Beating a back-to-back state champion on its home floor is a tall task. Beating them when they have a once in a generation player makes it nearly impossible.
Whitefish Bay Dominican junior Diamond Stone turned his game up a notch to start the second half as Dominican eliminated Brookfield Academy, 69-48, in a WIAA Division 4 regional final Saturday night. The defending champs move on to play Racine St. Catherine March 6 at Milwaukee South.
"You don't slow down Diamond Stone," said Brookfield Academy coach Pat Clarey. "He slows himself down if he wants to. He has a pro body and what impressed me are his intangibles. They don't flinch if he's out there."
Brookfield Academy (18-6) stayed within striking distance, trailing 25-18, after Sean Clarey scored and was fouled but failed to convert the free throw. The missed free throw ignited something in Stone, and the 6-foot-8 forward, who is being recruited by every major Division I college, turned into an unstoppable force.
Stone responded by scoring the next nine of his team's 11 points including a pair of dunks that took the wind out of Brookfield Academy. Dominican's lead ballooned to as many as 15 points in the third quarter as the Knights defense continued to force Brookfield Academy into quick shots and unforced errors.
Stone finished with 32 points and four blocks.
"If the game is close in the second half, Diamond isn't messing around," said Dominican senior Jack Jelacic. "He wears a size 17 shoe, I wear a size 16, so it can get a little confusing down in the paint. But now we know where each other is going to be all the time. We are really jelling as a team.
Added Stone: "The last two years we had some great talent in Duane Wilson and some other guys, but I feel now it's my time. I am ready to take over and lead this team."
The 6-7 Jelacic made life difficult for Clarey, who had just four points entering the fourth quarter. The Michigan Tech recruit heated up late, scoring 12 points in the final period before fouling out. Sean, whose father is the coach, shared an emotional hug on his way to the bench.
"I told him thanks, and now I can't wait to go be a dad for him," said Pat Clarey. "For so long, I have been his coach, but now I get to be a fan of his at Michigan Tech. I'm going to be out there with the face paint and be his fan."
The youngest Clarey, Ryan, added 15 points for Brookfield Academy, who won a share of the Midwest Classic Conference.
"The Clarey brothers missed some shots they normally make," said Dominican coach Derek Berger. "That helped us out; Brookfield Academy is a very powerful offensive team."
Dominican will play St. Catherine for the third time this season, Dominican won the previous two matchups.
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