Charger boys big first quarter enough to put an end to Indians' season, 70-54
Falls plays last game without Ramey
Twice during the regular season, Hamilton archrival Menomonee Falls came close to an upset, but Hamilton wasn't in the upsetting mood in the area rivals' WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal Friday.
The Chargers successfully turned away Menomonee Falls, 70-54, giving Hamilton (21-2) a three-game sweep on the Indians (7-16) for the season.
In the early stages of Friday's meeting, the Chargers were up 5-4, but scored the next 15 points to take a 20-4 lead after eight minutes of play. During the rally, field goals from Austin Kendziorski, Mark Gryszkiewicz, Brett Buehler and Brady Ellingson brought the large Hamilton contingency to their feet.
Menomonee Falls began the second quarter with a 15-foot jump shot by Juwan McCloud, but a field goal by Aaron Konop off a rebound gave the Chargers a 25-8 advantage.
Jason Precia had a rebound-basket for the Indians, cutting Hamilton's lead to 10 points at 27-17, but Hamilton walked into the locker room at halftime up by 13 points, 34-21.
The Indians got the lead under double digits, 38-30, on back-to-back 3-pointers from McCloud midway through the third quarter, but a 3-pointer from Ellingson silenced the Menomonee Falls faithful with 4:50 to play in the period.
Then Ellingson scored right under the basket with 1:20 remaining in the third quarter, a field goal that put Hamilton in front, 53-36.
With 5:25 to play in the game, the Chargers enjoyed their biggest lead, 64-39, thanks to a pair of on-target passes from Drew Patterson to Jake Knueppel.
"Juwan made two in a row, and if he gets that third one to go down, it's a 5-point game, but they come down and answered after that miss," Menomonee Falls boys basketball coach Dan Leffel said. "That was kind of the straw that broke the camel's back at that point, but I really loved the way my kids kept on fighting. That's the thing I'm going to remember about this group. Tonight we went up against a Sussex team that's extremely well-coached and is very deep."
Falls leading scorer out
The Indians played without Brandon Ramey, the team's leading scorer, for unspecified reasons.
"When you take your leading scorer out, it really makes it tough. Someone else has to step up and score and its tough enough already against a talented team like Hamilton," Leffel said.
The Chargers got 20 points from Ellingson. Tony Gumina had 11 points, Gryszkiewicz finished with 9 points and five assists and Knueppel finished the game with 8 points and seven rebounds.
"Menomonee Falls just never goes away," Hamilton head coach Andy Cerroni said. "I think our press helped us tonight. They got it down to eight but then had a little push in the third quarter. We struggled somewhat with foul trouble, but we were able to overcome it."
The Indians got 14 points from McCloud. Precia had 13 points, and Jerry Murphy finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. Devon Nauer and Anthony Russo each tossed in 6 points for the visitors.
"We've been working hard all year in practice, and I think this week was our best week of practice," Knueppel said. "Everybody played well. We shot the ball well and our defense was much better than the last time we played the Falls. This atmosphere was awesome tonight. I can't say enough about how much fun it is to play in front of a big home crowd like this. Especially when it's against your rival."
"Being the higher seed, you've always got a little added pressure on you," Cerroni said. "I know; I've been on the other side of games like this. I was glad to see our guys work through it."
Hamilton went on to be upset by area rival Arrowhead in the regional final the following night.
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