With the Greater Metro Conference boys basketball regular season about to begin on Friday, coach Dan Wandrey’s Brookfield Central Lancers are considered the favorites in which should be a very close race.
Wandrey is not only blessed with talent, but young talent, and a senior leader in 6-foot-2 inch sharp-shooting ‘2’ guard Sam Rohde.
Rohde is averaging 8.3 points per game and has made 5 of 6 3-pointers in the first three games. He also hasn’t missed from the field (9-for-9) or the free-throw line (2-2).
Central’s best player and one of the best guards in the area is sophomore point guard Gage Malensek, a 5-9 guard who is worth the price of admission.
Gage the Rage
Gage is averaging 18.3 ppg, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals per game. And like Rohde, he can shoot the eyes out of the basket. He is hitting .792 from the field (19 of 24), .929 from the free-throw line (13 of 14) and .800 from the 3-point line (4 of 5).
He is an outstanding passer, distributes the ball well and is money taking the ball to the hoop.
Central’s second-highest scorer is 6-2 junior guard Andres Peralta-Werns, who is averaging 17.3 ppg, 3 assists and 2 steals and has brought a more well-rounded game to the Lancers this season. He has improved his floor game, his defense and he is still working on becoming a better rebounder.
Sophomore Cole Nau, a 6-2 guard, rounds out the top four, averaging 8.7 points, a team-leading 9.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals. Another all-around athlete, giving Wandrey two sophomores and a junior among his top four players.
Chris Post, a 6-2 senior forward, is Central’s other captain along with Rohde and provides scoring (6.0) and rebounding (4.5) help and does the dirty work inside.
Plenty of depth
Guards Charlie Debbink (a 6-2 guard) and Ian Debbink (6-0) provide a spark off the bench, and are joined by 6-0 guard Jack Brady, 6-2 forward Nate Verhagen, 5-11 guard Matt Flynn and 6-3 forward Carson Gehl.
The Lancers have plenty of depth, as Wandrey can also call on 6-0 guard Stephen Williams, 5-10 senior guard Dawson Carnell and sophomore forwards Joey Cleary (6-4) and Jack Cooney (6-1).
The Lancers will go as far as their defense and shooting take them. Their defense can cause headaches for other teams – in the half and full court, applying pressure when they need to. Their shooting in the early going as has been outstanding.
But the Lancers are going to have to hit the boards with more than one player. If this team has an early weakness is they don’t have that regular ‘big’ player, who can dominate.
Look out for Hilltoppers
Ryan Coffey, a second-team all-conference selection along with Malensek and Brookfield East’s Jake Graf, returns to lead defending champion Marquette.
Coffey is a 6-5 dominating forward and leading scorer so far this year as is Niko Kerschner, a 6-6 junior forward. Also on their roster is 6-7 junior Liam Schroeder and 6-6 senior Justin Novotny. Will Barbera, a 6-3 guard, will also be someone to deal with.
West Allis Hale returns scoring machine Ryan Haertel, who was an honorable mention all-conference choice along with Rohde and West Allis Central’s Payshame Jelks. Guard Jordan Smith, who is averaging 16 ppg, will lead Sussex Hamilton.
Wauwatosa East should have excellent balance and depth behind senior guards Blake Kratzer and Dane Mikkelson. I saw the Red Raiders defeat Kettle Moraine the other night and Leonard Avery was an impressive player around the basket.
Menomonee Falls had eight players average 8.0 or more points in their first few games under new coach Steve Showalter, who replaced Ben Farley, who came to Brookfield East and won the state football championship.
Speaking of the Spartans, look for a big improvement under new coach Joe Rux, who brings a winning background with him.
One of East football stars – QB Jake Graf – returns along with Patrick Cartier, an outstanding 6-7 forward, who also stood out on the football team as a receiver. This is a great base for Rux to work with.
It could be a very interesting season on the boys side in the Greater Metro Conference this season.