With 5 minutes, 29 seconds remaining in the first half, Whitefish Bay Dominican sophomore center Diamond Stone picked up his second foul and spent the rest of the first half on the Knights bench.
That was when senior Duane Wilson took over, scoring all 16 of the top-seeded Knights’ points in the frame and helping Dominican expand the lead with their big man on the bench en route to a 72-55 win over No. 3 Kenosha St. Joseph in a WIAA Division 4 sectional semifinal at Milwaukee South Division High School.
“When your big fella goes out of the game, someone has to step up,” said Wilson, who finished with a game-high 37 points. “I had to pick up the scoring load. My shot was just falling.
“I shoot those same shots in practice every day when I’m by myself. It was more like repetition for me.”
The effort moves the defending state champion Knights (21-4) just one win away from a return trip to Madison. They play at 1 p.m. Saturday against Laconia (25-0) at Brookfield Central.
“We have been taking things one game at a time as long as I’ve been coming to Dominican,” Wilson said. “Any team is capable of beating us, that’s why you have to come out and always give 110 percent.”
That game was not on the mind of the Knights, who had to beat the Lancers for the third time this season. With Stone, who still finished with 19 points, on the bench, the Knights knew to turn to Wilson.
“We ask our seniors to step up and (Duane) did,” Dominican coach Derek Berger said of Wilson, who coincidently had his season high of 44 points on the same floor against Milwaukee Washington on Dec. 1.
“Our guys do a good job of looking for Duane when he is open,” Berger said. “They were pressuring him a little bit, but he was able to get his shot off. He is so quick and explosive he is able to go up and knock down his shots.”
The Lancers (18-7) had fallen to Dominican by 10 and 32 points in their Metro Classic Conference season and fell behind by 10 in the first quarter only to get within 8 and 9 on two occasions in the second and third quarters but could not muster another run to get closer.
“We came out in the second half and had our legs under us and get some easy baskets,” said Lancers coach Jose Winston, who had nothing but positive things to say about Dominican’s star duo. “Duane is one of the top players in the state. Big-players can do that. His jump shot was going and he was hitting from deep and was getting to the paint. There was only so much we could do.
“Diamond has unbelievable potential with such a great touch at a young age. He’s still growing and going to get more physical. The ceiling is the limit for him.”
Senior guard Alex Foster led the Lancers with 18 points and was part of the no-quit attitude the team showed throughout the night -- something the team has built on just three years removed from a three-win season.
“We had a great season,” said Winston. “Anytime you take a team that three years ago was 3-19 and each year they work, work and work and finish a season like they did this year at 18-7. That’s a pretty good season.”
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