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Cedarburg coach Tom Diener feels his boys basketball team's competition in the North Shore Conference is becoming stronger each week.

"All of the teams in our conference are getting much better as the season progresses," he said.

No matter how much the opposition has improved, however, the Bulldogs remain on top of the league and by a steadily increasing margin.

They downed Whitefish Bay, 77-68, on Jan. 24 to improve to 8-0 in the conference and open up a three-game lead over Bay, Nicolet and Grafton (5-3) going into this week.

Cedarburg showed strong balance against the Blue Dukes, with Matt Barber leading the way with 22 points, Jordan Johnson following with 21 and John Diener adding 20. The three also combined for 10 shots from 3-point range.

"Matt played a great game on both ends of the court," coach Diener said, "but he was especially impressive shooting the basketball. He hit some very big 3-point shots to keep us moving in the right direction."

Diener also said his three starting seniors, Jared Short, Clayton Van Tassel and Johnson, played well from start to finish.

"Whitefish Bay is becoming a very good team as the season progresses, and we knew it would be a tough game," the coach said. "They (the Dukes) caused us some defensive problems, especially with Xavier Johnson lighting us up for 39. He's a great player and had a great game."

The Bulldogs (14-2 overall going into this week) then dropped Whitnall, 64-50, on Jan. 28 at Brookfield Central, although the Falcons were without their star, Tyler Herro, who is coming back from a knee injury.

Cedarburg jumped out to a 12-2 lead with 6 points apiece from Diener and Johnson and then maintained a double-digit advantage for the rest of the game.

Johnson led the way with 27 points, Diener put in 15 and Barber added 10 points.

Whitnall (11-3) was led by Kevion Taylor with 32 points but lacked firepower after that.

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