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Warhawks boys two steps away from state berth

Hamilton on deck, rematch with De Pere possible

March 6, 2012

Germantown - Now the tricky stuff starts for the Germantown boys basketball team.

The Warhawks (24-0) cruised into this weekend's WIAA sectional play in impressive fashion, with routs of Hartford and Menomonee Falls, and in the process, they quietly put coach Steve Showalter over the 200 wins mark for his career (201-78 in his 12th season).

But there are still much bigger fish to fry. They got a bit of a surprise when area rival Sussex Hamilton (13-11) upset both Homestead and Arrowhead last weekend in regional play and earned the right to challenge the Warhawks in an 8:30 p.m. WIAA sectional semifinal Thursday at Waukesha North.

Meanwhile, the northern tier of the Manitowoc sectional got delayed by Friday's snowstorm that hit the center part of the state much harder than it did the southeast. Tense regional final matchups between fourth-ranked De Pere (22-1) and Kimberly (17-6) and seventh-ranked Sheboygan North (20-3) and fifth-ranked Bay Port (20-3) were played Monday to determine the other sectional semifinal to be played Thursday.

If Germantown wins Thursday night, tickets will likely be sold on site at North.

The sectional final will be played at Manitowoc at 1:30 p.m. Saturday as the Warhawks continue on the road toward its third state tournament berth in five years. They were denied that slot with a controversial Tuesday WIAA Super Sectional loss to Appleton East last season. The Super Sectional concept was voted out of existence after just one year by the state coaches' association.

Germantown handed De Pere its only loss of the season in December, 60-49, at Concordia, while De Pere survived a 57-54 decision over Bay Port three weeks ago.

Wary of next opponent

Showalter said he and his staff were going to use the Monday night games as a chance for some easy scouting, but knows nothing is easy in terms of the games at this point in the season.

He knows he will not have a walk-through with Hamilton. The Chargers, only the seventh-seed in the sectional are led by superhot, 6-3 sophomore wing Brady Ellingson, who had 25 points in the win over Homestead and 33 in the near-miracle comeback against Arrowhead on Saturday. They have won six of their last eight games.

Showalter knows that the Chargers have enormous incentive against his team, as Germantown knocked out Sussex Hamilton from the WIAA tournament in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

"It's interesting, we're not really prepared for them," Showalter said, "but there is the rivalry thing that will carry over from the football season (when the Chargers knocked the Warhawks out of the WIAA playoffs). There are some of the same kids that are involved. They know we ended their season quite a few times so they would be plenty happy to end ours."

Team playing at a high level

But Germantown is playing at a very high level right now as the Warhawks have scored 70 or more points in 13 straight games. And no one is looking past the Chargers toward the sectional final.

"Nope," all-state guard Zak Showalter said. "Our confidence level is really high right now, but we're only focusing on Sussex right now. We know they'll give us a tough challenge just like they always do."

If the Warhawks defeat the Chargers, they will break the school record for victories that they set last year in their stellar 24-2 campaign.

The only number the Warhawks are worrying about, however, is the number one, and finishing with that elusive, first-ever state title.

"Our guys are so unselfish right now," coach Showalter said. "They just enjoy being together. They're not worried about who gets the shot just whether we win or not. We can go 10 guys deep without hurting ourselves and our energy is very high right now. If one person doesn't hit the shot, someone else will."

And that spells bad news for everyone else in the sectional field.

Sectional ticket policy

WHAT: WIAA Division 1 Boys Sectional Basketball Championship

WHERE: Manitowoc's Lincoln's John F. Kennedy field house, 1433 South Eighth St.

WHEN: 1:30 p.m. Saturday

TICKET DETAILS: The two schools competing in the game are allotted a certain number of tickets and will be preselling those tickets after the sectional semifinals are contested.

No tickets will be sold at Manitowoc prior the day of the game. Remaining tickets will go on sale at noon Saturday at the field house when the main doors open before the 1:30 p.m. tipoff.

Any questions, contact Manitowoc Athletic Director John Johnson at (920) 683-4861 (ext. 6105).

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