the brilliant senior forward Brady Ellingson.
But what he does have is a number of players who will put in special efforts, especially on the defensive end.
The Chargers used that kind of tenacity to throw a very serious scare into top-ranked in the state Brookfield Central last Friday and then used it again Monday night to great effect in throttling archrival Menomonee Falls, 56-27, on the Indians' home court.
It was the lowest point total allowed by Hamilton this season.
"We've been this way all season long," said Cerroni of the Chargers' tenacious half-court man-to-man defense. "With the kids we've got, that's the way we have to play. We have the defense and on offense we have guys who can take care of the ball."
For Indian coach Ben Farley, it was the latest in a string of rough offensive efforts, some of which the Indians have been able to overcome and earn wins, and others like tonight's debacle.
"We're just having a hard time scoring the basketball lately," Farley said. "We were down 10 or 11 at the half (26-15 to be precise) and one of the Refs said it best 'You hit your lay-ups and you may tied.'
"We just have to get back to the idea that 'The simple wins.'"
In short, do the basics, like the Chargers did in improving to 5-3 in Greater Metro Conference and 9-6 overall, while the Indians fell to 5-3 and 9-7, respectively.
Hamilton broke out to a 4-0 lead and never trailed in the contest. In fact, the game was only at one possession three times, 4-2, and 9-6 in the first quarter and 15-12 in the second period.
After that last time, Ellingson hit a free throw line jumper and sophomore guard Jacob Hartung hit the second of two 3-pointers he connected on in the quarter.
After Falls' Jason Precia notched a hoop at the 1:45 mark to make it 20-14, the Chargers in effect put the game away in the next 40 seconds as Ellingson, he of the pure, effortless stroke, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to boost the margin to 26-14.
Farley said he wanted to emphasize the importance of the first four minutes of the third quarter, instead it was the Chargers who got the message, as Ellingson hit a baseline jumper and a 3-pointer from the key to to make it 31-15 less than two minutes in.
Jerry Murphy then knocked down a shot for Falls at the 5:36 point of the third. Those would be the only points of the session for the Indians as Hamilton scored the final 12 points of the quarter to put the game away at 43-17.
"We really wanted to limit their second shot opportunities and we didn't want to put them at the line (only four of 11 for Falls for the game)," said Cerroni. "We succeeded on both ends. We got a steal and a bucket right away and then that 3 (both from Ellingson)."
After that, the most interesting thing about the game were the taunts and the counter-taunts of the respective student sections, each trying to more ironic than the other.
"That's what rivalries are all about," said Cerroni. "Though we tried not to get too caught up in all that."
Hamilton finished with eight 3-pointers on the night with five different players hitting at least one each, while the Falls only got one long-range hit, that from Eric Clough in the final minute.
"We just couldn't score," said Farley. "They're just too solid defensively. We did a few things all right in the first half, but then we started to have problems and then they started to hit a few shots."
Murphy had six points and Anthony Russo five in the meager Falls offensive effort. Meanwhile, Hamilton was led by Ellingson with 19, while Jacob Rink and Hartung had six each.
The game was a make-up of last Tuesday's cold day postponement.
"It was a Monday night, we could have been a little off. but it was a Falls-Hamilton game and we had to do what we had to do," said Cerroni. "I tell you I didn't sleep well last night. Ben (Farley) is doing a great job out there for Falls and has got them working hard.
"I was expecting a tremendous match. We just played well tonight."
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Menomonee Falls baseball team still in GMC hunt despite Marquette loss
- Baseball: North steals game from league leader West
- Soccer would do well to eliminate "stoppage time"
- More injuries still being managed by Menomonee Falls baseball team
- Controversy surrounds Menomonee Falls' state soccer debut
- Menomonee Falls girls lose wild state soccer semifinal, 4-3
- Menomonee Falls girls soccer team's state berth built on years of effort
- Menomonee Falls baseball team still competitive despite injury
- 'Make 'em believe': Menomonee Falls girls soccer team earns state berth
- Menomonee Falls girls soccer team earns first state berth with OT win