Fueled by a barrage of third-quarter 3-pointers, the New Berlin Eisenhower boys basketball team overwhelmed Catholic Memorial in the second half of a 55-46 WIAA Division 2 regional basketball game.
Senior guard and Drake University recruit Reed Timmer led all players with 25 points for the Lions, who finished the third quarter on a 17-3 run and never looked back.
Timmer, who finished a shade under his season average of 28.7 points per game, made two of the Lions' five 3s in the third quarter, including two of three made in consecutive possessions — senior Bennett Kohlhardt had the other — that turned a 30-23 deficit into a 32-30 advantage.
The Lions (18-5) would never trail again.
Eight quick points
Timmer added a pair of free throws and was quickly followed by 3s from Jack Sirek and another by Kohlhardt as the Lions pushed their lead to 40-33 after three quarters.
On the night, the Lions made nine of 24 shots from beyond the arc.
"We don't have an aircraft carrier in there or anything," Eisenhower coach David Scheidegger said. "We have to work very hard for what we get. Let's face it, we're all 6-1 guards, like most high school teams. But we've done just great with that. I don't think we take a back seat to anybody."
During a foul-fest fourth quarter, Eisenhower always led by at least seven points.
Sirek finished with 13 points and Kohlhardt had nine, all in the second half.
"I thought tonight was very good," Scheidegger said. "We played smart. Memorial is very good, and it's a big game for us. Our kids did a great job."
As the Lions were knocking down three after three, Catholic Memorial's offense, and momentum, dissipated. The Crusaders went 8 minutes, 40 seconds without a field goal during a stretch that began midway through the third. During that time, Catholic Memorial also made just two of eight free throws.
"We could never get that feeling like we're getting into a position where we felt we could win," Crusaders coach Dean Bellanti said. "We were always in a position of waiting for when their run was coming. All of a sudden, you find yourself down 10. The game changed very quickly. We felt like we were doing some very nice things and it just changed."
The Crusaders (6-17) put a scare into the Lions with a solid second quarter. Eisenhower struggled offensively, making just two of 10 shots, including misses on all five 3-point tries.
Big first half
As much as they struggled offensively, the Lions equally did so trying to stop senior guard Ayinde Starling, who scored his team's final nine points of the half to give the Crusaders a 25-23 halftime lead.
Starling got his run going with a pair of free throws and then scored on back-to-back layups, the first of which came on the receiving end of an alley-oop pass from Jake Shomin. His 3-pointer with 1:45 remaining was the final basket of the half.
Starling, however, picked up a third foul in the third quarter and was never able to regain his first-half steam. He finished with 20 points, 15 in the first half.
"That second quarter was really Ayinde at his best," Bellanti said, "but the fouls took him out of the game."
Eisenhower looked as if it was going to pull away early when it finished the first quarter on an 8-0 run over the final 1:44, a stretch that included two 3-pointers by Timmer. One of the 3s was a pull-up jumper that followed an athletic steal by the senior guard as the Lions built an 18-8 advantage.
It's the second straight season the Lions have ended the Crusaders' season. Last winter, Eisenhower beat Catholic Memorial, 52-43, in a sectional semifinal before falling a game shy of a trip to state with a loss to Wisconsin Lutheran.
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