December 22, 2011 | 08:58 PMThe date was Feb. 16, 2010.
The Burlington boys basketball team lost a battle with rival Waterford, 64-55. Since then, the Demons have reeled off 20 straight Southern Lakes Conference victories and have become seemingly untouchable.
Sophomore Jacob Growel and the Badgers had other plans for first-place Burlington. Growel scored 15 of his game-high 21 points in the second half, and Ian Weber added 15 as the Badgers stunned the visiting Demons, 53-46.
Badger improved to 2-6 overall and 2-3 in the SLC, while Burlington fell to 4-3 overall and 4-1. It was a signature win for the Badger basketball program, which hasn't had a winning conference record since 2008.
Badger coach Darin Lottig said his team set the tone early.
"The first possession of the game, we probably ran two minutes of offense," he said. "It wasn't by design. We wanted to run our stuff and share the ball and take good shots. It was kind of cool to see that kind of discipline. The kids really put it together tonight, and I think they got some confidence in some teammates."
The Demons jumped out to a 9-7 lead after one quarter, but Badger's 15-11 second quarter gave the local guys a two-point halftime lead. Weber came alive in the second period, hitting two baskets and adding two free throws.
The momentum continued into the third quarter for Badger. Growel scored 10 of the team's 12 third-quarter points, giving Badger a 34-31 advantage heading into the final frame. In the third, Growel was able to beat his defenders off the dribble at will and either pull up for a short jumper or get to the line.
In the fouth, despite a menacing Burlington full-court press and half-court trapping defense, Badger was able to control possession and limit turnovers. Badger sophomore Tony Ashley, playing in his first varsity game one day removed from his first varsity practice, hit a huge triple to give Badger its biggest lead at eight points midway through the fourth.
But with 3:25 remaining, Burlington's Tim Peterson capped off a 6-0 run (all his points) with a layup in traffic to cut the Badger lead to 43-41.
That's when Weber stole a page from Ashley's repertoire and knocked down a 3-pointer from the same spot as Ashley (right elbow), which extended the lead to 46-42.
Next, sophomore Jake Kozlowski, who was playing with a large bandage on his head from an earlier cut, knocked down two free throws for a 48-42 advantage.
With 1:40 left, Peterson drove the lane and collided with a Badger defender, resulting in a charge. Peterson, Burlington's second-leading scorer, had to sit with five fouls.
However, the Demons weren't dead yet. Lyons resident Ty Dennis made a layup to cut the Badger lead to 49-44 with 19.1 seconds left.
After a Burlington timeout, Badger put the icing on the cake. Junior Colton Andresen caught a long inbound pass and took it in for a breakaway layup to give Badger an insurmountable lead at 51-44 in the final stages.
It was Growel's second straight 20-point game. The point guard leads the team with 14.5 points per game and is the area's fourth-leading scorer.
"Jacob is really doing a nice job of playing differently this year," Lottig said. "I'm asking him to rely on his teammates a little bit more. His teammates are learning to be relied on. People are stepping up and hitting big shots. It was a great team effort tonight. It's nice to have some excitement here about basketball."
"Coach (Lottig) said we needed to play as a team," Growel said. "Tony Ashley and Ian Weber really stepped up. This is really going to let people know we're here, and we're not going to take our foot off the pedal."
Badger shot 74 percent from the charity stripe (20-27).
Eric Gerber led Burlington with 14 points. Dennis finished with six.
Badger now travels to the Fort Atkinson holiday tournament Dec. 28 and Dec. 29. Check a future edition of the Lake Geneva Regional News for results. For more on tonight's game including photos, pick up Wednesday's Regional News.