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Record-breaking win a memorable night for Germantown

Team streak at 64 games and still going

Dec. 22, 2013

Sixty-three.

It's a number that's hard for Germantown boys basketball coach Steve Showalter to wrap his head around, but there it was on Dec. 17, as his Warhawks rallied from a sluggish start and eventually pulled away from Milwaukee Lutheran, 90-63, to take sole ownership of the state winning streak record.

Such a far-flung thing that record seemed a season ago, when the Warhawks went into Dominican's noisy little gym and beat the eventual state Division 4 champs. Showalter even took a photo of the banner that sits in the corner of that gym commemorating the great 62-game streak that the Green Knights put together 33 years ago.

But there it was, up-close and personal on that Dec. 17 night, a feat so big that Showalter could not contain the excitement.

Even he admitted to feeling a little "jacked up" about this noisy night.

The fans were singing "Happy Birthday" to his wife, Jill, before the game (he said he did remember the date and she was pleased that he did), and there were tons of media at the contest.

Coming out with vengeance

"As an athlete and a kid you can recognize that this was more than just your usual game," he said. "Then we didn't start well, Lutheran was playing great out of the gate and that didn't help the stress level. We needed to come with a vengeance in the third quarter and we did."

A 32-10 third quarter run took the drama out of what had been a close game, as five players broke into double figures led by Jake Showalter and Evan Wesenberg with 17 points apiece.

After the final buzzer sounded, someone gave Coach Showalter a microphone, and, as usual, in moments like these, he handled it well.

"I grabbed the mic and just started talking," he said. "I wanted to thank people and I know I don't get to do that often enough, because there are so many who have had a hand in this."

Former players, volunteer coaches, people who work the concession stands, managers, that list goes on and on in Showalter's mind.

Then afterward, the student section at Germantown, which had been pretty restrained beforehand, came out on the court to celebrate with their team, their classmates.

"The kids (the players) hadn't been too excited about it beforehand," Coach Showalter said, and in interviewing them on Dec. 14, when they had tied the streak record with a win over Dominican, they were pretty low-key about things.

"That's just the way of our kids this year," Coach Showalter said. "They don't get too excited when they're doing well or too down when they're not."

Different groups, personalities

It's all part of the long-form narrative that the coach Showalter started writing with the program 14 years ago, when he took a "do-nothing" moribund team in a football town and created an empire that is now a two-time WIAA state champion and is ranked 10th nationally.

To him, it still seems the most ephemeral of things.

"Yesterday (Dec. 19) I was shoveling my driveway and I was thinking that after Zak (his eldest son), Josh Mongan and Dan Studer graduated (in 2012) that we'd never win another game," he said, "and then when Luke (state player of the year Fischer) graduated last year, again, I didn't think we'd win another game.

"But good things continue to happen and kids continue to step up. It (the streak) could end today, it could end tomorrow. This isn't like a state title where we can sit back and enjoy it for six months. We have to keep fighting, keep working to make sure this keeps going."

To keep it tangible, at least for awhile.

ON AN ALL-TIME ROLL

Schedule is heady

MOVING ON: Germantown's record improved to 64 with a 73-50 victory over Grafton on Friday, and could have reached 65 with a win over Pius XI on Saturday. The schedule remains hectic, as they take part in the WBBY Classic at Concordia in Mequon after the holiday. They play Milwaukee Vincent (2-2) at 7:30 p.m. Friday and then challenge fifth-ranked Oshkosh North (5-1) at the same time on Saturday.

COACH'S THOUGHTS: "Now we can get back to work, but with even more games on the schedule this weekend, and then next week, it's hard to get time in for practices."

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