Franklin, Whitnall advance; Oak Creek, Greendale seasons end in first round
Only two of four area teams survive first night of regionals
Franklin — The Muskego boys basketball team's game plan was simple: try and limit Franklin junior forward Nick Romanowski.
The Warriors were mildly successful in doing so in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal at Franklin on Tuesday, holding the 6-foot-7 post player to 18 points, four below his average.
But when Romanowski wasn't filling the basket, his teammates were.
Four Sabers scored nine or more points as Franklin blew out its guests, 75-57, to advance to Saturday's regional final against Milwaukee Hamilton.
"We knew we were going to see zone (defense) and we knew they were going to want to take 'Romo' out of the game," Franklin coach Tim Hogan said. "And we ran our offense very, very well.
"It was a great job offensively making sure we executed. We made a lot of smart decisions. We were smart with the ball."
Oh, yeah, the Sabers made a ton of shots too.
A real shooting match
Franklin (13-10) finished 25 of 40 from the field, a blistering 62.5 percent that included 6 of 9 from beyond the 3-point arc. More impressively, the Sabers made a whopping 17 of their first 22 shots and built a 20-point lead by early in the third quarter.
Holding down Romanowski "is part of the plan," Muskego coach Andy Capes said. "You've gotta kind of hope they don't make every shot they take, and they did. They executed and made shots. Tip your hat to them."
Franklin took control early thanks to an 11-2 first-quarter run during which Muskego (9-14) missed nine consecutive attempts. The Sabers took a 7-6 lead on Paul Lincoln's 3-pointer and never trailed again.
"The game plan was to attack the rim and stay away from taking jump shots," Capes said. "We fell into just taking jump shots and we didn't make any of them, unfortunately, and they did. When you're on the road, sometimes the shots just don't drop. Their kids played hard, too. I don't want to take anything away from them. They hit everything and we didn't."
A team effort
Six different Sabers scored in the second quarter as Franklin built its lead to 37-22 by halftime by making its first six shots of the period and 7 of 10 overall.
In the third quarter, the Sabers' Matt Krueger scored seven of his 17 points as Franklin continued to pull away.
The third also featured a pair of nice efforts for Muskego. Senior Tom Brezinski knocked down three 3-pointers for all nine of his points, and Spencer Lindhorst, another senior, made three straight baskets for six of his eight points.
Muskego cut the lead to 12 at 57-45 on a pair of free throws by Dan Frawley with 7 minutes remaining, but that was as close as the Warriors would get.
Senior Jake Pope led Muskego with 10 points. Macon Plewa had 13 for Franklin and Lincoln finished with nine.
The teams split their regular season games, including a 73-58 Muskego win Jan. 29, the last time they met.
Hamilton is next foe
Next up for the Sabers is top-seeded Milwaukee Hamilton, which will host Franklin on Saturday, although the time was not set by deadline.
The Wildcats (17-3) won the City Conference for just the second time in school history this season and are seeking their first state tournament berth since 1992.
Many consider Hamilton a state championship-caliber team, with junior Elgin Cook, an Iowa State recruit, leading the way at 15.6 points per game.
"There's not many teams that can say that they played the number one and two teams in the state in the same year," Hogan said, also referring to Racine Park, which Franklin played twice.
Park and Hamilton have owned the top two spots in many D1 state rankings all season.
"As far as big-game environment, we can definitely handle it," Hogan said. "These guys are playing with a lot of confidence right now. Don't get me wrong, Hamilton is a tremendous team. They've got a lot of guys that can score and defend well and they play tough man defense.
"We're going to have to be sure we take care of the basketball and execute in the halfcourt like we did (Tuesday). I think our guys can definitely compete."
Whitnall moving on
In other local action Tuesday, only Whitnall (15-6) survived, thanks to senior guard Will Pelkofer's season-high-tying 32 points in a 62-45 home win over Greenfield.
Pelkofer made five 3-pointers en route to his huge night for the Falcons, who broke open a 23-22 game by outscoring the Hustlin' Hawks by 16 in the second half.
It was Whitnall's third win over Greenfield this season and second victory over the Hawks in two weeks.
Fourth-seeded Whitnall will host fifth-seeded Brookfield Central (13-10) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in a D1 regional final.
Other teams struggle
Oak Creek (3-20), seeded 14th, ended its season on a five-game losing streak with a 63-41 loss at Milwaukee Washington despite 15 points from Nick Stout and 12 from Danny Rajchel.
Greendale (5-18), also seeded 14th, closed out with its eighth straight loss, this one a 66-36 defeat to host Waterford.
No Panther scored more than six points.
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