Brecklin's point surge guides Indians onward
With so much playing time belonging to a massive returning corps on Mukwonago's boys basketball team, junior newcomer Koy Brecklin faced an uphill battle to carve out a niche this season. On Tuesday against Waterford, the Indians were glad he did.
Brecklin scored 8 quick points in the final 1:50 of the fourth quarter, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that turned a tight game on its head, and Mukwonago wound up defeating Waterford in a 49-36 outcome at MHS. The game was part of a varsity doubleheader, immediately following the varsity girls team's win over Waterford.
"He has a knack for the ball and knows where to be," Mukwonago coach Jim Haasser said of the 6-4 Brecklin. "An unscripted flash to the basket, and he scores that bucket; it's a huge basket. That hoop and another hoop, if Koy doesn't get those, who knows what kind of dogfight we're going to be in?"
The cut to the basket came after Waterford had finished staging a furious rally to tie the score at 24-24. The Indians did not allow a field goal in the second quarter and held a 21-7 lead at the break, but the Wolverines scored 17 of the first 20 points in the second half. Yet, MHS never trailed after the game's opening basket, with Brecklin's lay-in restoring the lead for good, and he followed with a 3-pointer to make it 29-24.
But nothing was more exciting than the final play of the third quarter, when Waterford secured a defensive rebound with less than five seconds to play and tried pushing it up court. Brecklin picked off the outlet pass and heaved a line drive that rattled home and sent the Mukwonago gym up for grabs.
"They got a rebound and tried to leak it out real quick," Brecklin recalled. "I saw it, grabbed it, I heard 'shoot it' and turned around and kind of let it fly. We just kept the energy going and tried to keep doing what we had done in the first half."
Brecklin finished the game with 12 points. Not bad for a guy who isn't among the team's 10 returning lettermen.
"I figured if I kept working hard, it would come to me," Brecklin said.
Fellow junior Aaron Nixon led Mukwonago scorers with 14, including 7-for-8 free-throw shooting in the fourth quarter to put the contest on ice.
"I'm happy that they came back and gave us a game and exposed a little bit more what might be holding us back," Haasser said. "Certainly it would have been nice to coast and play the other guys a little bit more, but they responded; they worked harder. We chart three stops in a row - we call them 'three-and-outs' - and our goal is to get five of those in a game, and we had five of those by halftime."
Though Haasser was less than thrilled with the start of the second half, Mukwonago did procure two more three-and-outs in the fourth quarter. With last year's leading scorer Nate Tanguay in foul trouble and held without a point, the relatively easy win was a show of the Indians' depth.
Mukwonago 55, Hartford 41
The Indians moved to 3-1 with another nonconference win Friday over Wisconsin Little Ten foe Hartford.
"They gave us a good run at times and proved to be stronger and more athletic than film suggested," Haasser said.
Cizauskas led all scorers with 22 points, including 8 in the fourth quarter, and added seven rebounds, four assists and five steals. The Indians outrebounded the Orioles, 34-24, with Nick Blohm and Tanguay also bringing in seven rebounds. Tanguay also had six assists and nine points.
Aaron Nixon scored 7 of his 9 points in the third quarter.
"We started out with great intensity on defense and forced several turnovers but didn't always convert those due to our own turnovers or lack of finishing plays on our end," Haasser said. "Consequently, after outplaying them in the first three to four minutes, it was only 6-2 or 6-4. They stormed back and hit some shots (and press) to take the lead primarily because we got caught up playing at their pace and not breaking them down when we didn't get great transition looks at the end of the press. We had six to seven turnovers in the first quarter and figured that once we solved that situation, we would be OK."
That's what happened. The Indians finished with only 13 turnovers overall.
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