Falls boys want to be top dogs in conference
Basketball team hasn't earned title since early 1990s
Menomonee Falls — It's been a while since the final days of the old Braveland Conference when two-time NOW Newspapers Player of the Year Brad Christianson was patrolling the lane that the Menomonee Falls boys basketball team last tasted a conference title.
1993, to be precise.
But based on the wicked-fast start the Indians have gotten off to in Greater Metro Conference play this winter, coach Ben Siebert's team can start seriously thinking about another league title.
Falls ran its conference record to 5-0 with dominating efforts over Brookfield East (73-38) and West Allis Central (66-35) last week. The Indians have won their five league contests by an average of 26 points a game (66.4-40.4) and are 8-3 overall.
"Overconfidence? No, I don't think that's going to be an issue," said Siebert. "It's been so long since we won conference that we're focused on winning every game."
Moving forward after losses
The two wins last week also eased the hangover the Indians had from their two frustrating losses in the WBBY Shootout at the Al McGuire Center over the holidays.
Siebert said the two close defeats at the hands of state powers Arrowhead and Catholic Memorial injured little more than the pride of his team.
"We obviously didn't do what we wanted to there," he said, "but it did not hurt our long-term goals at all. I had a chance to talk to the captains (John Cording, Conor Cassidy and Jonathan Phillips) and they know we didn't do well, but we're focused on moving forward."
Falls will visit traditional state power Wauwatosa East (3-2, 5-7) for a 7:30 p.m. tilt Friday. Last year, while the Indians were surging, the Red Raiders rained on their parade handing Falls two double digit defeats.
East has struggled a bit in a rebuilding year, but has won its last three games, including two over West Allis Hale and Central.
"They're playing well right now," said Siebert, "but they've been top dogs for some time right now, and I think we're ready to take that honor from them."
And the Indians proved their readiness emphatically last week. Against Brookfield East on Jan. 5 (1-4, 3-8), Falls blistered the Spartans with a 21-6 first quarter and were ahead by a 43-18 advantage at the half. A total of 10 players scored led by Adam Rubatt with 18 points (four 3-pointers).
J.P. Tokoto added 10 while C.J. Malone had nine and Phillips and Max Poeske tossed in eight apiece.
"I also thought that Jalen Ramey had an excellent floor game," said Siebert.
Turning up the 'D'
Against a resurgent Central squad (2-3, 7-5), the Indians stumbled out of the gate, falling behind 15-10 at the quarter against their hosts, but then they started to find their footing, gaining a 29-27 halftime lead.
And in the second half, the Indians turned in a tour de' force defensive effort, blanking the Bulldogs, 16-0, in the third quarter to take firm control and then burying them 21-8 in the final stanza.
"We were getting things out of our press," said Siebert, "but it was really our half-court defense that was spectacular."
Tokoto led nine scorers with 21 as Malone had 10 and Phillips and Cassidy tossed in eight apiece.
- Steven L. Tietz
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