Oppressive defense lifts Chargers to first place
Hamilton's boys basketball team entered Tuesday's meeting with Brookfield Central without a loss, but they didn't yet have control of the Greater Metro Conference. And now they do.
The Chargers (12-0) seized first place with a 41-30 win at Hamilton, upping their league mark to 6-0 while Central fell to 5-1.
The first half was a barnburner, as both teams went on runs. Trailing 2-0, Central scored nine points in a row as Elijah Goodman put in a rebound, Brad Newman hit a jumper, Goodman put in a rebound and Newman countered with a 3-pointer for a 9-2 lead with 5 minutes, 7 seconds left in the first quarter.
After each team exchanged a basket, Brady Ellingson nailed a 3-pointer, Tony Gumina hit a jumper and scored on a fastbreak and Ellingson hit a three on the buzzer to give the Chargers a 14-11 first-quarter lead.
Hamilton went up 19-16 to start the second quarter, but Central went on its last run of the night to take a 23-19 lead. For the next 12:40 - until LaChance hit a baseline jumper with 5:37 to go - the Lancers went without a basket.
"Give them credit, their defense was very tough," Central coach Mark Adams said. "It's a perfect example of win as a team, lose as a team. We didn't play well, and we didn't have any specific player play well either.
"For whatever reason we came out and weren't mentally sharp," he said. "That sometimes is what makes a difference in a game like this. Physically we're a pretty good matchup, but mentally that's what made the difference."
Ellingson took over in the second half with 15 points, exploding for 11 in the fourth period, while LaChance had all six of Central's points. Seven points in a half won't win many games.
"We feel if we hold a team under 50 we should win, and we did that tonight but we just couldn't score," Adams said.
Hamilton coach Andy Cerroni was pleased with his team's defense.
"We did a good job of not giving Riley shots in their offense," he said. "We did a good job of pressuring him. He played the whole game. He didn't turn the ball over, but he had to work for everything he had. He had a little bit of fatigue going; it's part of what we do.
"We played a lot of kids early. We like to wear people out. But against that 1-3-1 defense, you have to be patient. In the first half, we didn't have the patience we had in the second half."
Goodman had nine boards and six points, but he was blanked after the first quarter and had two rebounds in the second half.
"We handled them on the boards in the second half," Cerroni said. "I challenged them at halftime and they came through."
Ellingson finished with 24 points, and Gumina had 12.
Milwaukee Languages 25
The Chargers crushed Milwaukee School of Languages on Saturday and moved to 13-0, with Ellingson (12 points), Jake Knueppel (12), Drew Patterson (10) and Gumina (10) all hitting double figures.
The Chargers led 26-4 after the first quarter and 48-12 at halftime.
Hamilton shot 66 percent for the game, canning 36 of 55 shots. Hamilton also handed out 22 assists, with three apiece from Mitch Geszvain, Knueppel and Gumina.
Aaron Konop hauled in a team-best six rebounds.
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