MADISON - Milwaukee King
through the wringer in the WIAA Division 1 championship game Saturday, but the Warhawks emerged from the battle victorious to win the title and finish the season undefeated at 28-0.
It was a game that went down to the wire. Even though Germantown won the game, 72-69, the Generals made them sweat for the entire 32 minutes with their constant pressure to make up for their lack of size.
"Their pressure bothered us," winning Germantown coach Steve Showalter
said. "I told my guys before the game . . . . 'Don't make me sit up on that table after the game and tell those guys that we weren't ready for that pressure.' We were ready for it. We knew it was coming. It was a beast trying to hamdle it. Every trip up the floor was a war, every trip, the whole night."
Every possession by both teams was nerve-racking. Germantown wasn't going to run away with the game as they did the previous 27 games they played. They have been behind in a couple of games, but they haven't had to deal with the lead seesawing back-and-forth or with the score deadlocked. There were 13 lead changes and eight ties in the game.
When the fouls stacked up against the Generals in the last 5 minutes 30 seconds in the fourth quarter, it wasn'
t going to be King's night at the free-throw line. The Warhawks went to the line 37 times and made 29 free-throws. King had 10 attempts and made five of them.
Was the officiating impartial? No it wasn't, but what can you do?
King coach Jim Gosz
felt bad for his kids, who are smaller in size, because the opportunity to take the wind out of Germantown's sails was right there and they needed some breaks to go their way.
"I just feel for my kids," a dejected Gosz said after the game. "They worked their tails off all year and they're just crushed. We did out best. We didn't have anything 6-11, 6-7, 6-5. And we got 6-2 hard kids, kids who just battle. That's the way we are."
Gosz has been to Madison 11 times in his 22-year coaching career, collecting four gold balls for state championships and three silver balls for being the runner-up. He is in favor of the WIAA moving the tournament to Green Bay next year as it has been discussed.
He took a walk along State St. in Madison over the weekend, an area with lots of action, activity and partying. According to him, people around there didn't care that it was a tournament going on. State St. is a block from the Kohl Center.
Gosz is ready for a fresh start in a new city and wants to see a Final Four atmosphere for the four teams in the state field in each division who won their sectionals. Maybe he's wearing out his welcome in Madison.
You can't take anything away from Germantown. They came out winners. All the players on this year's team will remember the moment the rest of their lives.