A lot was at stake when Sussex Hamilton played invading Brookfield Central on Valentine's Day.
The lead in the Greater Metro Conference standings, for one thing.
The upper hand in the upcoming WIAA Division 1, Sectional 2 seed meeting, for another.
As it turned out, Brookfield Central junior David Joplin answered those questions -- and several more -- in leading the Lancers to a 78-73 triumph.
Joplin scored 36 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as Brookfield Central took a two-game lead over Sussex Hamilton in the league standings and all but wrapped up the undisputed championship.
Brookfield Central later earned the No. 1 seed in a loaded sectional and had qualified for the sectional final against -- who else? -- Sussex Hamilton before COVID-19 ended the season.
For Joplin, his performance in a marquee game against a high-quality opponent proved he is definitely a prospect to watch for high-major NCAA Division I programs.
And word spread fast.
In fact, Georgetown's Patrick Ewing, at the Lancers' next game against Brookfield East a day ahead of the Hoyas' match-up with Marquette at Fiserv Arena, became the first high-major coach to offer Joplin a scholarship after watching the 6-foot-7 forward drop 34 on the Spartans one game after his 36-point explosion against Sussex Hamilton.
In the contest against Sussex Hamilton, Joplin made 6 of 10 shots from three-point range. He also had six triples in 10 attempts in the Lancers' previous outing, a win over Milwaukee Marquette in a contest where Joplin again scored 36 points.
Joplin got plenty of help from his teammates against Sussex Hamilton.
Senior forward Eric Radisevic (6-9), who owns a NCAA Division II offer from Parkside, scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Junior guard Ben Nau (6-2), who owns Division I offers from both Green Bay and Milwaukee, among others, added 10 points, six rebounds and five assists.
For Sussex Hamilton, which dropped a 64-56 decision at Brookfield Central on January 17, junior Patrick Baldwin Jr. (6-9) led the way with 29 points and 13 rebounds.
Junior guard Tanner Resch (6-1) added 14 points and seniors Carson Smith (6-1) and JT Hoytink (6-1) contributed 11 each for the Chargers, who finished the campaign with a 22-3 record under coach Andy Cerroni.