New Berlin Eisenhower rallied behind the offense of Reed Timmer and the defense of Corbin Messman and defeated Catholic Memorial, 52-43, Thusday at Greenfield and advanced to the WIAA Division 2 sectional finals at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The two top seeds - Eisenhower (22-3) and Wisconsin Lutheran (20-5) - will meet at West Allis Central to decide who advances to the state tournament. Wisco defeated Milwaukee Washington, 52-48, to advance Thursday.
After seeing Timmer score nine points in the first quarter, Memorial's Andre Bodden helped shut him out in the second period, as the Crusaders overcame a 14-11 first-period deficit to take a 24-20 lead into intermission.
Bodden added two baskets to start the second half for a 28-20 lead, before Timmer took over the game, as he has done many times throughout his three-year career.
First he scored on an inbounds play, drew a foul and tossed in a free throw. Then he sank two more free throws, scored on a drive, was fouled and finished another 3-point play and drilled a 3-pointer to complete a personal 11-0 run for a 31-30 lead.
"Everything was falling in the first quarter," Timmer said. "In the second quarter, I tried to feel the game out and see what was going on. In the third quarter, I felt I could get by my guy and shoot or set my teammates up.
"Once I saw that was working in the third quarter we went on that big run and never looked back."
"When you have Reed Timmer, obviously you have the ace in the hole," Ike coach Dave Scheidegger said. "You got the X-factor, and that is always right there. He can do things in a blink of the eye that are just unstoppable."
After Ayinde Starling tipped in a rebound for a 32-31 lead, that was the last time Memorial had the lead with 2:13 left in the third quarter.
Messman scored and Mitch Arman put in a rebound as Ike took the lead back, 35-32, before Ty Sabin dropped in two free throws to end the period.
Eisenhower went on a 7-0 run to begin the fourth period as Timmer converted a bonus situation, then passed to Charlie Sirek for a layup. Sandro Pesqueira then buried a deep 3-pointer from the right corner and Ike had a 42-34 lead and the game.
Lost in all this was the outstanding defensive play of Messman, who held Sabin to four points, 15 under his average.
"There is nobody who does not like Messman," Scheidegger said. "He just gives you everything. He is one of those kids who everyone would love to coach. It's just all heart what Corbin did. And you have to be kind of smart to move around stuff."
Messman found out the night before that he was going to guard the talented Sabin.
"I have a lot of respect for that player," Messman said. "It was a mission to not let him win the game for them. Make the other players score. We knew if we shut down him, the game was going to go in our favor.
"I wanted to limit his touches. He's a dangerous player with the ball, and without it as well. The least amount of touches he gets, it limits their chances to win."
Memorial coach Dean Bellanti wasn't happy with his offense.
"We were out of sync tonight," he said. "They seemed to extend their pressure against us, more so than we saw in previous games that we scouted. We were in a hurry tonight, and we didn't need to be. We didn't get into a rhythm offensively.
"It wasn't just not being able to get the ball to Ty, but the five players on the floor weren't in sync together.
"When they got that separation we were in the chase mode and then offensively, we really struggled."
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