The Germantown basketball team waited a year for another crack at De Pere and made the most of it Wednesday night, as the Warhawks used a 16-0 burst at the end of the first quarter to erase an 8-6 deficit and then coast to a 60-49 victory in the closer of the Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook Tourney at Concordia University in Mequon.
"It was a good revenge game," said senior guard Zak Showalter, who scored the last seven points of the run and had a game-high 28 points for the night. "We just knew what we wanted to do. It's tough fighting a team the whole game, but when you get out to a big lead like that, you're still fighting, but it's a little bit easier to work with then."
"I think this shows that we're not going to back down from anyone."
The win gave the Warhawks a two-game sweep in the WBBY and left the top-ranked in state squad with a 10-0 mark as they head into the new year while De Pere fell to 8-1.
"They were undefeated, just like last year," said coach Steve Showalter, "and they beat us up pretty good last year. They took it to us and out-physicaled us. Our goal tonight was to be more physical than them and I think we were. I thought overall, our guys played a hell of a game."
The interesting thing about the contest is that it could be just a warm-up as the two squads will be on opposite ends of the same WIAA sectional bracket come March.
And if the Redbirds want a different outcome, they will have to do something about the Wisconsin-bound guard Zak Showalter. He had 15 points in that first quarter and had long-time Germantown scorekeeper and former basketball coach himself Rich Anderson saying that he had never seen him play better.
The run came after De Pere had scored the first five points of the game, before back-to-back three-pointers from Josh Mongan and Zak Showalter. A basket from junior center Kaden Coleman gave De Pere its last lead of the night at 8-6 with 4:35 left in the first quarter.
Germantown's onslaught began with a backcut lay-up from Mongan and got amped up a baseline jumper from Zak Showalter and a three-pointer from Zak a little deeper along the baseline.
Zak hit another three in the run and closed it out with a pair of free throws with just one second left in the period, as Germantown ended the stanza with a 22-8 advantage.
"I admit it, I was feeling it," he said. "It's always nice to hit shots and close out three-pointers. When that happens the lane starts to open up a little bit and that's always to good benefit."
The fruistrating thing for De Pere coach Brian Winchester and his Redbirds was that Zak Showalter was hardly the only poison that they had to pick from. They were able to chase Germantown's high-scoring 6-11 center Luke Fischer to the bench with two fouls early in the first quarter, but he was hardly the only big man the Warhawks could rely upon.
With the score 32-21 late in the second quarter, Winchester could be heard shouting "Shoot, Shoot" as Warhawk forwards Dan Studer and Evan Wesenberg got the ball at the top of the key beyond the three-point line.
But then both the 6-7 Studer and the 6-6 Wesenberg confounded Winchester's strategy by hitting three-pointers from that very spot. When Wesenberg's shot rippled through the nets, it was 37-21 with 1:52 left in the half.
"He wanted them to shoot that shot, but our philosophy is, is that if you're open, you shoot," said coach Steve Showalter. Fischer wound up scoreless on the night.
It was 38-26 at the half and reached 55-36 at the end of the third, as Zak Showalter scored nine of the last 11 points of the session.
The Warhawks struggled a bit in the fourth as they tried to run some clock. A 10-0 De Pere run cut it to 55-46 with 2:24 left, but behind a Studer putback, Germantown scored the next five points and eased to the finish line.
Mongan had 10 and Studer nine to support Zak Showalter. Coach Showalter praised Studer and reserve forward Jon Averkamp for their sturdy defensive efforts against De pere's active and physical front line.
"Jon just earned himself some more minutes," said Coach Showalter said. "Guarding a guy the caliber of (Brett) Vanderbergh (10 points) with a sophomore, that's really something. He's now guarded guys like J.P. (Tokoto of Menomonee Falls) and he's just gotten the job done everytime."
It's all part of a grand scheme by the Warhawks.
"We finished 2011 with only one loss (the controversial super-sectional defeat at the hands of Appleton East in March)," said Zak Showalter, "and the plan is not to lose any in 2012 either."
Which would result in a state title.
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