Brookfield East put together a complete game on Feb. 2 to down Greater Metro Conference foe Sussex Hamilton, 65-46. East led by 12 at halftime and didn't let up in the second half, even though Hamilton's offensive pressure ramped up.
"I thought our kids really played well defensively," East coach Joe Rux said. "They did a great job of chasing the shooters and did a really good job of rebounding the ball. Overall, especially in that first half, it was really difficult for them to run their stuff and it was really difficult for them to get a good shot. Hats off to our guys for working that out."
Jake Graf led East with 29 points, eight rebounds, and three 3-pointers.
"We moved the ball well," Graf said. "We didn't just hold it trying to have one person going after the whole team. We played good defensively and rebounded. We didn't give up many second-chance points, which is a big thing. We got out and ran in transition when we could."
Hamilton scored just 14 points in the first half but clicked better in the second half on offense and put up 32 points. Unfortunately for the Chargers, East couldn't be stopped on offense.
"I think they're a very good team," Hamilton coach Kameron Cerroni said. "They have two very good players. In the second half, down 12 already, I think they went on maybe a 7-0 run to start the half. It's tough to battle against a team like that."
It marked the third game Cerroni was the head coach of Hamilton since the team's regular head coach, Andy Cerroni, suffered a heart attack on Jan. 28. The elder Cerroni is expected back on the sidelines soon.
Joel Hoytink scored a team-high 14 points and had four assists for HHS.
East also had a big game from Patrick Cartier, who scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds.
"Every time we haven't given the effort we needed to for 36 minutes, we've had to pay the price of losing very close games," Rux said. "I think our guys have learned they can beat anybody on any given night if they play hard, listen and do the things they need to do to be successful. That's huge, especially with the youth we have on the floor at times. They haven't been in a lot of positions where they've had to win big games. Being able to win big games and finish off teams at the end of games like tonight where we've had to show some poise, deal with a little bit of pressure and find a way to get layups, those are all big growing moments for us. It seems weird because we're 16 games in, but we still have a lot to learn."
East improved to 8-8 overall and 6-4 in the GMC. Hamilton fell to 7-10 overall and 3-6 in league play.
HHS gets by Hale
On Jan. 31, Hamilton beat West Allis Hale, 67-57. Tyler Ellingson scored 22 points and made 6 of 10 from 3-point range. Jordan Smith had 21 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. Smith sunk four 3-pointers.
Both Lucas Finnessy and Hoytnik had six rebounds each. Hoytnik had eight assists and made all six of his free throw attempts.
"I thought our energy was very solid in that game," Kam Cerroni said. "Brad Purko played very well. It was just a good overall game, great energy."