Brookfield Central took care of the areas in which it thought Marquette was going to attack its defense. But the Lancers still trailed at halftime after being gashed to the basket and on the offensive glass while also committing 11 turnovers.
Once Central took care of its own ailments, Marquette stood no chance.
The Lancers held the Hilltoppers to just 11 second-half points and eliminated their turnovers offensively to pull away for a 53-36 victory on Dec. 13 to move to 2-0 in Greater Metro play.
"Our guys are just buying in, and then it almost just perpetuates itself," Central coach Dan Wandrey said. "Once it gets going, I think they think they are pretty good, and then it happens, and then they are like, 'Wow, we are pretty good and we can really frustrate these guys.' That was really impressive."
With three players 6-foot-6 or taller, Marquette had a clear size advantage over Central. The Lancers anticipated the Hilltoppers trying to go at them with high-low play, ball screens and lobs over the top of the defense.
Instead, Marquette (1-3, 0-2 Greater Metro) came right at the basket. The Hilltoppers got many easy looks and grabbed eight offensive rebounds in the first half. Meanwhile, Central committed 11 turnovers and was only within 25-23 at the break thanks to hitting 8 of its 19 field-goal attempts.
"That's all it was," Wandrey said. "We shot 50-some percent in the first half, but you turn it over 11 times. You cut the turnovers in half and shoot what we did you get four more baskets, and you are up 5 or 6 instead of down 2. Turnovers were big. What I didn't like was the uncharacteristic nature of them. We knew our advantage was to run and get going, but it was like we were rushing instead of playing fast."
Andres Peralta-Werns was fouled on a 3-point attempt early in the second half and connected on all three free throws, while Cole Nau hit a pair of 3-pointers to spark a 19-4 run that gave Central a 42-29 advantage on a 3-pointer by senior Sam Rohde with 7:39 left.
The Hilltoppers scored just 6 points over the first 12 minutes of the second half, as stifling Central defense made sure nothing came easy.
The Lancers also eliminated second-chance opportunities, as Marquette had just three offensive rebounds in the second half. It was the third 11-point half against Central this season, as Waukesha North managed just 11 points in both halves in a 61-22 decision on Dec. 6.
Central (5-0, 2-0 GMC) continued to shoot the ball at a high percentage and eliminated its miscues, as the Lancers did not turn the ball over in the second half.
Gage Malensek led the Lancers with 14 points, six assists and three steals. Peralta-Werns added 12 points, Rohde finished with 11 points and Nau had nine 9 and five rebounds.
"I told our guys that there were going to be some possessions where we get five good block outs and everybody is doing their job, and they are probably still going to get it (because of their size advantage)," Wandrey said. 'In the first half, even their misses came from a little closer, and they were all right there. We kept them out and kept them spread in the second half."
Brookfield Central's nonconference game against Oshkosh West on Dec. 17 was canceled due to the weekend snowstorm. The Lancers were scheduled to play at West Allis Central on Tuesday, Dec. 20, before facing Whitefish Bay and Homestead at the WBY Shootout at Concordia University on Dec. 27 and Dec. 29.