Sam Rohde did his best Steph Curry impersonation throughout the second half, Andrew Bruggink was a model of consistency from start to finish and youngsters Cole Nau and Andres Peralta-Werns provided huge sparks.
With the game on the line, and the hostile crowd yelling 'freshman' and 'choke,' Gage Malensek delivered two enormous free throws.
Brookfield Central's balanced boys basketball team received clutch performances up and down the lineup Jan. 8 and notched a huge 70-66 victory at West Allis Hale.
The Lancers' fifth straight triumph created a logjam at the top of the Greater Metro Conference, where Sussex Hamilton, Central, Hale and Marquette are all tied for the top spot with 3-1 league marks.
Rohde knocked down five of his six 3-pointers in the second half and scored 17 of his 20 points after intermission.
Bruggink also scored 20 points, including 13 in the first 10 minutes when Hale threatened to run away. Peralta-Werns added 13 points, while Nau had a team-high seven rebounds and Malensek had a team-best five assists and three steals.
Patterson tops Huskies
Hale's Devonte Patterson shot 10 of 14 from the floor on his way to a game-high 25 points to go with four rebounds and three steals. Rich Haertel added 16 points, while Ryan Haertel had 15 points and five assists.
The Huskies (8-3 overall) raced to a 13-3 lead just four minutes into the game as Hale connected on five of its first six shots. Central, on the other hand, scored just once on its first six possessions.
Hale still held a 23-17 lead after a 3-pointer by Patterson with 8:01 left in the half. That's when Central went on a game-changing 14-0 run over a 51/2 minute stretch.
Peralta-Werns started with a basket, and then Chris Reisner (7 points) had a rebound basket. After a Reisner free throw, Malensek scored at the 5:31 mark to give Central a 24-23 lead — its first of the night.
Peralta-Werns made a pair of free throws, Reisner scored again and Rohde drilled a 3-pointer off a terrific feed by Malansek.
When the Lancers' surge ended, they led, 31-23.
'We average over 70 points a game,' Hale coach John Palesse said. 'To not score for 6 minutes isn't like us.'
The Lancers' defense was key during the run.
Central scored on seven of its nine possessions during the burst. Hale, on the other hand, went scoreless on 10 straight trips, had six turnovers and shot zero of 4 from the floor.
'What was best about that is I thought we defended really well,' Central coach Dan Wandrey said. 'On the ball, we really got help, kind of maybe pushed them into some shots they weren't totally comfortable in taking.'
Hale closed within 31-28 by halftime, setting up a nip-and-tuck second half.
Hale rallies in second half
Ryan Haertel, Rich Haertel and Patterson shot a combined 13 of 21 from the floor in the second half (61.9 percent) to keep the Huskies close.
The Lancers, though, hit 57.9 percent from the field in the second half (11 of 19) and outscored Hale, 9-0, from the free-throw line.
For the game, the Huskies were just 1-for-4 from the line and Central 14 of 20.
Central appeared in control, holding a 66-59 lead with 1:38 left after a pair of Bruggink free throws, but Hale answered with a quick 7-1 spurt and closed to 67-66 with 23 seconds left.
Malensek was fouled with 17.3 seconds left, and the raucous Hale crowd tried rattling the freshman point guard, but Malensek would have no part of it and calmly drained both foul shots.
Patterson missed a contested, potential game-tying 3-pointer from the left corner, and then a final foul shot by Nau sealed the deal for the Lancers.
'We battled, and I liked our effort,' said Palesse, whose team shot 56 percent from the field and committed just nine turnovers. 'Just couldn't get over the hump in the second half. Our defense wasn't where it needed to be, but I give Central credit. They attacked us and got to the basket, and they hit their shots.'
The West Allis Hale boys played two other games last week, earning a split.
HALE 79, WAUKESHA SOUTH 63: The Huskies tallied the first 14 points of the second half to break open the Jan. 6 game at 45-31. Devonte Patterson collected 29 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals; Casey Farner 11 points and four assists, Ryan Haertel 11 points and four rebounds, Rich Haertel 6 points and four rebounds, Alec Peters 8 points and Mat Wall eight rebounds and two blocked shots.
EISENHOWER 70, HALE 67 (OT):In a game at Bradley Center in Milwaukee on Jan. 4, Patterson tallied 21 points, four rebounds and three steals; Ryan Haertel 14 points and four rebounds and Wall 8 points, eight rebounds, five assists and four blocks.