NEW BERLIN, Wisc. — It lived up to the hype.
In a game that ran out of tickets an hour before tip featuring Division I recruits wearing each uniform, it was a monster performance from Pewaukee’s Grant Basile that sent the Pirates past Whitnall, 60-59, in a Division 2 sectional semifinal Thursday night at New Berlin West.
Whitnall’s Tyler Herro, a University of Kentucky recruit and the must-see player in Wisconsin this season, capped his stellar high-school career with 24 points and 16 rebounds. But the 6-9 Basile, who finished with 29 points and 23 rebounds, put back the game-winner with 17 seconds left and then hauled in one last board on the other end when a driving attempt from Whitnall’s Joey Tilley rimmed out.
Basile cleared 1,000 career points in the game and made the final play on a bum right ankle, one that sent him to the floor in pain just moments earlier.
“We needed a play at the end, and no matter what, I’m not coming out of the game with a minute left,” said Basile, who will play for NCAA Tournament qualifier Wright State next year. “I’m not going to let that be my last high-school game.”
His next one comes Saturday when the Pirates (23-2) meet Milwaukee Washington (22-3) at 5 p.m. at West Allis Central with a state berth on the line. The Pirates have only been to the tournament once, in 2001.
When Dan Alexopoulos scored to put Whitnall ahead, 59-58, with 35 seconds to go, Basile landed awkwardly and stayed down for a few moments before getting up with a limp. He had injured his foot in a sectional semifinal loss to New Berlin Eisenhower last year and couldn’t return.