Whitnall crushes Pulaski after receiving scare from Waukesha West
Mentkowski's 28 points led Falcons to victory over Wolverines
Greenfield - A couple of positive signs for Whitnall boys basketball coach Kent Kroupa came out of the Falcons' 65-64 overtime victory over Waukesha West on Nov. 29.
First, they bounced back after losing an 11-point lead in a span of about 2½ minutes during the fourth quarter. They fell behind by three points, but Luke Mentkowski nailed a 3-pointer with .2 seconds left to force the extra session.
Secondly, they won with Woodland Conference Player of the Year candidate Stephen Pelkofer scoring just five points on the night. Mentkowski picked up much of that slack with 28 points, including six shots from three-point range, while Brent Sluka and Michael Bonin each tallied eight.
"The game was well-played by both teams," said Kroupa, whose squad went on to rout Milwaukee Pulaski, 68-28, in the Terry Porter Classic at South Division on Saturday. "It was a good win for us."
Whitnall, which came into this week at 3-0, trailed the highly-regarded Wolverines 26-24 at the half but outscored them 18-5 in the third quarter for a 42-31 advantage.
The lead stood at 11 points with 4 minutes, 30 seconds left when West applied some pressure defense. Eric Solberg hit a trio of three-pointers, and the Wolverines took the lead with two minutes remaining.
With seven seconds left, West had a three-point advantage but missed a free throw. The Falcons ran a screen for Mentkowski, who netted his game-tying 3-pointer.
The overtime went back and forth before Whitnall took a one-point lead in the final minute. The Wolverines looked for a winning shot, but the Falcons used a trapping defense to harass them, preventing West from getting off a good opportunity.
On Saturday their biggest difficulty was the 9:30 a.m. starting time.
"The kids had to get (to South Division) early, and we usually practice on Saturday mornings, so we needed to get more intensity than usual," Kroupa said. "Also, there was no one in the stands, so it was like a scrimmage. There was no noise, so we created our own energy."
Playing sluggishly at the start, Whitnall led only 14-8 after one quarter. The Falcons then outscored Pulaski 43-8 in the next two periods to take control.
Pelkofer led four players in double figures with 15 points. Luke Mentkowski added 13, Danny Weymier 11 and Sam Mentkowski 10.
Kroupa noted that it is an honor for his team to play in three charity events this season, the Fresh Coast Classic, the Terry Porter Classic and the Nicole Ellis Classic at 9 p.m. Saturday, as the Falcons take on Milwaukee Marshall at Waukesha West High School.
They opened Woodland Conference action on Tuesday at South Milwaukee and will welcome Greenfield (0-2 going into this week) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
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