GERMANTOWN BOYS SECTIONAL PREVIEW
Back in December, the Warhawks buried Arrowhead 100-47 at the WBBY Shooutout at Concordia. Arrowhead (20-4) has since righted itself and claimed a share of the Classic 8 Conference title and upset Greater Metro champion Sussex Hamilton in regional final play Saturday.
But can they stand in against Germantown? Odds are not in their favor in the WIAA sectional semifinal game slated for 7 p.m. Feb. 28 at Waukesha West. Germantown has now won 52 games in a row and 76 out of its last 78 and has moved up to second nationally in a poll by MaxPreps (23rd on the ESPN list).
Their defense is now so tight (44.5 points per game) that James Naismith can take long naps between opponents' hoops while watching on his ESPN channel in heaven. But still, coach Steve Showalter knows that Arrowhead will be motivated, and after Arrowhead is likely the Warhawks' fourth date with powerful De Pere in the last three years in the WIAA sectional final tentatively slated for 1 p.m. March 2 at Homestead.
The De Pere coach was at the regional final win over Homestead on Saturday.
(Both the semifinal and final might be moved pending ticket demand; watch GermantownNOW.com for details.)
If the Warhawks are successful this weekend, they will get a chance at defending their WIAA State Division 1 title, March 8 and 9 in Madison.
'I know I'm going to be quite the bear over the next few days,' said head coach Steve Showalter following the regional final win over Homestead, 'because I want the kids solidly focused (on Arrowhead). … Right now, I'm happy with our defense and our effort. There are just a few things that we have to tidy up for what's to come.'
It was a quiet effort for both senior 195-pounder Steve Asmondy and junior Hunter Higginbotham in the WIAA State Tournament in Madison last weekend as both lost first-round matches.
'Steven (38-11) wrestled well in his first WIAA state tournament,' said coach Casey Gabrielson. 'He went in ranked 14th and finished 12th. He drew the eventual state champion (Evan Peissig of Menomonie) in the first round. He then had to wrestle the kid who took third overall in the backside (Kyle Smith of Franklin) who had beaten him earlier in the year at the Stech (tourney).
'It was a bad draw from the start … but he wrestled well. He had huge growth over the four years … going from one win on JV his freshman year to almost 40 wins on varsity and a state qualifier his senior year is pretty sweet.'
For Higginbotham, the event was a disappointment.
'Hunter did not have the tournament he expected,' said Gabrielson. 'He was upset in the first round (by a wrestler from Menasha) and never got another chance.
'After looking at the 220 and 285 brackets, Hunter beat about a third of the field this year that got further than him at the state tournament. Hunter is a better wrestler than those kids and I truly felt he should have been a placewinner. … It was unfortunate that he did not have his best day. At least he has another year to mentally and physically prepare for the gold next year.'
GERMANTOWN GIRLS BASKETBALL
The Warhawks ended their regular season on a high note, with a 72-50 rout of Homestead on Feb. 21.
They did that by going from virtually zero miles an hour in the first quarter (trailing 8-5) to 100 miles an hour by the end of the game (outscoring the Highlanders 30-20 in the fourth period).
'It was a rough start, said Warhawks coach Matt Stuve. 'It was one of those things that the train took awhile to get going, but once it did, nothing could get in the way.'
The victory allowed the Warhawks to finish in a tie for second in the final North Shore standings at 10-4. They finished with an overall mark of 17-5 and with a six-game winning streak.
They earned the third seed in their half of the WIAA sectional bracket and will host sixth-seeded Waukesha South at 7 p.m. March 1 in a regional semifinal. If they win, they will advance to a regional final on March 2 likely at second-seed Waukesha West.
'We were hoping to get the two seed, but it didn't quite work out,' said Stuve. 'I think we're going in (to the playoffs) in a good frame of mind.'
After the rough start, Germantown took a 22-19 lead at the break against Homestead and never looked back. A total of 12 people scored led by Bridget Kelly with 16 points while Taylor Higginbotham had 12 (and seven rebounds), Erika Berry 11 and Lauren Grotjahn 10.
Paige Groth had three points, four assists and six steals and Miska Cantley three assists and three steals. Stuve said that on the fastbreak, Groth and Kelly have a great sense of communication.
MENOMONEE FALLS GIRLS BASKETBALL
The Indians ended their season on a solid note, winning a messy 67-54 decision over Brookfield East in their regular season closer Feb. 21.
With the win, the Indians finished at 8-6 in Greater Metro Conference play and 13-9 overall. Falls earned the fifth seed in its WIAA sectional bracket and will visit fourth-seeded Arrowhead in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. March 1. If they advance, they will likely visit Greater Metro Conference champion Sussex Hamilton on March 2 in a regional final.
Falls has lost twice to Hamilton already this season.
Falls took a 34-24 halftime lead on East, but needed a 14-7 effort in the fourth quarter to finally put away the pesky Spartans. It was a physical game that featured a combined 69 free throw attempts. The Indians hurt themselves by hitting only 14-of-30 tries from the line on the night.
Mikayla Robertson had 17 points and five assists for the Indians while Amber Bullock had 15, Erin Crownover 16 and Monica Carlson eight.