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Cooley ignites Homestead boys rally over Bay, 51-45

Highlanders stay in second in NSC

Jan. 19, 2014

Once Homestead senior guard Seth Cooley cocks back his wrist — it doesn't matter where he is on the court or when he does it — the entire Highlanders bench springs to its feet, hands thrown high in the air.

Cheers erupt from Cooley's teammates and even the senior himself can't help but take a little leap of exhilaration.

What else are they supposed to do when watching someone shoot from long distance is this fun?

Last Friday, Cooley's long-distance bombs ignited Homestead's comeback against North Shore Conference boys basketball rival Whitefish Bay and helped the Highlanders win a tense 51-45 battle, keeping themselves in second place in the North Shore Conference, just one game behind defending champ Germantown.

Homestead's victory also broke the Blue Dukes' eight-game winning streak.

"With the threes I take, I mean, when I start making them they expect me to make them," said Cooley, who helped his team improve to 11-1 overall and 6-1 in league play. "When I spot up, they get excited I guess."

The bench roared during the third quarter, as Cooley sunk three of his four 3-pointers during a tight period.

Trailing by two, Cooley spotted up at 6:25 left in the third and gave Homestead a 25-22 lead it would not relinquish.

"Seth's the glue," Homestead coach Kevin McKenna said. "Everybody knows he's the guy that can put us on a run. He's the guy that can get us back in it and he's the guy who can separate us. Tonight he separated us."

Cooley, who scored a team-high 14 points, sunk two more consecutive threes over nearly a four-minute span that had Homestead ahead 31-27.

"He was on fire," Bay coach Kevin Lazovik said. "He didn't miss and we paid the price."

Similar to the first meeting between the two teams, things were close down the stretch.

It also got rather physical for both teams, which committed 13 fouls in the first three quarters, yet tallied 15 in the final quarter alone.

Homestead would take advantage, going 13-17 (77 percent) from the free-throw line in the final period to keep the Blue Dukes at a distance.

"Both teams got in foul trouble and it did become a free-throw shooting contest," said Lazovik, whose squad went 3-7 (43 percent) from the line in the fourth. "(Homestead) definitely made the ones they needed to."

Homestead suffered a key loss two and a half minutes into the second quarter when senior starter Jarrod Walton exited the game with a lower leg injury.

McKenna felt his team did well late in the game, but the Highlanders certainly missed Walton's presence.

"We didn't have one of our best ball-handlers in Jerrod down there," McKenna said. "We just did what we needed to do and protected our house."

After scoring a season-low 37 points at Bay in a win on Dec. 10, Homestead focused on breaking the Blue Dukes' difficult 2-3 zone defense.

"With their 2-3 zone, we sometimes have trouble," Cooley said. "That was our main goal this time (to do well against the zone). Our game defensively was also good, which is why it's low scoring. The offense will come when we play good defense."

Bay led 13-8 after one quarter, but Homestead got a strong offensive effort from sophomore Jack Popp (12 points) and senior Luke Mueller (11 points).

Senior guard Joe Sherburne had a game-high 20 points for Bay (5-3, 10-4).

RACE HEATS UP

UP NEXT: Homestead will be cheering like mad for Bay on Friday, when the Blue Dukes visit the two-time state defending champion Germantown (8-0, 14-1) squad at 7:30 p.m. Bay hit 10 threes against Germantown the first time around in December and lost by only eight. Meanwhile, Homestead took on defending state D2 runner-up Wisconsin Lutheran on Tuesday and then host Port Washington at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

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