Germantown - Whitefish Bay assistant basketball coach Jim Smallins knows all about terrifying, heart-in-your throat, head-shaking and what-in-the-name-of-heck-can-we do-against-these-guys kind of teams.
After all, he coached a couple of them to WIAA state titles back in 1966 and 1967 during the halcyon days of the high-powered Milwaukee Lincoln program. Those teams could race up and down the court and score at will according to those of a certain age with long memories.
Lincoln is long-gone as an institution, but the memory of its powerful basketball program remains intact in the ferocious, intense man pressure that the Germantown boys are imposing on everyone they meet this season.
Good or bad or in-between, the results are the same: no one can stand in against the Warhawks (8-0 in the North Shore and 16-0 overall) for long, and the Blue Dukes, who entered Friday night's game with a respectable 9-4 overall mark (5-2 in the North Shore), were just the latest speed-bump.
The top-ranked Germantown squad forced nine first quarter turnovers, hit 14-of-24 shots in the period and generally made a mockery out of any sense of competition by racing out to a 33-4 lead.
The 90-54 final was just a formality.
A different level
When asked respectfully if his Lincoln teams were as fast as these current Warhawks, Smallins just shook his head quietly and said: 'No.'
When he came out of halftime, another Bay assistant, Chris Wentworth, just walked over and said quietly without prompting: 'Wow, you just can't replicate that kind of intensity in practice.
' . . . They are at a whole other level.'
Even Warhawks coach Steve Showalter, who is used to this kind of stuff, was caught up in the moment of that fierce, first-quarter assault.
'It's scary being where we are,' he said, 'but also rewarding, too, knowing how hard these guys have worked. At one moment (in the first period), I just looked over at my (assistants) coaches and said 'This is what it's supposed to look like when it's working.' '
And when 6-11 junior center Luke Fischer returns in two or three weeks from his broken hand, what will the Warhawks do?
Likely just keep on running.
'I can't wait,' Fischer chuckled afterward, knowing how much fun he's missing out on the court.
Blue Dukes coach Kevin Lazovik, who led the Blue Dukes to an impressive WIAA State D2 championship last season, was understandably frustrated, knowing that he had thrown in everything but the kitchen sink in trying to prepare for the high-intensity attack of Germantown for the second time this season.
But he also knew that he was facing a-once-in-a-lifetime type of opponent here.
'They're a tremendous team,' he said, 'and you really can't experience that intensity until you get out on the court and face it. With Luke (Fischer) out, they haven't skipped a beat and that's a credit to coach Showalter and his staff.
' . . . But obviously, I wanted to have done a better job of preparing my guys to face that kind of pressure.'
The lead never dropped below 25.
Showalter leads the way
The Warhawks were led by Zak Showalter who had 31 points, the last of which came on a spectacular alley-oop pass dunk at the end of the third quarter, with the assist going to little brother Jake. It was one of five dunks on the night for Zak Showalter.
Center Dan Studer added 12, while Jake Showalter (11) and Evan Wesenberg (10) each reached double figures coming off the bench. Germantown played Grafton on Tuesday and is at Cedarburg on Friday.
Kelin Johnson had 22 for Bay while Will Davis added 10.
Studer said that only the fast survive in an average Warhawks' practice.
'In the beginning (of each practice) we have a really long warm-up,' he said, 'so that lets us get to full speed gradually, and then we play some really intense 20-point games after that.
'It is probably a little faster in games because we get the adrenaline going. With our deep bench, it makes it easier for us to run like that, because we have so many guys who can fill in spots.'
And as a result, give a spot on impression of a team that wants to win a state championship.