There wasn't an Averkamp, Bearden, Wesenberg or Showalter (not even the coach) in sight when the Germantown boys summer basketball team beat Milwaukee King, 63-50, on July 1 at the Kern Center on the MSOE campus in Milwaukee.
The win gave the Warhawks an unprecedented fourth straight Whiz Kids League summer championship and improved their overall record for the break time to 23-1, including a 10-0 mark in the Milwaukee Lutheran league.
How is this possible, given that the aforementioned drivers for the historic three straight WIAA state high school championships the Warhawks have won, have graduated and were not even likely in the building observing the proceedings?
Germantown high school coach Steve Showalter, who is not permitted to lead the summer team per WIAA rules, said that pride, the leadership of summer coach Dave Huebner and some greatly undervalued talent put the Warhawks in this current position.
"No one knows almost any of these players, but they have Germantown on the front of their jersey and then they start playing like Germantown," Showalter said.
They include lightning quick to-be junior guard Juwan McCloud, who spent most of the season as Lamonte Bearden's backup after his transfer from Menomonee Falls.
He had 18 points in the Whiz Kids' final and Showalter said "he has taken over" floor leadership of the team. Another who has taken on a leadership mantle is 6-1 undersized post Kyle Theis, who had 15 points in the victory over King.
"In terms of guts and determination, there's no one better," Showalter said.
Other role players off last winter's team who are now stepping up and trying to fill big shoes include 6-4 forward Dwayne Lawhorn, Jr. (five points); 6-0 Brian Studer (four), 6-5 Max Keefe (seven), 6-5 Conner Edmonds (12) and 6-6 Thomas Schnoor (two). Newcomers include Ryan Mongan, younger brother of former all-world Warhawk guard Josh Mongan, and Tyler Behrendt, both guards.
Showalter said the sky's the limit for the to-be junior Keefe.
He added that Huebner has done an excellent job as usual juggling the schedules of athletes who have all sorts of obligations on their plates during the summer months.
"He's a real savior (for the program)," Showalter said, "because we've had guys missing for various reasons all summer."
In short, it's been a remarkable few months for the Warhawks, who graduated seven seniors off their third straight high school state champion, including all five starters.
Even with all that, even given the fact that his sons Zak and Jake Showalter, Luke Fischer, Dan Studer, Josh Mongan, Lamonte' and Brian Bearden, Evan Wesenberg and Jon Averkamp are all gone from the program that put the Warhawks at the very pinnacle of state high school basketball, it is understandable that Steve Showalter does not want to take a step back.
And that concept, that thought should give would-be successors to the Warhawks, who were 82-2 combined these last three state championship seasons and who have not lost a North Shore Conference game since February 2010, some reason for pause.
"We were in the championship game here (Whiz Kids), and we're technically rebuilding," Showalter said, "but we have some big blocks we can build with. The JV won the Lutheran league, and we're hanging in there as best we can. We're finding some pieces, and we're going to keep marching on."
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!
- Germantown cross country teams look great just in time for NSC race
- Germantown's Sam Siebenaller sets records at big Evanston invite
- Last-second pick denies Germantown win against Bay in football thriller
- Germantown swimmers rally for win over D2 champ Grafton
- Football: Michael Kirkendoll's pick lifts Whitefish Bay football team over Germantown
- Germantown boys volleyball team earns top state ranking
- Top-ranked Germantown boys volleyball team fights off Nicolet
- Experienced Germantown boys volleyball team wins New Berlin title
- Germantown football team spoils Homestead's big night, 34-29
- Football: Germantown football team spoils Homestead's big night with 34-29 win