Hamilton hoops program enjoys big night
Junior guard Brady Ellingson knows the history of the Greater Metro Conference and he knows the history between his Sussex Hamilton Chargers and the Wauwatosa East Red Raiders.
The Chargers made it known Friday night in Sussex that the time is now for a changing of the guard in the Greater Metro basketball landscape. Behind a massive fourth quarter from Ellingson, Sussex Hamilton delivered a 60-46 victory over the Red Raiders in a highly important contest between two conference favorites.
On the girls side, Hamilton junior Mackenzie Latt became the program's all-time leading scorer with her 18-point performance in a 69-16 win over Wauwatosa East.
Ellingson scored ten of his game high 23 points in the last quarter to give Sussex Hamilton just its third win over the Red Raiders in the last twenty regular season meetings.
"We beat them last year, but previous to that, I don't think we beat them for like the past 10 years," Ellingson said. "It's always good to beat them and it was just a great game overall.
"A great team effort"
Wauwatosa East has won at least a share of the conference title five times in the last decade but has not done so since 2008. Forgive the Chargers if they don't have much sympathy for Tosa East on that second note; the last conference title for basketball listed on the Hamilton banner is 1979. Despite it being so early in the season, a win over a perennial conference favorite to extend an undefeated start to the year (6-0) has the Chargers faithful buzzing.
"We're trying to stay level headed because we know there are teams in this conference that can beat us on any given night," Ellingson said. "We always have to come out and give it our all.
"We have a core group of guys that have been sticking together since fifth grade, and we are used to winning, so hopefully we can continue to do that."
The first quarter was a nip and tuck battle between two teams clearly prepared for a close fight. Tosa East opened with a zone defense that initially slowed the Chargers attack but a pair of three-pointers from junior Austin Kendziorski forced a change of plans for the Red Raiders on defense.
Tosa East leading scorer, senior point guard Nate Moore, scored eight points in the first frame to pace the Red Raiders. His jump shooting pushed the Red Raiders to a 17-13 lead after the first quarter, and Tosa East seemed in control for much of the first half. Meanwhile, Ellingson didn't take a shot until over five minutes into the game and netted just one basket in the opening quarter.
During a four minute segment bridging the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second, senior Derrick Hunt scored a layup and a pair of free throws, contributing to a six point Tosa East run. That stretch pushed the Red Raiders lead to nine points midway through the second quarter, when the sharp-shooting Ellingson finally found his range.
Moore sees the fact that the Red Raiders controlled some of the game and were able to compete throughout as a positive factor to take from a game. For three quarters, it could have gone either way. With another game over the weekend and an unrelenting conference season just underway, Moore understands the need to turn the page quickly.
"We have to bounce back real quick because we have a bunch of games coming up, but conference wise this game shows that we are right there with them," Moore said. "It shows we belong with them.
"They have to come back to our house, and that's the great thing about conference play; we get another chance to compete against them at our house."
Ellingson came into Friday's game averaging 23 points per game and started his real push to that mark late in the first half. After connecting on a 3-pointer to cut Tosa East's largest lead down to six, Ellingson scored the final basket of the half on another shot from distance, bringing the Chargers to within five points at the break.
Momentum from the second quarter and a scoring surge by senior forward Tony Gumina helped the Chargers storm into the lead by the end of the third frame. Gumina scored on a series of aggressive plays around the basket, facilitating a 12-2 run for Sussex Hamilton, which left them up three going into the last quarter. An emphatic dunk to close out the Chargers offensive output gave Gumina 21 points on the night and made the home crowd go crazy.
Latt breaks mark for girls team
Though the 69-16 win doesn't count as a surprise for the No. 2-ranked team in the state (7-0), Latt now has 829 points in her career, bypassing Christa Goetz (821), a 1991 graduate. Stephanie Kirchner (2009) had been second on the list with 717.
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