There are four championships a basketball team can accrue throughout the season, and Brookfield Central's boys basketball team now has two under its belt.
Having already won the Greater Metro Conference crown, the top-seeded Lancers secured a regional title and looked like a team very much capable of collecting sectional and state championships with a 90-38 rout of eighth-seeded Racine Horlick in a WIAA Division 1 regional final on March 4.
"We talk a lot about setting a tone of who we are and how we play," Brookfield Central coach Dan Wandrey said. "We've really done that in these two regional games.
"With this new alignment, it is pretty tough (to win a regional). (Racine Horlick) won 14 games. We are playing a lot of young guys. It is an important step in the identity and evolution of who we are and how we want to play. We haven't gone in there and written on the board, 'Madison or bust.' But from the beginning of the year, (setting goals) of a conference championship and the state tournament, since then it has just been, 'What's next?'"
With its first regional championship since 2014, next for Brookfield Central (22-2) is a showdown with fourth-seeded Milwaukee Riverside (18-6) in a sectional semifinal at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 9 at Milwaukee South Division High School.
Of the four No. 1 seeds in Division 1, only the Lancers and Sun Prairie faced teams with winning records in regional finals. Sun Prairie was upset by Madison East, while Brookfield Central rolled to a 52-point victory.
While Brookfield Central was cruising to an 84-55 win over West Allis Hale in the regional semifinal, the Rebels had to turn right around after battling through a 65-63 win over Brookfield East.
Be it in transition or in the halfcourt, Racine Horlick (14-10) provided little resistance to Brookfield Central's offense. The Lancers shot 70 percent (35-for-50) from the field, hitting 25 of their 30 2-point attempts and connecting on 10 of 20 tries from distance.
Sophomore guard Gage Malensek scored 28 points with six rebounds and seven assists and junior guard Andres Peralta-Werns hit four 3-pointers and finished with 20 points, as the two combined to shoot 17 for 22 from the field.
Senior guard Sam Rohde added 12 points, senior forward Chris Post had 10 points and eight rebounds, and sophomore guard Cole Nau finished with 9 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Rohde and Peralta-Werns each hit early triples that gave Brookfield Central an 11-2 lead. The quick start seemed to take the air out of the Rebels, as the Lancers rolled from there, leading 46-18 at halftime.
"We thought we were going to struggle with the Friday and Saturday games," Malensek said. "But we really came out and executed."
The Lancers also put together a complete performance on the defensive end, holding the Rebels under their scoring average by 27 points on 32.6 percent shooting (15-for-46). Brookfield Central outrebounded Racine Horlick, 35-16, with five different players hauling in at least five rebounds.
"Our mottos are, 'Share the ball, rebound and play defense,'" Peralta-Werns said. "We got it done on the defensive end and got the rebounding done. Sharing the ball is what helps us kill everyone with our offense. If we keep doing that, I think we'll keep scoring like we have."
Brookfield Central made it tough on Racine Horlick's Marquise Milton, who entered averaging 23.5 points per game. The sophomore finished with 15 points but was just 5-for-17 from the field and 0-for-4 on 3-point tries.
"Milton is a load," Wandrey said. "We really approached that as a team defending in the gaps and having help. We were outstanding. The shots we were forcing them to take really set a good tone for us."
Led by Iowa State commit Terrence Lewis (26.6 points per game), Milwaukee Riverside shared the City Conference title with Milwaukee Vincent and Milwaukee Washington. The Tigers have won eight consecutive games after dropping consecutive games in late January. Riverside won its regional with a 48-31 win over 13th-seed Milwaukee South and a 76-74 victory over fifth-seeded Racine Case.
The winner of the sectional semifinal between Brookfield Central and Milwaukee Riverside will face either second-seeded Milwaukee Vincent or sixth-seeded Franklin in a sectional final at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 11 at West Allis Central High School.
"Our first goal was to win one championship, and (by beating Hale), we got it to two," Peralta-Werns said. "Now we've set it to three. We really want to get the sectional championship."
Lancers take care of Hale
Brookfield Central had little trouble with 17th-seeded West Allis Hale in the regional semifinal March 3, advancing with an 84-55 victory over the Huskies (5-19).
The Lancers led their conference rivals, 43-28, at halftime. Malensek led the way with 23 points, while Peralta-Werns added 18 points, Rohde scored 11 points and Post had 10 points.