Sussex - Two early fouls on Hamilton senior point guard Mark Gryszkiewicz didn't stop the Chargers from winning a challenging road assignment Nov. 29 at Waukesha Catholic Memorial.
The Chargers remained unbeaten with a 65-58 nonconference victory against the Crusaders, one of the favored teams in the Classic 8 Conference this season.
"Mark's been playing a lot of minutes, running the team and he was out for a while in foul trouble, but came back in and made some clutch free throws," Hamilton head boys basketball coach Andy Cerroni said.
Others stepped in to play contributor roles, including junior Brady Ellingson, the team's reserve point guard, senior Tony Gumina, senior Aaron Konop and junior Brett Buehler.
Gumina scored 18 points and pulled in five rebounds in what Cerroni called an excellent all-around game for the team's inside presence. Ellingson handled the ball a great deal, grabbed six rebounds and still found time to score 23 points.
Buehler did a "wonderful job" off the bench, according to Cerroni, logging 18 minutes for the winners, and Konop was another player near the basket showing force defensively.
"This was a really good game against a really good team," Cerroni said. "They were 7 for 8 on threes in the first half. At that point we felt pretty good only being down by four points (37-33)."
Gryszkiewicz scored seven points and handed out three assists for Hamilton (4-0).
Ty Saben scored 21 points for the Crusaders.
"A lot of guys contributed," Cerroni said. "I think, in the end, we kind of wore them down."
Girls crush Watertown
The Hamilton's girls basketball team started with a 26-4 edge after one quarter and never looked back, routing perennially strong Watertown on Nov. 29, 74-24. Twelve players found the scoring column as Hamilton improved to 3-0.
"We started with our pressure defense; everything on our team starts with our defense," coach Dan Carey said. "We pressured every pass, every dribble, every shot. I liked their composure. You never know in the home opener; there's lots of excitement, especially for young players. To borrow a baseball analogy, we want to hit singles, we're not trying to hit home runs every possession."
Huge board advantage
There were a lot of singles, and even more rebounds, a category in which Hamilton held a resounding 46-15 advantage.
"That's an effort stat," Carey said. "No matter who you're playing, no matter the situation, if you can outrebound a team by that much, it shows you're playing hard."
Hamilton also led the steals category, 22-3. Mackenzie Latt finished with 14 points, pacing three players in double figures. Jenny Shernell added 13, and the team's two reserve posts, Tristen Hayes and Sarah Thompson, combined for 13 points.
"I was really impressed with Tristen; she was composed, keeping it simple," Carey said. "You always know what you're going to get with her defensively, but I was really impressed with her offense. Sarah played with a lot of composure, too, and she went 3 for 4 at the free-throw line, and Tristen went 2 for 2."
Hamilton's close victory over Valders highlighted a trip north to the Kaukauna Duals, though the Chargers wrestling unit finished 1-4 in the six-team gathering.
Nick Knoebel, the team's lone returning state qualifier among the school-record six Chargers traveling to Madison last year, was dominant in winning five matches. He won by major decision in Hamilton's 67-10 loss to Stevens Point, won again by major in a 60-19 loss to Ashwaubenon, and he recorded his team's lone win, once again by major decision, in a 76-4 setback against Kaukauna.
Pins key to victory
Knoebel also registered a pin in a 54-21 loss to Franklin, and his pin was a huge boost in a 37-35 win over Valders. Knoebel recorded the fall in 1:04, though Michael Leibham (182) delivered the knockout blow at 182 pounds with his pin in 0:25. Ethan Beaudry was awarded a win via forfeit at 195, and with no wrestlers for either team at 285, the Chargers mathematically claimed victory.
Other pins in that match came from Vince Pascale and Cody Buer at 113 and 132. Brett Neverman (120) and Frank Boyle (126) both won their matches, as well.
Neverman also won via pin in two other matches and finished 3-2. Boyle and Buer finished with two wins, their first on the varsity, and Jake Macaluso won his first varsity match, as well. Additional wins went to Gino Senymanola and John Abel.
"Kaukauna is ranked third in the preseason and looked impressive," coach Doug Pulvermacher said of the meet-champion Ghosts.
The Chargers open Greater Metro Conference wrestling with a battle Thursday at home against Marquette.
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