Warhawk guards jump-start big run as Germantown beats Falls
Indians put up fight despite being down two starters
The unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Germantown boys basketball team was having a difficult time fending off winless, but feisty border rival Menomonee Falls on Saturday night through about a quarter-and-a-half.
Falls held the ball for long possessions and packed it in tight on 7-0 all-state center Luke Fischer making it difficult for him to get touches.
But then Germantown became Germantown as the Warhawks used their surprisingly deep guard line to break open a 23-15 game with a second-stanza closing 19-2 outburst that ended any residual drama, as the 7-0 Warhawks rolled past the 0-6 Indians, 87-44.
"We can get these good outcomes," Germantown coach Steve Showalter said, "when we put on runs like that. When we capitalize on forcing turnovers and score six, eight, 10, 12 points in a row we can make life easier on ourselves. When we don't, we struggle."
The victory was the defending WIAA state champions' 35th win in a row.
Indians good until …
Indians coach Dan Leffel said he was very happy with his team's effort up to the moment that the Germantown run started.
"Those last three-four minutes of the second quarter really hurt us," he said. "We had a couple of minutes with some bad turnovers because we played a little soft. ... We gave up about 15 more points than we had to because we didn't play sound in that time.
"And that makes it really hard, because in the first place you have to play just about a perfect game to beat these guys."
The lead never dropped below 25 in the second half as Germantown's all-junior guard line, thought to be a liability this season, made life heck for Falls, frequently stripping and stealing the ball leading to easy fast breaks. Point guard LaMonte Bearden (13 points) and his brother, Brian, (12) were the key causes of the Indians headaches.
"I expect LaMonte to lead this team and he had a great game tonight," Showalter said. "He got his hands on everything with tips and steals. I'd just like him to be a little more serious.
"And Brian is not a true point or shooting guard, but he does a little bit of everything and does anything he can to help his team win."
LaMonte Bearden starts with Showalter's son, Jake, who is the Warhawks' shooting guard. Jake broke out of a mini-slump with a game-high 22 points, including four 3-pointers. Another junior, Dearionte Hudson, comes in at about the same time Brian Bearden does. He contributed two 3-pointers this night.
"Their guards have really quick hands and made it difficult on us all night," Leffel said.
Déjà vu in the backcourt
It's a sign of progress, noted coach Showalter.
"Two years ago, when we had Zak (Showalter), Josh (Mongan) and Malcolm (Bowers), I thought we had the best guards in the state," Showalter said. "I thought the same last year when we had Zak, Josh and Zack Kumbier. This bunch, with (senior) Jordan Kuczynski working his way in there, is trying to reach that point.
"They have big shoes to fill, but they are working hard."
Big man in the middle
Fischer also contributed 16 points and was a major factor defensively, swatting away Falls' fast break attempts on back-to-back possessions at the end of the third quarter.
The Indians, who were down two starters this game due to various circumstances, were led by Brandon Ramey with 17 points, including four 3-pointers, while freshman Juwan McCloud had nine.
"We tried to slow them down and spread them out," Leffel said, "and we got some high percentage shots early, but we just didn't knock them down. I don't think the score represented how well we played at times, but simply put, they (the Warhawks) are really that good.
"I wouldn't be surprised if they won another state championship."
But coach Showalter knows there is a lot of work to be done before that kind of lofty goal can happen.
"There are teams that are going to sit back in a zone against us and we're going to have to get better against that kind of defense," he said. "We'll continue to work on that. It's the kind of situation where our depth can really come into play."
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