LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

This is always a game each team wants badly. For the Hamilton boys basketball team, it'll have to wait a little longer for another chance to defeat Menomonee Falls. On Jan. 15 in a packed HHS gym, the Chargers were defeated, 68-63.

It was an exciting back-and-forth battle where both teams held extended leads. In the first half, Hamilton led by 10 with 4 minutes, 19 seconds remaining after a basket by senior forward E.J. LeDonne. Falls came back immediately and cut Hamilton's halftime lead to 24-23 with the help of two 3-point plays in a matter of a few minutes.

In the second half, Falls took control with second-chance looks and held a 45-35 lead with 9:29 left in the game. The Chargers cut into Fall's lead with back-to-back steals that turned into baskets by Luke Semb with 7:43 left. Jacob Hartung tied the game at 45, but Falls' Bryce McMurtry scored five points over the next two minutes to take a 52-47 lead.

Falls went into the bonus with two minutes left and made the majority of its free throws. The Indians led, 62-56, at the 56.6-second mark. Semb drilled a three to make it 62-59, but Falls again made a free throw. Semb hit another 3-pointer to make it a 1-point game with 27 seconds left.

With the score 65-63, Falls missed a free throw with 12.4 remaining on the clock. Hamilton nearly had the ball, but couldn't secure it. Falls got the loose ball and went to the free-throw line to secure the win.

'Our runs were not as long, their runs were a little longer,' HHS coach Andy Cerroni said. 'We had a couple runs, but they had a couple runs that were a little longer than ours. We needed to sustain a little bit and we didn't. We gave up too many baskets in transition and too many straight line drives to the basket late in the game.'

Hartung finished the game with a team-high 26 points, and Semb contributed 15.

Travis Janus, who tweaked a previous knee injury late in the game against Falls, fouled out, but still finished with 7 points, four rebounds and three assists.

'Losing Travis is huge,' Cerroni said. 'He's our leader, and he hurt his knee on Monday and he didn't practice all week. For him to do what he did tonight after how bad he hurt his knee on Monday, I thought we were going to lose him for a couple weeks. He came back and played tonight. He's just a warrior.'

The next day, Hamilton had a nice bounceback game with a 89-67 victory over Verona in Wisconsin Dells.

'The kids really showed a lot of character and resilience,' Cerroni said. 'I was pretty down after Friday and I was worried about the turnaround time. They came to the shoot around, we had to prepare for Verona and we didn't have too much time to talk about the Falls situation because we had to move on. It was exactly what we needed to get right back at it.'

Hartung had 27 points, and Connor Allen had 18. Janus scored 7 points and had seven rebounds.

'Connor Allen was outstanding,' Cerroni said. 'That was without a doubt his finest performance as a varsity performer.'

Frosh win big

The HHS freshmen defeated Falls, 49-28. Hamilton began the contest slow but built to a 22-17 halftime lead. Falls was held to 22 points until two minutes left in regulation.

Zach Herbert had 19 points, and Sam Kneer pulled down eight rebounds. Zac Bagley scored 12, and Tyler Ellington had 10.

Hamilton is 13-0 this season.