Anyone who believes the Cedarburg boys basketball team is a one-man show needed to see the Bulldogs' game against Whitefish Bay on Dec. 2.
Senior Jordan Johnson was the driving force behind Cedarburg's 76-51 triumph in the North Shore Conference opener, scoring a game-high 31 points, including 22 in the first half.
Johnson helped his team pull away late in the first half, tallying 10 quick points to increase a 30-28 lead to a 40-30 halftime advantage.
Casual fans may think primarily of junior standout John Diener when considering the Bulldogs, and Diener is one of the top players in the state, but he has plenty of help from Johnson and others.
"Jordan flat out can score the ball," coach Tom Diener said, "and he keeps improving every year. He played here (varsity) when he was a freshman, about 5 foot, 6 inches, and he just kept growing and getting stronger and better. Now he's a senior and just a tremendous scorer, really a great player.
"He's always been really skilled, and he always could shoot the ball, but he's just matured. He's getting bigger and stronger, and now he's 6-5. He's a good shooting guard."
Johnson himself was willing to spread the credit for his big game.
"My teammates were getting me the ball, and we were playing together," Johnson said. "I've developed my postgame the past couple of years, my mid-range game. When I was younger, I shot a lot of 3s, and now I think I'm a more complete player."
John Diener also played well, with 22 points, including 13 in the second half to help keep the Bulldogs comfortably ahead of Bay.
Clayton Van Tassel added 10 points and Matt Barber 9 points for Cedarburg, which looked the part of the favorite in the North Shore this season.
"I think we should be favored to win conference, if we keep playing together and doing what we're doing," Johnson said.
Late 10-2 run
The game against Bay went back and forth for much of the first half, with three lead changes and three ties in the early going.
The Bulldogs moved out to a narrow lead and were up, 30-28, with about four minutes left when Johnson hit a basket and 3-point field goal.
Bay's David Thompson replied with a steal and breakaway layup, but Johnson hit another basket and closed the half by picking up a loose ball and driving the lane for a three-point play with 4.8 seconds left to make it 40-30.
The Bulldogs were ahead 45-32 in the second half when the Blue Dukes tallied six straight points to come within 45-38, but that was as close as they would get.
Cedarburg went on a 16-5 run, with Diener scoring 7 of those points, for a 61-43 advantage. The Bulldogs then closed out the game with 11 straight points.
Xavier Johnson paced Bay with 16 points, Cade Garcia added 11 points and Thompson 10 points.
"This has been a tough place for us to play the last few years," coach Diener said of Bay. "It's really rewarding to come away with a victory here. It's really a great win for us."
Cedarburg tops Hamilton
Cedarburg played again on Dec. 3, facing one of coach Diener's former squads in downing Milwaukee Hamilton, 64-52.
John Diener totaled 20 points and Johnson 19, with the two combining to hit 15 of 16 free throws. Hunter Lewis and Patrick McKenzie each added 6 points.
The Bulldogs, who were 3-0 entering this week, will take on Milwaukee Lutheran at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, on the road and Port Washington at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13, at home.