One team was ready to play, and the other was not, and as a result, No. 5-seeded Greendale whipped No. 4-seeded Catholic Memorial, 60-54, on March 3 at Waukesha North in a boys basketball game that wasn’t always as close as the score.
“I thought we were well-prepared,” Greendale coach Ryan Johnsen said. “I thought we came out with fire and intensity. We led the entire game. I kind of saw it in their eyes. Our players believe; we’ve been to state two of the last three years, and there are kids in this program who believe.
“I think that showed out there tonight, especially on the defensive end. We held them to 22 points in the first half. It really set the tone. We hit big shots. It was a great team win.”
Panthers fall to Pirates
The Panthers advanced to face top-seeded Pewaukee one day later and fell to their Woodland West counterpart, 60-54, bringing the season to an end at 12-13 overall. Greendale limited Pewaukee sharpshooter Jack Gohlke to 5 points, and Tommy Kujawa scored a team-best 19 points, but Wyatt Cook scored a career-best 27 for Pewaukee and the Pirates were able to pull away in the final 5 minutes of a close game.
“We knew they were a post-up heavy team and were going to want to run a lot of high-low,” Cook said. “The physicality of the game was there, and we were kind of just trying to force them off the block and try to make them knock down shots. They have a couple shooters, but everyone else, we were trying to contain and keep off the glass.”
Clay Kujawa added 18 points in the loss.
“They have a lot of size,” Pirates senior Aidan Nordquist said. “They guard really well. Zach Harrison is a really athletic defender. They have really good guys who are strong and athletic. It’s tough for us, but we found a way.”
The top-seeded Pirates (21-3) defeated Greendale twice in the regular season, as well.
Fast start vs. CMH
Greendale hopped out to an 11-2 lead against the Crusaders 14 minutes into the game before CMH battled back and cut the lead to 20-17 with 9:25 left in the half.
Greendale then went on a 13-0 run to take a 33-17 lead at 6:16 and took a 35-22 lead into intermission.
“We had some defensive lapses which got us to 20-17,” Johnsen said. “But then all of a sudden, we got back to doing what we were doing -- digging in on the defensive end, knowing the scouting report -- and we took care of business. We took care of the basketball; we limited our turnovers. If you can do that this time of the year, it sounds like a cliché, but that’s what it takes.”
Although they couldn’t catch up, the Crusaders rallied to within 58-54 with 29.4 seconds left, but Greendale finished the game out at the free-throw line.
When asked what went wrong for the Crusaders, coach Mike Serath got right to the point.
“The start. We started flat,” he said. “They were up for it, they were flying around, they were excited, and we just couldn’t match that. It’s disappointing. I felt like we didn’t start the game very well. They hit some shots. We thought we could lay off some guys. They hit these buckets, layups, second-chance points off rebounds. They executed and we didn’t.”
Greendale’s Vlado Zrnic and Tommy Kujawa had 16 points each, and Clay Kujawa had 13. Max Cooper had 13 and Austin Young added 11 for Catholic Memorial.
In an 85-24 win over St. Anthony on Feb. 28 in the regional opener, Tommy Kujawa scored 17 and Mike Howell 12 to lead Greendale.
-- JR Radcliffe contributed to this story.