Germantown center Luke Fischer said he and his top-ranked in state teammates don't dwell on the fact that they beat Whitefish Bay handily twice last year en route to a North Shore Conference title only to have the Blue Dukes go out and win a WIAA state D2 championship while the Warhawks lost a controversial division I super-sectional game.
But they certainly acted like they thought about it a bit when they opened their North Shore Conference season at Bay Friday night with a suffocating defensive effort that allowed them to pull away for an impressive 77-48 win over the host Blue Dukes.
"We really don't think about it," said Fischer, "but when it comes down to it, there is probably a little tension with us as far as that's concerned."
Fischer was one of four Germantown players in double figures with 19, as Dan Studer and Josh Mongan had 13 apiece and Zak Showalter 11 to help the Warhawks improve to 1-0 in league play and 3-0 overall.
And speaking of tension, there was also a little of it in coach Steve Showalter's voice as the team entered the halftime lockerroom. A 36-16 lead with 2:49 left in the second quarter had been sliced to 40-27.
He was not amused.
"No, I didn't like it at all," he said, "so I let them have it at the half, and that was all right, they hadn't heard that kind of stuff from me yet (this season) and I've got veterans who can handle it."
"I just want them to do things the right way."
Which they did at the start of the third, going on a 9-2 run to start the session to make it 49-29. The lead never got below 14 again and was stretched to 58-36 by the time the fourth quarter got underway.
The Warhawks disruptive full-court press knocked the Blue Dukes (1-2) off-rhythm, forcing several turnovers and causing hurried shots.
Bay coach Kevin Lazovik, whose team did a good job of fending off one Germantown outburst after another in the first half, saw that his squad just couldn't keep up anymore.
"The thing is," he said. "Is that you try to avoid the four-to-eight point spurts that they throw at you. And I think you can do that if you stay incredibly disciplined, but we weren't in the second half and they were able to pull away."
Germantown, which will have a high-profile game at Homestead Saturday at 8 p.m. against top-ranked in D4 Dominican in the NY2LA Classic, is still looking for the kind of game that Showalter really likes.
"The flow was not good in the first half at all," he said. "Everybody knows that we want to get up and down and try to wear the other team out. But when there are a lot stoppages like their were tonight it takes away the beauty of the game."
"It was partly our fault and of course, they were strying to stop it themselves. But when we go in practice we beat each other up and fly around the court and there are no whistles."
Showalter was pleased with his the play of his posts as Fischer, Studer, Jon Averkamp and Evan Wesenberg combined for a sound 43 points. Fischer, at the back end of the press had many rebounds and several blocked shots. He displayed a good hook shot and was stronger with the ball underneath than he had been earlier in the season.
"This felt good tonight," said Fischer. "We started off kind of slow, but we finished strong and played well defensively."
"He's still a work in progress, a bit of a project." said Showalter, "but he's light years ahead of where he was last year and he's going to coninue to get better. We actually use 20 points and 10 rebounds (a game) as a benchmark for him."
And Lazovik knows if Fischer gets to that level, the Warhawks may just about be unstoppable.
"I think if you play a perfect game, you can compete with them," he said. "Obviously we didn't tonight." Keelin Johnson and Connor Weas had 10 points apiece and Lazovik was again pleased with Grant Menard's effort.
Meanwhile, Showalter knows his team is getting closer to its goal of perfection every night out.
"Ultimately, we got the game we wanted tonight," he said.
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