Ellingson delivers signature performance
If you weren't at Kettle Moraine High School on March 1, you missed it. Brady Ellingson didn't.
With the score tied 46-46 and 10 seconds remaining in the WIAA Division 1 regional final between KM and Sussex Hamilton, Ellingson started to make his move after receiving a pass from Jacob Hartung. Ellingson had the undivided attention of two Kettle Moraine defenders, senior leaders Paul Miller and Mitchell Oleson. Weaving left outside the 3-point line, just in front of the Hamilton bench, he leaned into a 3-pointer that sank as the buzzer sounded.
Sixth-seeded Hamilton was ecstatic, defeating the No. 2-seeded Classic 8 Conference champion Lasers, 49-46. Ellingson scored 38 of his team's 49.
"Coach Cerroni told me I'm getting the ball, and I did," Ellingson said. "I prayed it would go in, and it did. Earlier in the season against Brookfield Central, I passed on the last shot, but coach told me that couldn't happen again."
The Chargers wound up falling to Brookfield Central in overtime, the state's No. 1 ranked team and 24-0 after another win Saturday. Instead, Hamilton has made its biggest waves in the playoffs with back-to-back upsets. HHS knocked off Homestead on Friday, when Ellingson scored 29 points.
"We were in this situation against Brookfield Central ... Brady came down, beat his guy and passed up on a shot," Cerroni said. "We lost in overtime. To be honest, we talked after that, and we both agreed he wouldn't pass in that situation again. Brady's special."
Straight-up team defense by Hamilton kept Kettle Moraine's high octane running game in check for the most part.
"Tonight we stressed being strong with the ball, and defensively I thought it was our whole team collectively against a very talented Kettle Moraine team," Hamilton assistant coach Tony Resch said.
Ellingson went to the free throw line only twice, making both of Hamilton's attempts from the charity stripe in the entire game. Kettle Moraine's Paul Miller, who led his team with 25 points, went 11 of 12 from the free-throw line by himself.
Hartung scored 4 points for the Chargers to serve as the team's second-leading scorer. Up next is a matchup against top-seeded Germantown at Whitefish Bay on Thursday.
Great players make great plays, and the Iowa recruit Ellingson has done this before.
"We did everything right," Kettle Moraine coach Brad Bestor said. "It came down to one possession, and give Hamilton all the credit, they were able to run a lot of clock before that shot. I just wished we could have had another chance to make a big play of our own."
Bestor said he was really proud of his players, especially the seniors.
"We can't afford to dwell on this game; we've got to remember the other 23 games, and all we've accomplished this season," Bestor said. "I'm extremely proud of all of them. The sad part is I won't be able to coach them again. Right now that hurts."
Oleson scored 11 points for Kettle Moraine (21-3). Mitch Pfeifer added 6 points for the Lasers.
"Ellingson is a star. Iowa has a heck of a player coming," Kettle Moraine assistant coach Mike Serath said. "What else could we do on that last shot? We got two guys right in his face and he still drilled it."
The Chargers (17-7) were seeded seventh two years ago when they downed second-seeded Arrowhead in the regional final, 65-63, also on a buzzer beater by Jake Knueppel. Ellingson scored 22 points in the second half and his 25-foot 3-pointer with 7.4 seconds left tied the game.
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