East Troy High School senior Jared Brehm (No. 10) tips the ball up for two in the Feb. 12 Jefferson. The Trojans won, 53-47. (Eric Kramer photo)

By Dan Truttschel


The race to the Rock Valley Conference boys basketball title is over.

And for the fifth time in the last eight years, it’s East Troy that is standing on top of the mountain.

Coupled with the Trojans’ 65-40 win Monday night over visiting Beloit Turner and McFarland’s 67-63 loss to Jefferson, East Troy clinched the crown with one regular-season game remaining.

The Trojans improved to 16-5 overall and 16-1 in the RVC, two games ahead of 14-3 McFarland.

“Things worked out well,” East Troy coach Darryl Rayfield said. “Winning the conference this year for the first time since I’ve been here was more important, just because we had a mixture of a lot of young guys who haven’t been there before and some older kids, who it’s (now) their turn.”

East Troy had a run of three straight titles, beginning with the 2010-11 squad, but the road to a championship has become tougher recently, which makes this one even more special, Rayfield said.

“The whole league has gotten way better over the last four or five years,” he said. “It’s not as easy as it was. It makes you have to be ready every night. That’s the fun of it.”

East Troy jumped out quickly Monday night and held a 28-14 lead at halftime – thanks in large part to its defense, Rayfield said.

That charge was led by Michael Polakoski, who Rayfield assigned to Turner’s top player, a move that paid huge dividends.

“We were engaged defensively,” Rayfield said. “Michael Polakoski guarded a kid who was averaging 17 points a game and shut him down. … He accepted that (challenge), and that was big moving forward because he’s going to have to guard a couple guys in the tournament who are pretty good.”

The Trojans outscored Turner, also nicknamed the Trojans, 37-26, in the final 18 minutes to cruise to the win.

A.J. Vukovich continued his season-long scoring binge with a game-high 26 points, followed by Quinten Lottig with 14, Logan Mitchell with 10 and Nick Bourdo with seven.

“We did it the ‘East Troy’ way,” Rayfield said. “We moved the ball, we shared the ball (Monday). We’ve had guys all year long, collectively, who have done a lot of nice things. … Offensively, that was the best we’ve moved the ball as a team.”

East Troy closed its regular season Thursday night at Brodhead. The Trojans, who drew the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Division 3 regional, will host the winner of No. 6 Turner or No. 11 Shoreland Lutheran in a second-round matchup March 2.

Trojans topple Evansville

East Troy opened its week with a hard-fought 66-57 victory Feb. 15 at Evansville. The Trojans led, 38-33, at halftime and held on from there.

Vukovich had 25 points to lead the way, followed by Bourdo with 15 and Mitchell with eight.

“It was a pretty good game,” Rayfield said. “They always play us tough. They have a pretty good program. The last couple games, we’ve shared the ball (well), and there is a little more sense of urgency.”



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