The Brookfield Central boys finished a solid regular season with a 61-50 win over Menomonee Falls on Feb. 23 at home.
The Lancers finished with a 15-7 record (.682 winning percentage) and took control of second place down the stretch with a 10-4 record, ahead of third-place Wauwatosa East (8-6) and Sussex Hamilton (8-6). Marquette won the Greater Metro Conference with a 12-2 record with one of the losses coming to Central.
Sixth-seeded Central will start the postseason at 7 p.m. Friday, March 4, hosting 11th-seeded Racine Case (9-13). The winner of that game will in all likelihood play Marquette the next day.
In the 11-point win over the Indians (14-8, 7-7) on Feb. 23, the Lancers took a 9-point lead at halftime, 31-22. They traded baskets in the second half, with Central having a slight edge, 30-28.
Senior Andrew Brugginkled the way with 15 points, followed by junior Sam Rohdewith 14 points, which included three 3-pointers, and freshman Gage Malensekwith 13.
Central was 11-of-13 (.846) from the charity stripe, and Falls finished 10-for-12 (.833). The Indians had the 3-point edge, 6-5.
East dropped a 67-53 decision in a nonconference game at Oconomowoc on Feb. 22 to open the week and dropped a 71-64 decision to Wauwatosa East on Feb. 25 at home to end the regular season in conference play.
The Spartans finished the Greater Metro Conference without a win (0-14) and finished with a 3-19 regular-season record and a five-game losing streak.
Even though the Spartans trailed at halftime, 42-34, they actually led by 7 points (23-16) with 9 minutes, 20 seconds left in the half on a 3-pointer by junior guard Jake Graf. Leading 29-27 on two Graf free throws with 4:17 left, the Spartans saw Tosa East score on a 3-pointer by Najee Stewart and a layup by Ty Ederesinghe for a 32-29 lead.
Brookfield East's last grasp tied the game at 32-32 as senior Dominic Cartiergrabbed three offensive rebounds in a row and converted the final one, was fouled and sank the free throw. But the Red Raiders went on a 10-2 run to end the half.
The Spartans' final grasp came when they went on a 12-2 run to cut the lead to 66-62 with 2:43 left. Sophomore Patrick Cartierhit a basket and a free throw; junior Sam Gaugerhit three of four free throws; Dominic Cartier hit a free throw; and Graf hit a free throw and a basket before the Red Raiders' Jai'vionne Green threw down a dunk to stop the run. Graf countered with a drive to make it 66-62, but Tosa East finished by scoring 4 of the final 6 points to earn the win.
The Spartans only managed to make 6 of 13 free throws down the stretch and were 13-for-24 overall.
'They've battled back, and that's been a hallmark, but I would like to see them not have to battle back,' coach Matt Malett said of his Spartans. 'The first half was atrocious because we let nine offensive rebounds go for 14 points. We had 10 turnovers for 5 points. That's 19 points for Tosa East. You can't give other teams opportunities like that.'
Green was a one-man show for the Red Raiders with 28 points, while Cal Rohde added 12.
'I don't think too many teams in the conference have an answer for Jai'vionne,' Malett said. 'He's a heck of a player. When he's not driving, he can shoot right over you. He presented a match-up issue, which could be the understatement of the night.'
Graf continued his consistent scoring with 19 points, while Patrick Cartier (15) and Dominic Cartier (14) played well inside all evening. Gauger finished with 8.
In the loss to Oconomowoc to start the week, the Spartans met a team who had a 16-5 overall record and led the Wisconsin Little Ten with a 12-1 mark.
They put the game away early with a 34-22 first half and then exchanged baskets in the second half with East coming up 2 points short, 33-31.
Graf came up big with a game-high 25 points. He was perfect from the free-throw line (7-for-7) and nailed two 3-pointers. Gauger added 17 points, hitting three 3-pointers, as the Spartans got 42 points from his backcourt. Sophomore post Patrick Cartier added 9 points.
The Raccoons were led by Jonah Samp and Spencer Treder with 15 points each, while Zach Clayton and Anthony Briggs had 14 points apiece.
CENTRAL SKI TEAM
By virtue of medal-winning performances during the regular season, two members of the Lancer ski team — senior Ben Petersonand freshman Garrett Miner— qualified as individuals to compete at the state meet.
The event was held at Mt. La Crosse over President's Day weekend and featured over 150 competitors in the boys field. This was Peterson's fourth trip to the state meet, qualifying each year of his high-school racing career
Peterson rode top-25 finishes in both slalom and super G to a 17th-place overall finish, four spots ahead of his performance last year and his highest finish in his four state appearances.
Despite being one of the youngest competitors at the meet, Miner's cumulative effort for the weekend put him in 112th place overall, finishing ahead of a good share of the field.