Hot Suns scorch the Grafton boys

But senior-less Black Hawks could return everyone to the team a year wiser, stronger, faster and taller

GRAFTON’S ALEX HUIBREGTSE kept his team in the game at West Bend East with 19 points in the first half on Feb. 27. The Hawks ended up losing, 78-55 to end their season. Photo by Mitch Maersch

Scoring could come from a handful of players this season for the Grafton boys’ basketball team.

But at West Bend East on Feb. 27, one guard single-handedly kept the Black Hawks in the game.

Junior guard Alex Huibregtse scored 19 points in the first half, including four three-pointers, to ensure a 41-34 deficit wasn’t any worse.

He cooled in the second while the Suns kept up the pace, and Grafton’s season ended with a 78-55 loss in a WIAA Division 2 regional quarterfinal to its new North Shore Conference rivals.

For No. 6-seeded East, Trevor Simpson scored 17 of his 22 points in the first half.

“(Huibregtse) and Simpson were going back and forth in the first half. It looked like a pretty good duel,” coach Damon James said.

Down seven at the break, the No. 11-seeded Hawks needed a burst in the second half. The Suns got one instead, scoring two baskets in the first minute and causing James to call a quick timeout.

East scored four more points to stretch the lead to 15 before the Hawks could get on the board in the second half. The deficit never got closer than 12 the rest of the way.

“Defensively, it wasn’t where it needed to be for a playoff game. Give East a lot of credit. They imposed their will,” James said.

“We didn’t get stops. We didn’t do things we needed to defensively.”

Behind Huibregtse, Jaden Polack had 10 points and Ayden Edmundson eight.

For East, Dylan Polster had 14 points, Ethan Wedemater 11, Zach Smith eight and Nathan Craighead seven.

Four Hawks tied for the team lead with four rebounds each. Huibregtse had two assists.

The Suns began to pull away midway through the first half. After a Huibregtse deep jumper tied the game at 21-21, the Suns went on a 10-0 run, stopped by a Huiregtse three-pointer from the top of the key.

“Playoff basketball is a different kind of pressure,” James said.

It was the third time the Suns beat the Black Hawks this season. East went on to lose at Nicolet, 69-50.

Grafton finished the season 8-15 overall, but there’s a silver lining. No Hawk is a senior.

“I’m semi-excited about that,” James said.

He is holding off on all-out full-blown optimism until he sees what his players do in the offseason.

“After the summer, I’ll know how excited I should be,” James said.

After graduating 13 of 14 players on the roster last year, James looks forward to seeing the same faces next season. 

“We should, theoretically, hit the ground with more knowledge, which should put us in a much better position than this year,” he said.

Among the Hawks expected to return is  J.P. Benzschawel, whose freshman season was cut short early due to injury. At 6 feet, 7 inches, he could provide an inside presence Grafton desperately needs.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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