Fans attending the Greendale boys basketball game on Feb. 24 might have thought that Paul Westhead had found his way onto the Panthers' bench, or Steph Curry into their lineup.
Certainly the coach of the high-octane Loyola Marymount teams of the early 1990s and the all-time great shooter and most valuable player of the NBA would have felt right at home in one of the wildest games in Greendale history.
The Panthers downed New Berlin West, 121-80, in a rousing and historic season finale.
Greendale set school records for points in a game and for 3-point field goals with 20. The Panthers hit an amazing 20 of 29 (69 percent) from 3-point range and 40 of 60 (67 percent) overall, plus netting 21 of 26 free throws (81 percent).
Above: David Pulizos of Greendale (center) became the Panthers’ all-time leading scorer on Feb. 24 in a wild 121-80 triumph over New Berlin West. Pulizos finished with 45 points, including seven 3-point field goals. Photo by Dave Haberkorn.
Pulizos sets career mark
The night also provided a personal landmark, as David Pulizos tallied a career-high 45 points, including seven 3-point field goals, to become Greendale's all-time leading scorer.
Pulizos came into the contest 42 points short of former teammate Jordan Perez, and his 45 pushed him to 1,373 points, three ahead of Perez (1,370).
"This means a lot to me," the senior forward said. "I looked up to Jordan starting when I was a freshman (on varsity), and he was a junior. We played two years together. It was nice to pass the record of one of my friends."
Pulizos broke the mark on an inside basket with about 5 minutes, 30 seconds remaining. Immediately, his feat was announced to the crowd and met with a round of applause. He left the game shortly after that, as Greendale was in firm control.
Coach Ryan Johnsen's teams have three of the top five scorers in school history, with Pulizos first, Perez second and Josh Michaels fifth (1,147).
"This shows how all the hard work that Jordan, Josh and I did paid off," Pulizos said. "We spent a lot of time working together."
Pulizos also moved to 488 points this season, just nine short of the record of 497 set by Brad Murawski in 1990-91.
He fell just short of Greendale's single-game record, which is still held by Tom Joyce at 48 points. Joyce also had a 45-point game in his brilliant career.
Thomson hits 40 points
Senior guard Nate Thomson also had a big night, tallying 40 points with eight 3-pointers, and Vlado Zrnic added 19 points with a trio of 3-point shots.
It was appropriate that Pulizos and Thomson had such success on Greendale's senior night and that the Panthers' career scoring mark fell in the highest-scoring game in school history.
"That was one of the crazier games I've been a part of in my coaching career," Johnsen said. "The tempo was dictated early, with West pressing us. We started to hit some threes, and we just kept going. Shooting 20 of 29 threes; that's Golden State Warriors stuff.
"The pace was just incredible, and Nate and Dave hit some shots that I don't know if they thought were going in. The shots, though, all came in the flow of the game."
Pulizos added, "That game was just crazy. I have never been in a game with two players scoring 40 on the same team. It was awesome; we were just feeling it. The whole team fed off the energy of Nate and I."
Greendale led 63-36 at halftime and just kept scoring, putting up 58 in the second half.
"When we were up by about 40 in the second half," Johnsen said, "I started thinking, let's save some of this for next week (the WIAA playoffs)."
Greendale, which finished the regular season at 9-7 in the Woodland Conference and 14-8 overall, opens WIAA regional play at 7 p.m. Friday, March 4, at home against Waukesha North (13-9, 8-6 in the Classic 8 Conference).
If the Panthers win, they would likely go to New Berlin Eisenhower at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 5, for their third meeting with the Woodland West champion Lions. They lost both times to Eisenhower, 77-50 and 69-59.
At the same time, they can continue to savor the wild victory over West.
"That was a good momentum-builder for the playoffs," Johnsen said. "It's certainly better to have a game like that than losing your final game. North will be a tough first-round game, but anything can happen at this time of year. It's fun."
Here are the current career and single-game scoring records in Greendale boys basketball history:
David Pulizos, 1,373 points
Jordan Perez, 1,370 points
Brad Murawski, 1,200 points
Bob Bruett, 1,176 points
Josh Michaels, 1,147 points
Tom Joyce, 1,062 points
Mike Joyce, 1,054 points
John Harris, 1,033 points
Jeff Thomson, 900 points
Tom Joyce, 48 points
David Pulizos, 45 points
Tom Joyce, 45 points
Brad Murawski, 44 points
Tom Joyce, 41 points
John Harris, 41 points