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Everyone aware of just a smidgen of the recent state title-filled history of the Germantown boys basketball team will remember the moment of the hearty man hug that went on between then coach Steve Showalter and his son, Zak, on senior day in February 2012.

It went on forever, with the roar of the crowd behind them. The pair were a month away from the Warhawks' first of three WIAA state titles and had butted heads over many things large and small in the four years father had coached son.

But they were united by blood and a pulsing, thriving need to win.

Before that season started, Zak had made the decision to walk on at the University of Wisconsin, turning down several lucrative mid-major scholarship offers.

Many people, including myself, thought it may have been the wrong decision, that the 6-foot-2 shooting guard with a heart of fire would get swallowed up by the challenges of Big 10 basketball and spend his days at the end of the bench or eventually quit in frustration.

It turned out, all the "know-it-alls," myself included, were the ones who were wrong, because all of us underestimated the heart, grit, desire and yes, skill, of the younger Showalter.

Fast-forward to Sunday, March 5, before a packed house at the Kohl Center in Madison on another senior day.

Zak Showalter, now a two-year starter for the Badgers, was feted before and after the Badgers' regular season-ending victory over Minnesota, along with fellow seniors Vitto Brown, Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes.

Furthermore, he is set to graduate later this spring with a double major in business/finance and risk management.

"He's got a good head on his shoulders," said Steve Showalter, now the coach at Menomonee Falls, "and he's very good with the whole finance and money thing. He had been leaning towards accounting, but he didn't want to sit in a cubicle for hours at a time."

Needless to say, Steve's pride is hard to contain at this moment.

"I was not looking forward to this day for a long time," said Steve Showalter. "It was all so very emotional. I'm so proud of the man he's become, the player he is and the student/athlete he is. You just hate to see all that coming to an end.

"When he committed that summer of 2011, there were a lot of questions surrounding his decision. The Big 10 is a whole other level. The mid-majors were there and he could have stepped in there and done great things, but he wanted to be a Badger. It was hard for me to be patient and wait and see whether he made the right decision or not.

"But he proved that his goal, his desire and his heart were all in the right place when he made that decision. He's not a superstar by any means, but he's a vital cog. He's a senior in a group that has won 112 games, third-most in school history, and if they win a few more, they could set the school record.

"That's what Zak has always been about: Winning."

So the senior day celebrations on March 5 were long and loud and happy. There was the presentation of a framed jersey before the game and then videos, photos and speeches afterward. The four seniors and their families gathered together at a nearby establishment later for more celebration with many Showalter relatives in tow, including Zak's little brother Jake, now making his way at UW-Platteville, his father's alma mater.

It was memorable to say the least.

As was the rest of the weekend.

The night before, Steve Showalter had another coaching milestone, as his Falls Indians had pulled off a miraculous buzzer-beating victory over Fond du Lac in a WIAA regional final. It was Falls' first regional title in seven years and the first close win for the Indians after several losses in such games.

Earlier that day, a former teammate of Zak Showalter's and state player of the year for Germantown in 2013, 6-foot-11 center Luke Fischer had celebrated his own senior day with 13 points and a regular season-closing victory for Marquette over Creighton.

He already has more than 1,000 points over his overall collegiate career (including a semester at Indiana before he transferred to Marquette) and is one point short of 1,000 for his Marquette career. He had been a starter for two-plus years before a shake-up about a month ago, to take the Golden Eagles out of some serious doldrums, has him now coming off the bench.

Fischer adapted, made the change with class, and is now poised, along with the rest of the Marquette team, to make the program's first NCAA tournament appearance since 2013.

But that's not what landed Fischer on local TV and ESPN that night. Following the win on March 4, while everyone was happily celebrating, he politely took a microphone, walked over to long-time girlfriend Payton Brock, got down on one knee and proposed.

The Bradley Center and Fischer's teammates exploded with joy when she happily said "Yes!" and the pair collapsed in a jubilant embrace.

Coach Showalter was stunned when he heard of the moment.

"I was just shocked," said Showalter, "because that is just not his personality. He's very quiet and to himself; not outgoing at all. I think he was pretty nervous before he did that and I was thinking he was pretty lucky when she said 'yes.'"

Like his son Zak, Showalter is proud of Fischer on many levels.

"He's kind of like a lot of college kids," Steve Showalter said. "They need to find their niche, find their home, and after a rough start for him (in Indiana), he found a home (with Marquette). He's had his ups and downs, but his leadership, his willingness to adapt, just shined through.

"He's not one to seek out the limelight. Like Zak, he just wants to win."

It seems that in the Showalter world this past week, winning took on many forms, all to be celebrated.

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