Brookfield East Ends Regular Season With Huge Win Against Sussex Hamilton


Angela Graf

LeTourneau and Baldwin Jr. Fight for the ball to start the game.

David Turicek, Writer

In arguably the most challenging game of the season, Brookfield East came up against the highly-acclaimed powerhouse of the Greater Metro Conference: Sussex Hamilton. The Spartans came into the match with a three game winning streak with an 11-4 record while the Chargers were on a 15 game winning streak and held an undefeated 15-0 record. Based on how East had been playing this season and the passion they’ve shown on the court, if there was a team to end this unstoppable run for the Chargers, it was going to be the Spartans.

Anyone that pays attention to collegiate athlete recruitment knows that Hamilton has the #1 ranked sophomore in the nation: Patrick Baldwin Jr. (10). While Brookfield East has had success of their own with Riley LeTourneau (12), Baldwin’s past dominance and reputation was definitely intimidating in the moments leading up to the match.

Surely the talk around the school regarded who was going to guard Baldwin. While some felt that LeTourneau would be most fit to guard him, rumors leaked that it would be Sam McGath (11), who showed his defensive talent in the WIAA State Tournament tournament last year. Thinking logically, though, to have a 6’2” player defend a near seven foot opponent seems like it would be a huge mismatch. 

With all the hype and excitement leading up to the match, including the courtside Bucks ticket raffle at halftime, it was quite clear that this would be a thrilling night of festivities. According to MaxPreps, hundreds of fans were in attendance at the Brookfield East Fieldhouse to support their side, which is no surprise considering the quality of players found on both sides.

Right from the start, fans were able to identify which player was Baldwin, considering the margin of height difference compared to any Spartan player. And sure enough, it was McGath who was tasked with the challenge to guard him.

In the first half, the Spartans made use of their quickness and tried to generate quality opportunities through ball movement. As you may expect, with Baldwin in the paint, the Spartans were going to need to hit their perimeter shots if they were going to have a chance to stick with the talented Charger side. Fortunately, Hayden Doyle (10), Thomas Francken (12), and Michael Poker (11), were aa phenomenal in their shooting. Doyle, for example, hit various momentum-breakers for the Spartans, stopping any Sussex Hamilton runs.

By halftime, both teams had been playing exceptional defense. Players were only given tough opportunities to score points. Baldwin had been able to plow his way through the Spartan defense a couple of times; however, Brookfield East had done a nice job keeping him off the ball. The score at halftime was 23-24, with the Spartans leading.

Coming out of halftime, both teams were looking to solve their first half problems and seal a huge victory going into the WIAA State Tournament. Brookfield East played at the top of their game. Ball movement, defense, passing, and shooting just was at its finest for the Spartans. Within the first five minutes of the half, Brookfield East pulled away with a 10 point lead over Sussex Hamilton, and they did not look back.

Even though it may be easy to sit back and ease on the intensity, the Spartans did the exact opposite. By defeating the Chargers by a margin of 19 points (42-61), they showed how much of a threat they are when it comes to tournament play. Baldwin was limited to just 12 points despite his clear height advantage over all the Spartan players. It was an amazing performance from all of the Spartans. For this reason, it was too difficult to reward one single player with the Player of the Match award. The entire team played at their best and exemplified the excellence at Brookfield East.

The Spartans end the regular season with a 12-4 record in the Greater Metro Conference and 18-4 record overall. Sussex Hamilton gets their first loss in conference play, falling to 15-1 in the Greater Metro Conference. Next week, on Friday, March 1st, Brookfield East returns to action against Hartford in their first match of the WIAA State Tournament.

Players of the Game

  • Michael Poker – Brookfield East (16 points)
  • Thomas Francken – Brookfield East (16 points)
  • Hayden Doyle – Brookfield East (14 points)
  • Sam McGath – Brookfield East (10 points)

Other Notable Performances

  • Patrick Baldwin Jr. – Sussex Hamilton (12 points)
  • Lucas Finnessey – Sussex Hamilton, Junior (10 points)