Muskego - Heading into the second go-round, the boys basketball team is starting to make itself at home in the Classic 8 Conference.
The Warriors downed Waukesha South, 65-57, on Friday for their third straight victory in their new league after starting 0-4. They averaged 70 points in beating Kettle Moraine and South in the past two conference contests.
Part of the reason for the surge is the play of junior forward Turner Kehoe, who poured in 31 points against Waukesha South after tallying 34 against Kettle Moraine in the previous Classic 8 game.
Against South, Kehoe hit 10-of-14 from the field, including a pair of 3-point field goals and 9-of-9 at the free-throw line.
"It was almost a quiet 31 points," head coach Andy Capes said.
Several factors are playing into Kehoe's scoring surge.
"He is learning how to use his body to get better shots," Capes said. "He has more confidence, and he is maturing as a player. Mentally, he is approaching the game much better. He has become more reliable for the entire four quarters."
Josh Breider tallied 10 points and Jordan Kvasnicka seven for Muskego, which trailed early but outscored the Blackshirts 20-8 in the second quarter for a 33-23 halftime edge.
"We made some shots and took care of the ball," Capes said of the crucial quarter. "We made some mistakes early but settled down in the second period."
The Warriors went up by 15 points in the third period before South netted a trio of 3-point goals to come within six points in the fourth. Muskego was able to hang on from there.
Capes' team lost its other game last week, a 56-48 decision at Oconomowoc on Jan. 8.
Oconomowoc built a 42-33 advantage in the third quarter on two free throws from Tyler Enright.
Muskego got a three-ball from the corner from Jack Mlachnik with 4 minutes, 20 seconds left to pull within 44-38, and Steve Cotton canned a long two-pointer with 3:30 to play, keeping Muskego in the game at 46-40.
Oconomowoc, however, received successful shots from Danny Duffy and TJ Schlundt to seal the deal.
"I thought we shot pretty poorly tonight, and they were able to get a little lead and then hit some shots when they needed to in the fourth quarter," Capes said. "We had a few defensive lapses, and then Number 3 for Oconomowoc (Larson) beat us a few times when we tried to come back, getting on-the-ball pressure. He got in the lane a couple times, and that hurt."
The Warriors got 20 points from Kehoe, nine points from Breider and eight by Cotton.
Muskego (6-9 overall) now begins the second round of Classic 8 action at 7:30 p.m. this Friday at home against Hartland Arrowhead. In the first meeting, Arrowhead prevailed 56-30.
The Warriors now must face the same four teams that beat them the first time around, but Capes feels they are in a much better position at this point.
"We are playing so much better now," he said. "We are having fun."
- Chris Schuck contributed to this story
- Muskego girls track, field team wins three events, captures third in Wisconsin Lutheran Invite
- Dachowski's hot bat helps propel Muskego softball team to three victories
- Muskego's Kotarak flies high as freshman in MSOE track and field
- Muskego girls track team notches top-five finishes at Brookfield East, West Allis Hale meets
- Strong pitching helps boost Muskego softball team to top of Classic 8 Conference standings
- Muskego girls soccer team led by strong veteran defense
- Longtime teammates Wagner, Farner led Muskego boys basketball team to state
- Capes led Muskego boys basketball team out of struggles to state championship game
- Muskego girls basketball team surged back to .500 level in 2015-16 season
- Turnaround for Muskego boys basketball team reached new heights in 2015-16 season