Muskego coach Jeff Adam was pleased to have a pair of nonconference games for his inexperienced squad before the 2006 Southeast Conference season begins when the Warriors host Burlington at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Dec. 1.
After all, there were kinks to work out.
The Warriors dropped a 61-51 decision to New Berlin Eisenhower on Nov. 28 and fell to 0-2.
"There's a lot of things to work on," Adam said after the game. "I told the guys I felt we should have played like we did last Tuesday and then gotten even better (tonight). It just means we have to get better more quickly for next game. You want to get better every game … but now we start at zero and zero, everyone has no wins in conference and we'll take it from there."
The daunting task for the savvy Warriors against Ike was 6-foot-11-inch senior post Matt Dorlack, who finished with 12 points, but was mostly quiet down the stretch, when Eisenhower opened a 16-point lead after three quarters. Nick Pesqueira hit a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer and finished with 14 points.
"They were hitting the shots, but they were catching it exactly where they wanted to catch it," Adam said. "That's the thing we have to work on. I said to them, 'You were there when they caught the ball, but could you get a little better position to get them out of that comfort zone?'"
After foul trouble limited his minutes and kept him out of the scoring column entirely against Oconomowoc on Nov. 21, Mike Albert scored 21 points for the Warriors and had two baskets in a 9-0 run to kickstart the fourth quarter and pull Muskego within 47-40.
"I didn't really have to say anything to Mike, because nothing's worse than sitting down as a senior and watching your teammates go out there and play when you should be out there yourself," Adam said. "He did an excellent job. He came out and really set the tone today."
But Eisenhower, which did not miss a shot in the first quarter and finished shooting a blistering 65 percent from the floor, also hit eight of 10 free throws down the stretch to win.
Oconomowoc 's Greg Dezell hit three of his four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to help sink the Warriors on Nov. 21, 36-34, despite a strong defensive performance from the home team.
"We did not shoot well at all, maybe 20 percent the whole game, and when you're shooting that poorly, it's just a lesson to show as long as you're playing defense, you still have a chance at the end no matter how poorly you're shooting," Adam said. "I'll take the 36-point average. We got a lot of good looks, we've just got to finish."
Jake Christianson had a chance at the buzzer to give the Warriors a thrilling finish, but his 3-pointer rattled out. Jordan Brezinski, Christianson's fellow post player, led the way with 14 points.
"He got a lot of second-chance looks and 12 rebounds as well," Adam said of Brezinski. "He was just very aggressive on the boards, got some nice, easy looks and finished them. I'm hoping throughout the season that both (posts) are up at the same level. I'm confident both of them can get double-digit points and rebounds as well."
Muskego was missing point guard David Mihlsimmer due to a minor surgery, though junior Alex Weiner acquitted himself well filling in at point guard. Sid Heinze, a junior transfer from Mukwonago who filled in with Albert in foul trouble, added eight points.
Brezinski also had 15 points against Eisenhower.
Oconomowoc 36, Muskego 34
Oconomowoc (8-10-6-12-36) Greg Dezell 15, Eric Kundinger 10, Mitch Matteson 5, Matt Schoen 2, Matt Silkey 2, Paul Williams 2. Field goals 13; free throws 6-10 (60%); 3-point goals 4, Dezell 4.
Muskego (8-9-8-9-34) Jordan Brezinski 14, Sid Heinze 8, Cory Brunn 4, Jake Christianson 4, Nate Giuffre 3, Alex Weiner 1. Field goals 11; free throws 9-16 (56%); 3-point goals 3, Heinz, Brunn, Giuffre.
New Berlin Eisenhower 61, Muskego 51
Muskego (10-10-11-20-51) Mike Albert 21, Jordan Brezinski 15, Jason Pradarelli 6, Jake Christianson 5, David Mihlsimmer 3, Cory Brunn 1. Field goals 19-44 (43%); free throws 9-15 (60%); 3-point goals 3, Mihlsimmer, Albert, Christianson.
Eisenhower (14-15-18-14-61) Nick Pesqueira 14, Matt Dorlack 12, Alex Izzo 11, Jason Mahn 9, Matt Barth 8, Jim Root 5, Kevin Marr 2. Field goals 24-37 (65%); free throws 6-13 (46%); 3-point goals 5, Izzo 3, Root, Pesqueira.
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