Struggling Raiders tie for fourth in GMC
MUHS rallies in fourth quarter to win finale, 52-38
Marquette jumped off to a fast start and Wauwatosa East could never recover, as the Red Raiders ended the regular season Feb. 23 with a 52-38 loss at home, their third defeat in a row and their sixth in seven games.
"You might as well write the same thing I have told you after the last three games," a disappointed Wauwatosa East coach Tim Arndorfer said after the game.
The Red Raiders finished the season tied for fourth place with Menomonee Falls, both with 8-6 conference record and 13-9 overall.
Since being tied with Brookfield Central for first place on Jan. 13, Tosa East finished the year with a 3-7 record, with wins over the bottom three teams in the Greater Metro Conference.
The bottom line is the Red Raiders have averaged 49 points a game in their last four games without their top two scorers, while allowing 56. Before that they averaged 57.7 points and allowed 50.6.
Outside of Diamonte Mckinley, there is no one who Arndorfer can count on to provide a consistent threat for the Red Raiders or take the big shot when it is needed.
"We can't score," Arndorfer said. "I don't know how many times we have to see a 1-3-1 for us to figure out how to play against it. We continue to dribble against it and throw it around … and turn it over.
"You can only hang in there on defense for so long before they are going to pull away."
After a poor first quarter - the Red Raiders trailed, 16-7 - the Red Raiders turned up the defense and held the Hilltoppers to three points in the second period. But they only managed to score eight and still trailed, 19-15, at halftime.
"In the first half defensively, we stuck around," Arndorfer said.
The Red Raiders' lack of consistency has followed them all year.
"When we did what we asked them to do - and got the ball to the middle - we got easy shots," Arndorfer said. "But we didn't do that enough."
Marquette led, 27-23, with 4 minutes, 12 seconds left in the third period and that was the closest (four points) the Red Raiders came the rest of the game, as MUHS closed out with a 7-4 run and a 34-27 lead after three periods.
Dare Okluwagare sank two free throws, Matt Misiewicz nailed a 3-pointer and Okluwagare scored another bucket for a 34-23 lead. Zak Sylvester tossed in a rebound basket and then 6-foot-2-inch forward Bryce Kratzer took off on a fastbreak, had a behind-the-back dribble between two Hilltoppers and scored the final basket of the quarter to cut the lead to seven.
The Hilltoppers then opened the fourth period with a 10-5 advantage to put the game away at 44-32.
Misiewicz hit a 3-pointer, Tom Beres scored on a drive, was fouled and sank a free throw. East's Kyle Vnuk hit two free throws and after a Red Raiders timeout, Vince Cupertino scored, was fouled and dropped in the free throw, but Nick Klar scored on a fastbreak to end the run.
Tosa East did manage a small run to cut the lead to 44-36 with 3:18 on the clock as Riley Poe hit two free throws and Kratzer scored on a fastbreak, but MUHS closed with an 8-2 stretch.
Donnell Cegars came off the bench to lead MUHS with 10 points, while Misiewicz and Alex McBride had nine points each. The Red Raiders only consistent threat, Mckinley, was the game's high scorer with 12 points.
"It was good to get Bryce back," Arndorfer said. "We had nine striaght shots inside the paint. But we're struggling and it's not just one thing you can pin it on.
The Hilltoppers finished the year tied for fifth (6-8, 8-13), having won two straight and three of five.
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