Watching Tuesday night's boys basketball game was exciting because of the quality of basketball played on both sides.
It was interesting for me, because I couldn't tell you the last time I covered a Germantown game, because Steve Tietz handles that coverage - and does a great job with it - for NorthwestNOW. When people asked me who I thought would win, well it's hard to make a call when you haven't seen someone play.
I am smart enough to know that a 69-game winning streak is quite impressive and when Steve Showalter, a class act as a person and a coach, said there were only two kids on his team who have lost a high school game - wow is all I can say.
Buffalo recruit Lamonte Bearden is one of the most athletic players I have seen in my 12 years of covering prep sports. When he takes off from the free throw line and drops in a shot, well, there is no way to stop that.
But one of the things that came out in this game about the Lancers - both seniors Riley LaChance and Elijah Goodman talked about it afterwards - is chemistry. There is no selfishness on this team and the word 'love' was tossed around a couple times in the post-game interviews.
Now you can love your teammates all you want, but no one is going to win without talent. And the Lancers have four very good to excellent players to start with. LaChance is going to Vanderbuilt, while Goodman hopes to be pitching in the fall in college next season, which is probably making some basketball coaches cry when seeing his considerable rebounding talents on the basketball court. Rebounding is a dirty, hard job and Goodman attacks it like a starving man at an all you can eat buffet.
Too very good players who get lost in the shuffle are 6-6 forward Caleb Mortag, who's wingspan at the top of the key in the 1-3-1 zone seems to go from one end of the court to the other. Athletic? The kid can stand under the basket and just jump up and jam it. Try it sometime.
And then there is Brad Newman, who can hit 3-pointers or take it to the rim, easily the most under-rated starter on the team.
LaChance was quick to point out how 6-0 guard Terry Wallen, the fifth starter, and sixth man, 5-11 point guard Gunnar (love that name) Malensek contributed several hustle plays. And he talked about the energy in the locker room and on the bench that kept the starters pumped up. He distributed praise like he does the basketball.
Because of the hype - No. 1 vs. No. 2 - going into this game, it was a fun game to play and watch. But the bottom line like Central coach Mark Adams said afterwards, nothing beats a win in the sectional final. The important thing now for the Lancers and Warhawks is to go on and win their conference title and get ready for the playoffs, where one mistakes sends you home for the season.
My man Tietz, who has forgotten more basketball than many writers know, told me during the game there is a chance the next time these teams meet could be in the state semifinals.
So the Lancers may have chemistry and talent, but when asked where they go from here, LaChance summed it up best afterwards.
"Back to practice, tomorrow. We have a bigger target on our back now than we did before."