Late Heroics from Marquette University Stun Brookfield East Basketball


David Turicek

LeTourneau fends off an MUHS defender as he makes his way to the hoop.

David Turicek

David Turicek, Writer

With a four game winning streak and hopes to challenge the undefeated Sussex Hamilton in the Greater Metro Conference, Brookfield East looked to make it five in a row against Marquette University (the high school). Each team was at the top of the Greater Metro Conference standings—Brookfield East in second place with a 8-3 record (13-3 overall) and Marquette University with a 7-4 record (9-7 overall). Due to the recent success of Riley LeTourneau (12) and the Spartan side, Brookfield East was favored to win the game.

In the beginning stages of the match, it was clear that Marquette came to play. Their pristine ball-movement generated an early lead for the Hilltoppers. The Spartans were finding it difficult to penetrate the paint and feed LeTourneau at the post, forcing them to  forced to shoot from the perimeter. As a team, shots were not falling and Marquette continued to build their lead.

Once the Spartans figured out the Hilltopper defense, they were able to assert dominance with their quick passing and screening. A series of turnovers from Marquette allowed the Spartans to equalize the score and ultimately keep the game close for the rest of the half.

By halftime, Brookfield East’s Thomas Francken (12) was leading the way for the Spartans with 10 points. On the other team, Braeden Brown (12) of Marquette could not miss from behind the arc—hitting four three-pointers in the first half.

At halftime, the Spartans led the Hilltoppers 42-40. The crowd, full of hundreds of parents and children celebrating Junior Spartan Night, were in for a treat in the second half. In the preliminary stages of the second half, Marquette opened with a 9-1 run, securing a
six point lead over Brookfield East.

The Spartans knew that their winning streak was at risk of ending if they did not start playing their game.

Luckily, Brookfield East realigned their rhythm by finding the proper role for each player. The Hilltopper defenders were posing a challenge to LeTourneau with their persistent physicality. With Marquette employing tactics based on their scouting report, LeTourneau learned that he had to be quick with the ball and draw the foul.

By generating chances himself and dishing out the ball to the likes of Sam McGath (11), Michael Poker (11), and Francken, the Spartans came back and picked up a lead themselves. Francken was pivotal in this run, hitting a number of three pointers and shots, even under high pressure.

With a couple of minutes to go, the Spartans had a rather comfortable lead. The way the Hilltoppers were playing, however, prevented East from counting them out of bringing their way back into the game—and that is exactly what they did.

Brown was wide open for two three pointers and he hit both of them, trimming the Spartan lead to only two.

A turnover from the Spartans gave the Hilltoppers the ball with 30 seconds to play. From an inbound, they gave it to 6’5” Aidan Flynn (11), who buried a mid-range shot to tie the game at 71 a piece.

With only 15 seconds to go, the Spartans failed to score again, sending the game to overtime.

In overtime, the Hilltoppers secured a lead and did not look back. In the final seconds, the Spartans had the ball trying to deplete their two point deficit. It was Hayden Doyle (10) who penetrated the paint and was fouled with 3.8 seconds to go.

At the free throw line, he nailed the first shot, decreasing the Marquette lead to one. Unfortunately, he failed to hit the
second free throw, and the Spartans ended up losing the match.

The Spartans now are 8-4 and all the way down to fourth in the Greater Metro Conference. The Hilltoppers are also 8-4 but remain in third place behind Brookfield Central.

Despite the loss, it was inspiring to see the team effort from the Spartans this night. Four Spartans scored in double figures and gave their utmost effort. Unfortunately, Brown’s six three pointers and Flynn’s heroics sent the Spartans home with a thrilling defeat in their search for a conference title. Brookfield East returns to action on Friday, February 11th against Wauwatosa East.

Player of the Game
● Braeden Brown – Marquette University (20 points)

Other Notable Performances
● Thomas Francken – Brookfield East (22 points)
● Aidan Flynn – Marquette University (17 points)
● Sam McGath – Brookfield East (16 points)
● Hayden Doyle – Brookfield East (15 points)
● Riley LeTourneau – Brookfield East (14 points)
● Vinny Nigro – Marquette University (11 points)