The bank was open from long distance in one buzzer-beating sequence, though the Mukwonago boys basketball team made deposits all night in a season-high scoring performance Feb. 16 at home against Catholic Memorial. The 89-71 win marked the second lopsided victory over a CMH team that came into the night ahead of Mukwonago in the Classic 8 standings.
After Alex Gehl dove for a loose ball with time winding down in the first half, he flung a pass ahead to Gabe Cizauskas, who released a 24-footer that banked home to give MHS a 38-32 lead at the break. Memorial (14-7) would get back to within 5 points at one point in the second half, but an 11-0 run sparked Mukwonago (14-7) well on its way to an easy victory.
“We tried to be go, go, go,” Mukwonago coach Jim Haasser said. “They’re a big, strong basketball team. If you let them run their stuff, you’re going to be in trouble.”
Brandon Hau finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds, walking out of the gym within 4 points of Tom Kukla’s school-record 1,066 career points, a mark that has stood at Mukwonago since 1965. Hau (1,062) bypassed 2011 graduate Derek Hasanoglu (1,054) for the second-best total in school history, and he’ll have a chance to make history against Kettle Moraine on Feb. 23.
“It’s not just about me,” Hau said. “(My teammates) have all helped me this whole time. … Our full court pressure got to them. We forced a lot of turnovers, and we got layups, and I think it hurt them in the long run. They got tired, and we didn’t.”
Cizauskas, who finished with 19 points, was one of the top contributors to the cause, though five other players finished with 8 or 9 points. His crazy basket just before halftime proved to be a considerable momentum swing in a sequence where it appeared CMH would be holding for the last shot.
“I made the guy fumble the ball a little bit,” Cizauskas said. “Gehl dove in there (for the loose ball), and I actually fell down. We were both on the ground when we saw each other. I quick got to my feet, he threw it to me ... I was thinking I had 5 seconds, I’m going to take it to the rack. All of a sudden I hear someone say, “One!” I glance at the clock and see it’s 1.5 (seconds), and I just lofted it.
“They’ve got Lucas (Morris) and Max (Cooper) running the guards, and they’re out-of-this-world fast, and then they have three guys at 6-6 who are all great athletes. Rich (Byhre) is a sophomore and has great feet, very athletic. We have a big lineup and a small lineup and we usually go big against them, obviously. We know we can pressure them because some of their bigger guys can’t run as well, so that full court press got to them a little bit.”
Mukwonago won a one-sided game the first time against Memorial, 82-65. The two teams are now tied for third in the conference with one game left to play.
“Three or four years ago when we went to state, we had no answer for Arrowhead,” Haasser said. “It’s just matchups, bodies, skill sets. We’re a tough matchup for them. That’s twice we shot the ball well against them.”
The scoring output matched a career high for Cizauskas – equaling his 19 points against Memorial earlier in the year.
“What he’s done is kind of surprised a lot of people with his ability to get by guys and make plays, not just for himself, but for others,” Haasser said. “It’s a fun group to coach, especially when they play that fast, play together.”
Added Cizauskas, “Our intensity in the second half and our energy (were key). A couple of Brandon’s dunks, wow. That gave us a lot of energy. That’s always exciting to get that.”
Hau converted two alley-oop dunks among his three total flushes, including one on a feed from Cizauskas well beyond the top of the key.
MHS 84, Whitefish Bay 56
Alex Gehl scored 25 points in Mukwonago’s nonconference win Feb. 14. MHS shared the ball exceptionally well, converting 30 assists on 34 baskets.
Hau added 12 points, and Zach Genrich had 11.