After four seasons playing with strong teams beneath the dominance of Divine Savior Holy Angels, the Sussex Hamilton girls basketball team concluded a dreary Friday in January with a season sweep over the Dashers. Not only that, but the Chargers added another game to their first-place hold in the Greater Metro Conference.
Hamilton’s Ellie Sumiec made sure her squad walked away with the sweep and a two-game lead in the standings when the senior hit her fourth 3-pointer of the game with 39.1 seconds left to play. She added a free throw with less than 10 seconds to go as Sussex Hamilton defeated DSHA, 50-46, to maintain sole possession of first with a 7-0 record (11-3 overall).
“It’s a big swing because we’re now up two games on them instead of being tied, so obviously it is big for momentum,” coach Bill Scasny said. “And beating them twice in the same year is a big thing, too.”
That second victory over DSHA in almost four years – before this season, the Chargers last defeated the Dashers January 18, 2013 – was in peril for 17 minutes, 41 seconds as host DSHA (7-6 overall, 5-2 GMC) kept pace with Hamilton most of the game. Hamilton held a 42-36 lead with 6:49 left to play when DSHA went on a 7-0 scoring run led by Ovi Young, who scored 5 of her 12 points in the stretch, to take a 1-point lead.
With Sussex Hamilton trailing, 46-45, and about a minute to play, the Chargers defense drew an offensive foul to regain possession. Shortly after, Sumiec scored 3 of her game-high 17 points from the wing in front of the Chargers bench, which put them up for good on the scoreboard and in the standings.
“I think we were all under a lot of pressure going in knowing this could be a big game for us, but I just wanted to do it for the team,” Sumiec said. “We don’t beat them in four years, and now we beat them twice. It’s amazing and just helps us push toward the conference championship.”
Senior Jordan Fierst added 12 points for the Chargers, and juniors Kristin Thompson, Taylor Fuerstenberg and senior Macy Williams scored 6 points apiece.
Opening tip was delayed for 41 minutes due to an overheated ceramic kiln, which triggered DSHA’s fire safety system’s warning lights. Scasny and Dashers coach Jeff Worzella agreed to wait for the lights to stop flashing before starting warmups.
Sussex Hamilton will host winless West Allis Central on Tuesday.
The Hamilton junior varsity squad defeated DSHA on the road on Jan. 20, 48-40. DSHA focused on Hamilton's Julia Nolde, which allowed Elizabeth Behrndt and Ana Rhude to take advantage.
Behrndt and Rhude combined to score 26 of Hamilton's 31 first-half points. In the second half with 12 minutes remaining, the fire alarm went off and the gym had to be evacuated.
"Play resumed 20 minutes later when the firefighters informed us it wasn’t a fire, just a sensor going off," HHS coach Ben Filzen said. "The beeping and flashing lights were still going for the remainder of the game but the girls hung on. It’s good for us to have a close game like this. The girls haven’t really been put in that situation this season."
It marked just the second time this season an opponent has been within 10 points of the Chargers at the end of a game.
Rhude finished with 18 points and Behrndt scored 11. Hamilton shot 16 for 40 from the free throw line (40 percent).
"While I’m very pleased with the amount of attempts compared to DSHA’s (9), I’m certainly not pleased with only making 16," Filzen said. "We need to do a better job of making free throws."