Germantown boys post stunning romp over Homestead
Showalter's 36 points paces 86-48 rout
Germantown - 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 No. 1-ranked Warhawks gets hurt.
Because even without injured 6-11 center Luke Fischer, the Warhawks dominated the boards, out-hustled and flat outplayed seventh-ranked Homestead by a lopsided, 86-48 count in what was supposed to be a first-place showdown in the North Shore on Friday night.
Whitefish Bay girls coach Greg Capper, whose own previously undefeated team lost a showdown to defending state champion Nicolet on Jan. 13, reflected on what it was like to play high-pressure, high-intensity teams.
"You can't simulate what Germantown (boys) and Nicolet (girls) do in practice," he said. "You try and go at overspend and you train hard and you think your kids are ready. Then you get into the game and these hands and feet come flying at you from all different directions and all of sudden it becomes very, very hard."
And it doesn't help a team like Homestead's cause when Germantown's all-state guard Zak Showalter feels like he was virtually unguardable, and essentially he was Friday, 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 pinkie 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 Highlanders 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."
Start buries Highlanders
That much was evident by the hungry, almost ravenous way the suddenly shorter Warhawks (7-0 in conference) dominated the boards, as they grabbed 45 total rebounds including 18 offensive.
Leading the way was 6-6 sophomore forward Jon Averkamp and 5-10 point guard Josh Mongan with 10 each.
"We just watched film and studied their tendencies all week," Mongan said, "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," Showalter said. "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 as 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 26-18 at the end of that first session.
Homestead goes ice cold
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," Hines said. "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 out-hustled 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 toward 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," Zak Showalter said. "We know that if we get off to a good start, it's hard for other teams to catch us."
Especially if Showalter plays like he did Friday as his line included four assists and three steals.
"Well, there was one 3-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 Friday, "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."
Showalter best in state
Hines took the praise a level further.
"He's Mr. Basketball (in the state)," Hines said. "No one is on his level right now."
A total of nine Warhawks scored 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 line, hitting only four-of-12 attempts.
In short, the night belonged to Germantown.
There's always a big circle around the Homestead game," Coach Showalter said, "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."
WHAT'S IT LIKE TO FACE THIS PRESSURE?: Hines, who coached the Milwaukee Vincent girls to three state titles earlier this decade, knows what an excellent team looks like, and what an excellent team does to make itself even better and he saw those same things in the Warhawks' relentless pressure Friday night.
"We just weren't hungry enough," he said. "Germantown? They were hungry. They came out with second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth effort. We were first and second effort and we were done. They got to the ball and they dove for it. They outplayed us and outworked us."
UP NEXT: Germantown, which took on second-ranked in Division 3 East Troy on Saturday (see separate story), hosts defending state Division 2 champ Whitefish Bay (5-2, 9-4) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The Warhawks defeated Bay in the first North Shore game of the season, 77-48, and Blue Dukes coach Kevin Lazovik will try, like Hines, to find a way to slow down the relentless Warhawks.
"We'll get out there in practice with badminton rackets and we'll go five on seven," he said, not joking in the least. "We'll just do everything we can (to simulate the speed at which Germantown plays)."
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