Falcons attack from all areas in winning regional
Pelkofer's defense another key in victory
Greenfield - The full extent of the offensive firepower of Whitnall's boys basketball team was on display Saturday night during a 69-49 WIAA Division 2 regional final victory over New Berlin West.
Bryan Nagy tallied 10 points in the first quarter and finished with 16, Stephen Pelkofer totaled 11 points in the second period and wound up with a game-high 19 and Ian Ray netted a trio of 3-point field goals in the third quarter and tallied 12 points.
Luke Mentkowski chipped in with 15 points as well for the Falcons (22-2), who shot 58 percent from the field and nailed nine 3-pointers on the night.
"That's our thing; it's pick your poison, basically," Pelkofer said. "You lock down on me, lock down on Ian, lock down on Luke, everyone else will step up."
Nagy added, "It's been balanced all year, but today, we just shined. Ian was hitting, Stephen was unconscious and they were finding me inside. If I couldn't find it, I was kicking it (back outside) and they were hitting it."
Team found its balance
Head coach Kent Kroupa is thrilled about his team's balance and unselfishness.
"We're just a team," Kroupa said. "No one cares who scores. You can't stop everyone, and we've been fortunate that we haven't had a night where everyone has been off."
Besides all the offense, the foundation for Whitnall's victory was also laid by Pelkofer's sterling defensive work against West's leading scorer, Dan Sidesky, who came in averaging 19.7 points. With Pelkofer shadowing his every move, Sidesky managed just three points all evening.
"He shut him down," Nagy said. "That's exactly what coach told him to do in the beginning of the game, and that helped us win the game, no doubt."
In two games this season, Pelkofer held Sidesky to a total of five points.
"(Pelkofer) had the will to understand that Sidesky is their best player, and he's our best player, and let the best man win," Kroupa said. "Sidesky is a great player, but Stephen just rose.
"Once we took (Sidesky) away, it becomes, 'Who do you go to?' "
West coach Jeff Lewiston, whose team finished 17-7, also cited Pelkofer's defense as a key to the game.
"Danny didn't have a very good game, and I have to credit (Pelkofer) for that," Lewiston said. "(The Falcons) did a good job."
Flying to early lead
Nagy tallied eight early points as Whitnall assumed a 14-9 lead, then Ray and Mentkowski both hit 3-pointers to boost it to 21-11.
Pelkofer then connected on a trio of 3-pointers early in the second quarter from all different angles, helping the Falcons build a 34-20 lead.
The Vikings stayed within 10 early in the third, but then Ray netted a trio of 3-pointers, each one barely moving the net, and the advantage went to 54-37. Ray was 4-for-4 from long range.
The home Whitnall crowd was then treated to one more thrill, a pair of breakaway dunks by Pelkofer, the second giving the Falcons a 60-39 bulge.
The Falcons avenged one of their two losses on the season, a 51-50 setback to West in December.
"The first time we played, Ian Ray didn't play because he was sick, and we missed about 13 free throws," Nagy recalled. "A lot of things contributed to that loss, and it still stung, but tonight we got our revenge."
The Falcons opened the regional by downing Catholic Memorial, 78-63, on Friday night. Mentkowski tallied 21 points, Ray 18 points on six 3-pointers, Pelkofer 16 points and Nagy 10 points. Whitnall jumped to a 40-23 halftime advantage.
"Our key this whole tournament is we have to get out to a fast start," Pelkofer said. "We don't want to play from behind."
Whitnall now prepares to face Pius XI (21-3), the Classic 8 Conference champion, at 7 p.m. March 8 at Greenfield High School in a sectional semifinal.
"We're looking forward to it," Pelkofer said. "They have some tough players, and we'll be ready for them."
TODAY: Whitnall (22-2) vs. Pius XI (21-3) at 7 p.m. at Greenfield High School and Wauwatosa East (16-9) vs. Milwaukee Washington (19-5) at 5:45 p.m. at Waukesha North
SATURDAY: Championship game at 2 p.m. at West Allis Central
PIUS XI: The Popes won the Classic 8 Conference at 12-2 … they beat Wisconsin Lutheran, 62-55, in their regional final … the top scorers are Carrington Love (19 points per game) and Larry Fitzgerald (16.0 with 25 3-point field goals) … the team is directed by Joel Claassen, one of Wisconsin's leaders in coaching victories
TOSA EAST: The Red Raiders finished 8-6 in the Greater Metro … they tipped Milwaukee Samuel Morse/Marshall/Juneau, 59-58, in their regional title game … they lost two top scorers to suspension … their leading scorers now are Diamonte McKinley (9.1) and Nate Moore (7.3)
WASHINGTON: The Purgolders were second in the City Conference at 10-3 … they defeated Nicolet, 70-44, in their regional … the top scorers are Deondre Harris (17.7), Jamaar McKay (17.3) and Derek Williams (14.4 with 39 3-pointers) … Whitnall beat Washington, 60-56, in the season opener
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