• King Outhustled and Outmuscled in State Semifinal

    MADISON - Going to the boys Division 1 state tournament to bring back the gold ball was a goal that Milwaukee King had in mind, but they returned home empty-handed and embarrassed by an underdog in Mukwonago, Friday, at the Kohl Center in the second semifinal game.

    It wasn't that they they suffered a 64-47 setback to the Indians that was disappointing but how they lost. Mukwonago gave the Generals a taste of their own medicine by solving their full-court press and using their big bodies in the post for a 2-1 margin in the paint (32-16 points).

    "Mukwonago beat us in every aspect of the game," a dejected King coach Jim Gosz said. "They (beat us to) loose balls. They won it tonight. Sometimes the better team just beat you. We get to the middle (of the lane), and they had those big kids there. That's the way we were winning games.

    "This game humbles you real quick. You just feel for your young men who battled all year. I feel for my guys. As someone said a long time ago, 'If you end your season on the Kohl Center floor, it would be fantastic.' When I leave here, I'm going to be very happy. Dejected we lost, but knowing the effort these young men put forward . . . Tonight the better team won."

    Gosz admitted that the Indians' size was too much to handle for his undersized team. Besides dealing with being underappreciated, only Mukwonago believed they could run with King. Now their trip to state for the first time since 1996 will include an appearance in the title game, Saturday, against the top team in Germantown. Certainly, confidence is at an all-time high after the Indians overcame huge odds to beat Madison Memorial and King, the usual visitors at state.

    "The guys on the team never backed down from anything," Nate Tanguay said. "We love the pressure of the great powerhouses. I guess being the underdog, we don't look at ourselves as an underdog ever. We always think that we are the better team. The only team that can beat us is us."

    This was a different King team that gave Germantown all they could handle in last year's title game. Going the last 2 minutes 40 seconds without a basket in the game and a big free-throw discrepancy doomed the Generals. Mukwonago had 35 trips to the free-throw line and made 22 while King converted on 10 of their 14 attempts.

    The Generals had their worst shooting percentage from the field (32%) probably in a long time in the state tournament (16-for-50). The margin for team fouls committed (28-9) by King with their aggressive play and no points from two of their starters leaves them with a lot to work on in the offseason, but as Gosz said, they will be back. If the Generals do make it back to state, they vow to be a much-improved squad.

    The Indians was in control of the game from beginning to the end. They took a 26-25 lead into the locker room at halftime. The game was out of control at times, and instead of the Generals imposing their will on opponent, they let the deficit grow bigger. Mukwonago made 14 of 21 free-throws in the fourth quarter from 12 King fouls.

    It will take some soul-searching for King to reclaim their throne at state and get on top again after two failed attempts in the last two years to bring home the gold ball. Gosz said he will have to take in a Mukwonago football game, perhaps to take a page from the Indians and get some beef from the King football team on his basketball team.