• Hamilton Beats DSHA Again

    WAUWATOSA - To prove that visiting Sussex Hamilton was for real in repeating as Greater Metro Conference champs, they passed their first real test of the conference season in an overtime thriller, 39-36, Jan. 18, at Divine Savior Holy Angels.

    The game featured the area's eighth and ninth scorers in DSHA sophomore sensation Arike Ogunbowale and junior Mackenzie Latt. Ogunbowale entered the game averaging 21 points per game through 11 games and Latt checked in at 20.5 through 13 games. Both players were under their averages as Ogunbowale finished with 20 in the game and Latt had 13.

    Any motivation that the Chargers (13-1 overall, 7-0 conference) can draw to overcome the hostile DSHA crowd and a packed house was evident from the loss of one of their senior leading rebounders in Jenny Shernell, who's out for the season with an ACL injury.

    "It's got to be a team effort," Hamilton coach Dan Carey said. "Everybody's got to chip in. Jenny was one of the heart and soul players, a very productive rebounder and a really good senior leader and a rock. I feel for her as a person first and the basketball side is secondary to me."

    The first quarter went the Chargers' way as they led 7-4. However, with Ogunbowale leading the way and getting hot in the second quarter with her 15 first half points, the Dashers attacked the basket, got into a rhythm and scored 18 points in the second to take a 22-14 lead into the locker room. Latt led her team with nine first half points.

    It was still a tight game in the third quarter. Hamilton had to play without Latt late in the third when she picked up her third foul with 3 minutes 20 seconds left. The Chargers didn't panic. A basket by senior forward Tristen Hayes, who stepped in for Shernell, gave them the lead at 28-27. Ogunbowale's 3-point play put the Dashers back on top at 30-28.

    "It was the first start of (Hayes') career," Carey said. "Tristen is working very hard to be in this position when her number is called. She just steps in and does her job. And that's a great lesson for anybody that might not get any playing time is to keep playing and keep trying to get better. Unfortunately, with (Shernell's) injury, the opportunity came and she's taking advantage of it."

    In the fourth quarter, DSHA (11-2, 5-1) held a 34-30 lead with 3:42 left in regulation. Hamilton caught up when the game was tied at 36-36 with 46 seconds remaining and the Dashers with the ball. Ogunbowale, on an isolation play, ran the clock down but couldn't get off a good shot. The game went into overtime with the score still tied at 36-all.

    "We have to stick together and we have to play together," junior guard Hannah Menzia said. "That's how we got those (second half) runs."

    In overtime, Hayes made 1 of 2 free-throws for a 37-36 Hamilton lead and freshman guard Taylor Klug made the final basket on a layup from an out of bounds play. "To run the out of bounds play," said Carey, "all five of them have to be doing their jobs for it to be right and that's what they did."

    Just when the game appeared to be over for good, senior Shaylan Reardon was fouled with 0.5 seconds in overtime. She made the first free-throw, but when she missed the second one. Menzia grabbed the rebound to seal the deal.

    Hamilton has a 1 1/2 game lead on DSHA with surging Brookfield Central right behind. After the weekend, don't be surprised if Hamilton is the area's top team and DSHA falls a few notches below. The Dashers were this week's top area team and the Chargers were No. 3. The rematch is Feb. 21 at Hamilton in the last regular season game and it may decide the conference championship again, which Hamilton won last year.