One glance at the upcoming schedule for the Brookfield East boys basketball team is all it takes to realize the young Spartans are about to enter a difficult stretch with three of their next five games against state-ranked opponents, beginning with Pius XI on Dec. 27.
Brookfield East made sure it entered on a high note, as the Spartans easily dispatched Kenosha Tremper on Dec. 22 in an 85-55 road nonconference victory.
"Moving forward, we are about to hit a very difficult portion of our schedule," Brookfield East coach Joe Rux said. "The Kenosha Tremper win provides some momentum at the right time. Milwaukee Pius is a really good basketball team, and we will need to give an outstanding effort on both sides of the floor to experience the same type of success."
The Spartans (3-3 overall) scored 47 first-half points to grab a 47-37 advantage at halftime. Brookfield East connected on 10 3-pointers against Kenosha Tremper, as Graf hit three triples and Francken and Simon each made two. The Spartans also were strong at the foul line, as they made 17 of 21 free-throw attempts in the win.
Junior center Patrick Cartier led five Spartans in double figures with 19 points. Sophomore guard Thomas Francken scored 12 points; senior guard Jake Graf and junior guard Sam Tallmadge each added 11 points; and junior forward Peyton Simon scored 10 points.
"I thought our team moved the ball well and played with a purpose on the offensive end," Rux said. "A motion offense provides you with a lot of different actions to utilize, and our guys did a much better job of taking advantage of those opportunities against Tremper."
Brookfield East then held the Trojans (0-6) to just 18 points in the second half to end up with a 30-point victory.
"Our defense has been steadily improving this season," Rux said. "We are getting better at defending penetration and finishing plays on the defensive glass. The guys have been able to hold a number of teams below their season averages so far this year, so that certainly gives us something to build on as we move forward."
Brookfield East was scheduled to host Pius, ranked No. 9 in Division 2, on Tuesday, Dec. 27. The Spartans will play at Cedarburg, No. 4 in Division 2, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3. After games against Sussex Hamilton (Jan. 6) and Marquette (Jan. 10), Brookfield East will host Brookfield Central, ranked No. 5 in Division 1, on Friday, Jan. 13.