New Berlin — A slow start is a relative term for a player like Reed Timmer.
Containing the reigning Woodland Conference West Division Player of the Year is both a mental and physical strain on opposing defenses.
On Friday night, Pewaukee did its best to shut down Timmer and New Berlin Eisenhower, but the Lions overcame a three-point halftime deficit to bounce back for a 52-45 victory.
Timmer was held to two points in the opening quarter and the Lions trailed early, but he came back and finished with 21 points.
Timmer is tough
He has shown unmatched toughness, with teams constantly focused on the Drake University recruit.
"I don't know if people understand — especially if you've never played the game — how tough Reed Timmer is," Eisenhower coach David Scheidegger said. "His composure, most kids would lose it. The toughness that he has. He just out-determines people, he out-toughs people, he out-passions people. He just works harder than everybody else."
Timmer broke through Pewaukee's defense in the second period. With 4 minutes 38 seconds left in the half, he stole the ball, broke free downcourt and finished the solo play with a layup to cut the Pirates' lead to 16-14.
Timmer added a long two-point shot at the end of the half and began the third quarter drilling a 3-pointer to tie the game at 24-24.
The Lions took a 29-28 advantage after a Jack Sirek three-pointer at 2:56.
Pewaukee led by eight at the beginning of the second quarter, but Timmer said Eisenhower felt more comfortable as time went on.
"We just got a feel for the game," said Timmer. "Our guys did a great job adjusting. We started getting a flow and see what works for our team and where the ball can find you and the spots that work the best."
Eisenhower was prepared for a physical Pewaukee team.
"We knew coming into the game they were going to be chippy and be physical," Timmer said. "So we had to be physical back. We had to be strong on the boards. Credit to our guys. Everyone just came together as a team and we really worked well together."
Near the end of the third, senior guard Bennett Kohlhardt nailed a three-pointer to help Eisenhower take a 32-31 lead it would not relinquish.
Defense slows posts
Eisenhower can't match Pewaukee's height, but its tenacious defense held post players Eric Lutzen (three points) and Joe Buschman (four points) mostly in check.
"I thought we did pretty good," Scheidegger said. "It was a lot of heart. It was kind of the David-and-Goliath thing. It was a fight."
Pewaukee coach Michael Basile felt his team committed a few blunders when it came to guarding a dangerous threat like Timmer.
"There's a couple times where we had lapses," Basile said. "We know he's a good shooter and to leave him open a couple of those times, there's no excuses. I don't know why he was open. I'd rather have a guy make a layup than hit the long ones."
Kohlhardt added 10 points for Eisenhower, while Sirek had 8.
Pewaukee junior guard Evan Hansen had a team-high 12 points and senior guard Ryan Stepanovich added 10 points with two 3-pointers.
The victory capped a fine week for the Lions, who also downed Pius XI 64-50 on Dec. 3 behind 26 points from Timmer, 16 by Brett Hanson and eight from Brett Uelner.
Eisenhower held a 28-21 halftime lead and a 45-33 edge after three periods.
The Lions, who improved to 4-0 in the Woodland and 5-0 overall, visit South Milwaukee of the East Division at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
They then welcome Brown Deer (4-0, 5-0) at 7:30 p.m. next Tuesday in a battle of current division leaders.
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