If this is the way that the Germantown boys basketball team reacts in the face of adversity, then the rest of the state's squads better hope that no one else on the unbeaten number-one ranked in state Warhawks gets hurt.
Because even without injured 6-11 center Luke Fischer, the Warhawks dominated the boards, outhustled and flat outplayed seventh-ranked in state Homestead by a lopsided 86-48 count in what was supposed to be a first-place showdown in the North Shore Friday night.
Oh, and they also had all-state guard Zak Showalter feeling like he was virtually unguardable as he recorded a career-high 36 points, including 24 in a first half that decided the game at 48-17.
"Every team faces some adversity," said Showalter of Fischer's broken pinky finger. "If we want to get to where we want to go, we have to face some of it."
And of course, everyone knows where the 14-0 Warhawks want to go this season:
All the way to a state championship.
Stunned Highlander coach Marquis Hines thinks that's a reasonable goal for Germantown.
"That's a state championship team," he said. "They're playing the best ball in the state right now. They just know where everybody is on the floor and they play hard all the time."
That much was evident by the hungry, almost ravenous way the suddenly shorter Warhawks (7-0 in conference) dominated the boards this night, as they grabbed 45 total rebounds including 18 offensive.
Leading the way was 6-6 sophomore forward Jon Averkamp and and 5-10 point guard Josh Mongan with 10 each. Yes, the 5-10 Mongan had 10 rebounds.
"We just watched film and studied their tendencies all week," said Mongan, "until we understood everything that they were going to do. Coach (Steve Showalter) just burned into our brains what we needed to do. Coach needed us to play even better without Luke and I think we almost did."
Coach Showalter said that yes, he did work extremely hard on preparation with the team this week.
"But I wasn't as certain that the outcome of all that would be as good as it was," he said. "We had to make changes because we were without Luke and we made them."
"...and our offensive rebounding was really, really good. That's usually Luke's job, but we did it by committee tonight. Yes, I was very surprised at this. They're a 12-1 team. The best team we'll face in the league, but I think we went out and proved something to ourselves."
Or like Hines said: "They came out and played like they had a grudge on their shoulder."
Especially in the second quarter. Zak Showalter had scored 17 points, including the first nine of a 12-1 run that turned an 8-6 game into the beginnings of a rout at 20-7 with 3:23 left in the first period.
The margin was still manageable at 28-16 at the end of that first session.
But it quickly became unmanageable in the second quarter, as Hines really wanted to know which bus his team had hopped on back to Mequon, as the Highlanders missed all 15 shots from the field and went one for seven from the foul line.
Meanwhile, the Warhawks pushed the accelerator to the floor and never let up, outscoring Homestead 20-1 and taking that decisive 48-17 advantage into the break.
"Man, we just flat out laid an egg here tonight," said Hines. "The guys had a great week of practice, but some of that stuff, like Germantown is the number one team in the state, started to creep in. Then shots that we normally hit didn't fall, and in the end, they just outhustled us."
"We didn't box out and we weren't ready to play."
Homestead (6-1 in league) made a mini-run of 7-0 to start the third quarter, but then towards the end of the session, when Coach Showalter had started to liberally substitute, the Warhawks went on a 13-0 burst to lift the lead to 42 points at 69-27.
"All year long we've been playing from the lead," said Zak Showalter. "We know that if we get off to a good start, it's hard for other teams to catch us."
Especially if Zak Showalter plays like he did tonight as his line included four assists and three steals.
"Well, there was one three-pointer that they made that I didn't think he closed out on very well," laughed Coach Showalter when asked if there was any fault he could find to his son's game this night, "but he got off to that good start and then he started to feel like he couldn't be guarded and then he's so unselfish, as soon as they gave him any extra attention, he got that pass off."
Hines took the praise a level further.
"He's Mr. Basketball (in the state)," said Hines. "No one is on his level right now."
A total of nine Warhawks scored this night as Brian Keller came off the bench for 12 points while Mongan had 10 points and six assists, Dan Studer nine and Averkamp seven.
Center Luke Worthington had 12 points to lead Homestead, but struggled at the foul like, hitting only four of 12 attempts.
In short, the night belonged to Germantown.
There's always a big circle around the Homestead game," said Coach Showalter, "and especially when they come into the game 6-0 in conference and we're 6-0 too. Everybody knew what this game meant and it was tougher this week because of (semester) exams so some people had to miss practice and study a bit harder."
"But we came out ready."
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Sloppy Germantown boys basketball team beats Falls for 60th straight
- Sports Wraps: Dec. 7
- Germantown girls basketball team overpowers Falls, 73-54
- Boys basketball: Early run keeps Germantown's streak intact
- Youthful Germantown grapplers come up just short of Bay in NSC dual opener
- Germantown chasing history
- Dixon's rally keys Bay wrestling team's 41-33 win over Germantown
- Engines on full-blast, Germantown boys roar to easy win in opener
- 'Run and shoot' Germantown girls are aiming for an NSC title
- Blue Knights show balance as basketball season takes off