New Berlin - When it comes to huge plays, New Berlin Eisenhower senior forward Keith Kahlfeldt has come up big for the Lions the past two years.
Kahlfeldt, who has been on the varsity for three seasons, is one of six seniors on this year's team. However, he was the only one with a great deal of playing experience coming into this year.
The Lions have won three straight conference championships, so Kahlfeldt felt some pressure coming into this season.
"Yeah I did feel a lot of pressure coming off three conference titles in a row," he said. "I had to do a good job. And we had a good supporting cast.
"I just try to be the best leader based on what I do on and off the court. I do the best I can in school. I try and make the best plays on the court. I play with passion.
"Going into season I knew I needed to have a big year. I played AAU this summer. I had a great summer shooting. If I can score underneath, it will open up a lot if teams double team me in the lane."
Making others better
Eisenhower coach Dave Scheidegger knows what Kahlfeldt means to his team.
"He is someone that makes other players better," Scheidegger said. "He is second on the team in assists. He is not a black hole. If the ball comes into him, he will find the open man."
As a result, Kahlfeldt has made it easier for two long-range specialists on the team.
When most people think of the Lions, they think of sensational sophomore point guard Reed Timmer, the team's top scorer (17.6 points per game average) and top assists person, who has hit some big game-winning shots in his young career.
The last few weeks the play of junior guard Sandro Pesquiera has come into play, as the long-range bomber (11.3 points average) has had some huge scoring days from downtown.
All this while Kahlfeldt goes about his business underneath.
Last year against Pewaukee, the Lions trailed by three. Alex McRae missed a 3-point shot with five seconds left, but Kahlfeldt grabbed the rebound, wide open underneath. But the heady Kahlfeldt knew a rebound basket meant nothing and immediately kicked the ball out to Timmer, who drilled a 3-pointer to send the game into overtime and an eventual Lions victory.
"If it comes down to it, I like to have the ball in the high-pressure situation," Kahlfeldt said. "Whether I score or pass, I want the ball in my hands."
Leading the team, too
In a 60-58 win over Whitnall a few weeks ago, it was Kahlfeldt who put the team on his back with a couple of eight-point quarters, as he dominated the Falcons underneath.
"When I need to score, give me the ball when I'm on a roll."
In a 50-49 win over Greendale 10 days before the Whitnall win, he scored to tie the game, was fouled and then converted the free throw to win the game with no time on the clock.
Although a senior, Kahlfeldt said his best friend on the team is sophomore Timmer.
"Reed and I know what each other is going to do at all times," Kahlfeldt said. "He's great. We're best friends and hang out all the time outside of basketball. It helps on the court. In practice we're competitive, so it makes us both better."
Kahlfeldt is an example of someone who leads by example.
"He is so passionate - everyone knows that," Scheidegger said. "People know the amount of time he has put in in the off-season growing up. They don't want to let him down. He has the attitude 'I care about this.' He is very committed to it."
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