Showalters bask in glory of another conference title
Senior night win over Nicolet gets emotional
Germantown - Two alleged tough guys met at center court during the Germantown boys' basketball team's senior night ceremonies Feb. 16 before the Warhawks' 90-54 North Shore Conference title-clinching win over Nicolet.
They hugged for a long time as the cheers grew louder and then they cried, making the moment perfect.
"That was a tough one," Warhawks' coach Steve Showalter said of greeting his son, Zak, the last of nine seniors introduced that evening. "I didn't think he would cry because he's so tough, too, but I knew I would.
"But when he lost it first, I couldn't help it (and he lost it, too). I didn't want to let go either, because when one of us would let go, it would be a sign that it was all ending for us (all the basketball they shared over the last four years).
"There's been a lot of ball played here the last few years."
Zak admitted the moment was not easy for him either.
"It was a very mutual feeling," he said. "It was really tough to go out there and play after that. I just can't believe how fast all this time has gone. I can't even comprehend it. We've watched so many great guys go (as seniors) the last few years.
"Now it feels like we're saying goodbye to the whole doggone city."
Or, as his longtime friend, point guard and running mate Josh Mongan put it: " 'Z' (Zak) and I have had an interesting four years together (on varsity)," he said. "We'd always go to these senior night games and then we'd come back and play the next year. Now here we are, we're the ones being honored. It's our year.
Assistant has two graduating
And before you think that it all might have been a little overkill, a little too personal in a hugely public situation, consider this: Showalter and son were not the only father and son deal going this night, as longtime Warhawks assistant Dan Doedens also got a big hug from his son, Jimmy, another senior being honored.
In fact, it was a busy week for Doedens' senior, as second son, Nick, had his senior night at Concordia University earlier this week, where the Falcons clinched their own third straight conference title.
"It really means a lot," Dan said. "This is my 14th year in a row here (with the Germantown basketball team, with three sons playing in that time). To see them all be with successful programs and succeed like this is just so special."
Compounding that point is how wildly successful this current group has been.
Zak Showalter is the school's all-time leading scorer and will likely leave with most of Germantown's important offensive records. To say that he and Mongan (along with their longtime friend and center Dan Studer) have been consummate winners, is an understatement.
With the Nicolet victory, the 21st in a row this season, and a win that clinched at least a share of their third North Shore Conference title in a row, they now have an 84-12 record in their four-year careers.
There is not any group that is even close to that mark in Germantown history.
So it is safely said to seniors Zak Showalter, Mongan, Studer, Matt Schultz, Troy and Tyler Heaney, Brian Keller, Jimmy Doedens, and Zack Kumbier, take a bow.
"This is something special," Studer said. "We've been playing together since fifth grade, and we want to make this the best run possible.
"… But we never thought that we'd be this good."
It was just more of the same for Germantown against a rebuilding Nicolet team (3-10, 5-16) that had just recently found its feet and had won three of its last four games.
The score was 7-0 and 19-2 as the press forced seven first quarter turnovers. Studer scored the first five points of the game en route to nine total points and Zak Showalter had seven points in the period which would multiple to 26 before the night was through. Younger brother Jake added 12.
It was 26-5 at the quarter and the margin, as it has on several occasions this season, reached 40 (75-35) before coach Showalter made it a happy senior night with everybody getting some minutes.
"We got into our rotation and I think we wore them down," coach Showalter said.
Fischer gets some minutes
Helping out the Warhawks by coming off the bench and playing for the first time in well over a month was 6-11 junior center Luke Fischer. His still healing hand (he had suffered a broken pinkie) was carefully wrapped, but he played hard and strong and finished with 16 points and did his usual job of intimidator under the basket.
And he did it on just one day of practice.
"I joked with the guys it was like getting a transfer in from Texas who was really good," coach Showalter said. "He (Fischer) was like 'Coach, can I go in?' It was very warm welcome back."
Which, as coach Showalter alluded to, he did not want to let go of.
So after the handshake line and before everybody headed off to the locker room, he made sure to call everyone on the team back so they could mount the obligatory NSC championship ladder and cut down the nets. That title was made officially free and clear Friday night, when Whitefish Bay upset second-place Homestead.
Everybody took a turn getting a piece of the twine.
And, of course, it was the son, Zak, and then the father, Steve, who got the last turns with the scissors.
Zak held his piece of twine for the admiring photographers and then Steve cut down the remaining net and did what he has down five times in the last six years, thrusting it out in admiring triumph to the remaining fans.
It was then, no doubt, that he felt closest to finding the perfect definition to the lines he wrote for Zak in the special senior night program that fans received before the game.
"I am the luckiest coach and dad in the world. I love you son."
Countdown to perfection
GT tries to finish the regular season unbeaten
UP NEXT: With the victory over Nicolet and added in with the 96-62 rout of Port Washington on Feb. 14, the Warhawks (13-0, 21-0) have clinched the top seed in its half of the WIAA Division 1 Manitowoc sectional. In the Port game, the Warhawks set a school record with 15 three-pointers. They will now try to achieve something a Germantown team never has before: an unbeaten regular season. But standing in their way is Homestead (11-2, 18-3) which hosts the Warhawks in the regular season closer tonight. Germantown, without Fischer, routed the Highlanders, 86-48, on Jan. 20.
The WIAA tournament begins with a regional semifinal at Germantown on March 2 against the winner of Waukesha South and Hartford. If the Warhawks would win, they would host a regional final on March 3 against the victor of Waukesha West and Menomonee Falls.
QUOTE: "We've known what the goal is all year long (a state title)," Zak Showalter said. "Now it's time to shoot for it."
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