Posted On: 10/1/18 5:14 PM
BROOKFIELD, Wis. — Many of Wisconsin’s top teams and players were in attendance for opening weekend of the Brookfield Central fall league. Here are five takeaways from Sunday’s action that could translate to the WIAA season.
Waukesha West is the Real Deal
We’ve been mostly talking about Nicolet and La Crosse Central as favorites in Division 2 this season. Even Milwaukee Washington has gotten some love.
Based on Sunday’s performance, Waukesha West should be in that conversation.
You never like to make more out of fall league than what it really is, but it’s hard to brush aside West’s two wins over Nicolet and Arrowhead. The Wolverines led by as many as 20 against the Nights (without Jalen Johnson) and handled the defending Classic 8 co-champions by double digits.
As head coach Don LaValle predicted, West was very difficult to defend.
6-foot-10 senior center David Skogman is an inside-outside threat who shot the ball well from 3-point range and also continues to become more polished on the block.
Senior guard Chris Bready is much improved. An explosive combo guard that can play above the rim and knock down contested mid-range shots with ease, Bready had a big day against top competition.
Sophomore Cameron Palesse is also poised for a big year. A highly competitive prospect that gets it done on both ends of the floor, Palesse is a momentum changer with his heart, toughness, and effort.
Senior guard Rocky Martinez brings poise to the group. Whether it’s knocking down an open 3-pointer, finishing a straight-line drive to the rim, or making a play for a teammate, Martinez seems to give West whatever they need.
They need to find other sources of interior scoring and rebounding, but West might be a little deeper than expected as their reserves played well in spot duty on Sunday.
Nicolet Will Need Time to Come Together
Jalen Johnson will solve a lot of their problems. The five-star G/F is the engine that runs just about any team he’s on and elevates everybody else on the floor.
However, without Johnson on the floor, Nicolet’s new-look lineup was clearly a work in progress.
Sophomore small forward James Graham kept the Knights alive, scoring 16 points and getting the hot hand late to overcome a 20-point point deficit, but until then, it was a struggle.
Nicolet battled turnovers, primarily from its backcourt and lacked the playmaking ability to get a guy like Jamari Sibley going. Facing West’s 1-3-1 zone, the Knights struggled to get into the teeth of the defense and generate open looks, especially in the short corner. Defensively, there were a lot of breakdowns that you won’t typically see from a team favored to win a state championship.
Again, Johnson’s presence on the court will likely be a night-and-day difference in terms of the win-loss record and guys like Graham, Sibley, Kobe Johnson, and Sony Phinnessee, will eventually gel, but don’t immediately put Nicolet on the pedestal that most have before game one.
Domask Enters 2018-19 as the Mr. Basketball Frontrunner
Waupun senior wing Marcus Domask could be the first mid-major recruit to win Mr. Basketball outright in the state of Wisconsin since Nimrod Hilliard (Madison East) in 2011.
Domask enters 2018-19 as the clear cut favorite and has found ways to improve heading into his final season.
The Northern Kentucky was extremely effective against Menomonee Falls on Sunday. Athleticism has always been the knock on the 6-foot-5 senior, but Domask looked much improved from that standpoint. He had a few transition buckets where he was able to get coast-to-coast, but the eye-opener came in the half court. Domask ripped on the wing, blew past his man, and finished with a two-hand slam.
Last season, Domask averaged 22.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 4.6 points per game.
The addition of Fond Du Lac transfer Quintin Winterfeldt might make Domask even more dangerous. Defenses can’t key in on one guy anymore as Winterfeldt takes some of the burden offensively off Domask. As efficient as Domask already is, Winterfeldt’s presence could make Domask’s shooting numbers go through the roof.
Domask and Waupun are strong contenders in Division 3. Assuming the Warriors are able to build off last season’s 24-2 record, Domask’s chances at some individual hardware appear likely against the likes of Nobal Days (Racine Park), Larry Canady (Racine Park), David Skogman (Waukesha West), Cole Nau (Brookfield Central), and others.
Martin Luther Will Put on a Show This Season
For high school basketball junkies, Martin Luther will be worth the price of admission.
The Spartans didn’t even have last season’s second leading scorer Ace Evans (14.4 ppg), but blew the doors off Menomonee Falls.
Senior guard Trequan Carrington continues to be one of the most overlooked stars in the state. Last season, Carrington averaged 16.4 points per game. A high scoring guard with tremendous quickness and explosiveness, Carrington is a small, but fearless guard that’s so difficult to stay in front of.
His running mate, senior small forward Xzavier Jones has made some impressive gains. Known more for his athletic ability, Jones has worked hard on his ball handling in the off-season and is able to create much more effectively off the bounce. Away from the ball, if a teammate throws it anywhere near the rim, Jones can go up and get it.
Martin Luther was 21-4 last season. They’ll enter the 2018-19 campaign as one of the favorites in the Metro Classic Conference and in Division 3 as a whole.
Keep an Eye on the Class of 2022
There’s going to be a couple players chasing that No. 1 spot in Wisconsin’s class of 2022. A few of them were on display on Sunday.
Menomonee Falls has a pair of youngsters who look primed to play a major role this season.
Forward Steven Clay is a high-upside, exciting talent, with tons of potential. The 6-foot-4 freshman has a chance to be a terrific three-level scorer.
Point guard Seth Trimble, the younger brother of former North Carolina standout J.P. Tokoto, is a high-IQ guard that can knock down triples consistency.
Waukesha South has a tough rebuild ahead, but they have nice core piece in freshman guard Marshawan Robinson. Robinson has seemed to take control of the Blackshirts already and was a reliable scoring threat on Sunday, specifically from mid-range.