Lions can't overcome Whitnall's fast start
Timmer scores 17 in third-quarter comeback attempt
Greenfield — From beginning to end Friday night at Whitnall, the New Berlin Eisenhower boys basketball team had a rough night.
Whitnall buried Eisenhower early on the court, rolling to a 61-50 victory.
The win kept the Falcons in first place (9-1, 10-4 overall) in the Woodland Conference Blue Division, while the defending champion Lions, who have won five straight division titles, fell to 7-3, 9-5 overall, two games behind Whitnall and one behind second-place South Milwaukee (8-2, 10-3).
The Falcons jumped off to a 12-2 lead as Stephen Pelkofer had two thundering dunks in the 12-0 run to help Whitnall to a 19-10 first-quarter lead. Pelkofer and Bryan Nagy had six and five points in the period, while Keith Kahlfeldt had five for Eisenhower.
"Pelkofer ignited us with his two dunks, two really good dunks and the other guys followed and set the tone the rest of the night," Whitnall's veteran coach Kent Kroupa said. "Our defense created a tempo that would slow them down.
"They like to push the ball down the floor. Our 2-2-1 zone took them out of it. We didn't give them a lot of good looks. We tried to take away (Keith) Kahlfeldt and (Reed) Timmer. They can hurt you inside and outside so at least they weren't both clicking at the same time."
Kahlfeldt had eight of his 13 points in the first half, as Whitnall took a 35-16 lead. Timmer, who led both teams with 24 points, was a one-man show with 17 points in the third quarter, putting the Lions back into the game.
"He's extremely poised, has a knowledge of the game," Kroupa said. "He has a nice flow to him. He's an outing freshman and for the next three years, good luck defending him."
Close, but not enough
When Kahlfeldt nailed two free throws to open the fourth quarter, the Lions cut the score to five (44-39), but that was the closest they could get as they managed to miss seven free throws down the stretch to hurt their comeback effort.
Whitnall's Joe Kelnhofer led the way with 18 points, including six in that fourth quarter, and Pelkofer added 11 and Geoff Wisialowski nine.
Lions coach Dave Scheidegger was disappointed with his team's lack of competitiveness at this stage of the season.
"This disposition we have, we need to get tougher, more competitive," he said. "We have a lot of nice kids. We can play, but it takes five hits on the noggin sometimes … we can talk about putting out a more competitive personality on the court.
"We have to show more poise, play with more confidence, but that has to come from the kids. It has to come from within. They have to have a little swagger, not arrogance, just a little more edge. It's hard, but we try, the kids are trying."
Afterwards Kroupa talked about the importance of the win.
"It's a really good rivalry between Whitnall and Eisenhower," he said. "Sure it's good to put up more distance between them, so I have to say it's a really big win for us. But tonight means very little unless we follow through."
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