The Waukesha Catholic Memorial boys basketball team gained a berth in the WIAA Division 2 sectional Saturday by defeating visiting Pewaukee, 68-58.
The victory vaulted CMH (18-6) into the first round of the sectional on Thursday at Greenfield against New Berlin Eisenhower. NBE is seeded first, and Memorial is seeded second. The winner of that game will play Saturday in the sectional title game Saturday at West Allis Central, facing either Wisconsin Lutheran and Milwaukee Washington.
Memorial went on an 8-0 run in a span of 69 seconds late in the first quarter to pull away from the Pirates. The score was deadlocked at 12-12 before Ty Sabin, Ayinde Starling and Robbie Gogin made baskets to run the score to 20-12. A 3-pointer with less than a second to go in the period by Jake Shomin gave the Crusaders a 23-14 at the end of the quarter.
The lead grew to 38-29 at halftime.
"It was certainly a game of runs, but I thought we got some defensive stops, made a few baskets and that got us a little separation in the first half," said Memorial coach Dean Bellanti. "They made a run at us in the third quarter, but we answered that with a little run of our own, and that allowed us to get a lead. It was never comfortable. Pewaukee played well, but I thought our kids had a good night."
Sabin finished with 31 points for the game, sinking 13 of 19 shots from the field. At one stretch, he made seven shots in a row, and he had 20 points at the half. He was 4 for 4 from beyond the arc in the seocnd quarter.
"Ty has played outstanding basketball for us all year," Bellanti added. "He played very well night and shot the ball really well. We look for him to lead us and he did just that tonight."
Starling chipped in with 10 points for the Crusaders, and Chandler North and Andre Bodden had 8 each. Jake Shomin chipped in with 7 tallies.
North narrowly misses upset
The final 2 ½ seconds of the WIAA Division 2 boys basketball regional matchup between New Berlin Eisenhower and visiting Waukesha North epitomized the four quarters that had preceded.
Waukesha North's Connor Jimenez stepped up to the line for an extra point after Ike committed a foul on a 2-point layup for North, which made the score 57-55 with just more than 2 seconds to go. North coach Greg Polkowski called for a time out and instructed Jimenez to intentionally miss his free throw, giving the team a chance to tie the game on the rebound.
The ball came back off the rim of the basket as planned, and several North players had the opportunity to collect the rebound, but Ike caused enough problems under the basket to hang on to their lead and make it through to the next round.
"The momentum was with us in the end," Polkowski said. "Our leading rebounder was on the right block and Ruben (Ortiz) on the other side was within arm's reach of (the ball)."
The chance to stage a huge first-round upset over Eisenhower was just beyond North's fingertips.
In a game with several momentum swings, North narrowly missed knocking off the top seed in the WIAA Division 1 regional. When the Northstars went down 49-41 halfway through the fourth quarter, they fought their way back into the game with good tenacity and some 3-point shooting of their own from Ortiz and Marquis Carter.
North defeated New Berlin West in the tournament opener Feb. 19, 54-52.
"We had some looks that we didn't finish and we gave up some transition points," Polkowski said. "We could have done better in transition ourselves. They weathered the storm and they did what they needed to get the momentum back. They're the one seed. I don't want to say that I'm happy walking out of the gym, but we gave them our best crack. I'm proud of where we can go. Next year, we can really hit the ground running."
West felled by Homestead
Homestead went on a 10-2 run to close the door and notch a 62-51 WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal win over fifth-seeded Waukesha West on Friday in the regional.
Down 46-35, West senior Christian Walz scored a layup and the Highlanders (15-8) were called for a five-second, closely-guarded violation on the ensuing possession.
West guard Earnest Cowser drove to the basket, and Tyler Domenoski was able to gather a rebound, avoid a tumble and put up a shot that went in attached with a foul by senior post Luke Worthington, which put him on the bench for a considerable amount of time. After a technical was assessed on the Highlanders, Domenoski drilled all three free throws to cut the lead to only 46-42 with 5:22 remaining.
With the 6-foot-9 Worthington, a BYU recruit, now the team's biggest cheerleader, it was up to the experienced backcourt of Homestead to take over. The Homestead gym was extremely empty because of the school's concurrent playoff hockey game, something Worthington noted as he tried to keep the energy high.
"We picked the wrong time to not play as well as we have been," said West coach David Schultz. "You have to give them a lot of credit, though. They made plays down the stretch when they needed too. We had an opportunity there and they just did not lose their composure."
The Highlanders backcourt made West (14-9) pay. First it was senior Jake Laihinen who drilled a 3 from the corner on Homestead's first possession after the technical foul. Next, it was reserve senior guard Darius Marshall scoring on a layup. Finally, Sam Kaegi chipped in a jumper to push the lead back to 9, and West could not get any closer.
Domenoski scored a team-high 17 points to lead the way for West.
South wins opener
Waukesha South scored a 71-68 overtime victory over Hartford on Tuesday, Feb. 19, before falling to Germantown on Friday, 90-22.
South (4-20) rallied back from 13 points down to tie the game and even had a shot fall with less than 5 seconds to play that was erased by a charge call.
Tyree Pope scored 16 points but was hit with his fifth foul on that charge and did not play in OT. Trent Prater had 14, including one of his four 3-pointers in overtime, and Anthony Johnson (13) and Isaiah Pitchford (12) also hit double figures.
- Jeremy Lubus and Robert Van Groll contributed to this story