Brown Deer's 102-99 triple overtime victory at New Berlin Eisenhower was a first for Falcons coach Scott Appleby.
'Triple overtime at Eisenhower,' he said. 'I've coached here three times, and I have never actually won at Eisenhower, so this is my first time. This is a special win. Every time you can go into an environment where they're undefeated, a conference opponent, you get a win, that's going to rank right near the top.'
The game matched Brown Deer of the Woodland Conference East Division, last year's Division 3 state champions, against New Berlin Eisenhower, the current top-ranked team in Division 2. And it was an old-fashioned barn burner where the Lions couldn't close out the Falcons at the end of the first half or the game.
With Eisenhower leading, 77-72, with 2:17 left to play, Brown Deer went on a 9-4 run, as Damon Jackson scored on a drive, Craig Schimenz hit his sixth 3-pointer of the night, Jackson scored on a another drive and 6-foot-7-inch Taurus Adams nailed a 3-pointer to tie the game at 81-81 with 47 seconds left and send it into overtime.
Adams and Eisenhower's Matt Rolefson each scored twice in the first overtime to take it to 85-85 into the second overtime.
Sophomore Jay Gentry scored 6 of Brown Deer's 9 points in the second overtime, sinking two free throws with 58.5 seconds to tie the game. The Lions' Stephen Kraninger had 5 points, and Sullivan Kulju added 4 points and a rebound basket with 1:10 remaining to give Eisenhower a 94-92 lead. But, the Lions only managed to sink two of seven free throws in the overtime, or the game would have been over.
After Gentry and Kraninger exchanged baskets to open the third overtime, the Lions fouled Arron Alexander-Robinson, who only managed to sink two of six free throws for a 100-96 lead. The Lions came within a point on sophomore Bryce Miller's big 3-pointer, but Jalen Greenlee closed out the game with two free throws. The Lions missed two more free throws in the final overtime.
'We got some things we can definitely work on — too many turnovers,' Eisenhower coach Dave Scheidegger said. 'Too many unforced turnovers. We kind of feel that what happened to us tonight — Brown Deer did great — but we had too many turnovers, too many missed few throws. There's nobody guarding a free throw. We're an 80 percent free throw-shooting team, and we hit 22 of 35 (.628). We missed like our last eight (2-for-10).'
The Falcons came back at the end of the first half to get themselves back in the game. Trailing 31-18, they went on an 11-3 run to cut the lead to 5 points, 34-29. Schimenz nailed two 3s to finish out the half.
'I thought early on the game was going their way,' Appleby said. 'They're a great team. They asserted themselves early. We were able to run back at them even if they made a hoop on us. I thought that put them on their heels a little bit. We were able to do a little push there at the end of the half and cut it to five at halftime. Then it was anybody's game from there.'
Adams had 28 points to lead the Falcons, followed by Schimenz (22), Gentry (19) and Jackson (17).
Sullivan scored 26, Kraninger added 22 and Rolefson 20 for Eisenhower.
Scheidegger reflected on his team's first loss.
'Sometimes an eye-opener is a good thing,' he said. 'It's a lot to grow from, and if you take that outlook, we'll get better from it if we recognize it, understand it and admit it.'