New Berlin - The New Berlin Eisenhower girls basketball team doesn't get tested a lot these days. First of all, the Lions are an outstanding basketball team. Second of all, there are not a lot of good teams in the Woodland Conference this year.
Saturday night at Pewaukee, the Eisenhower girls were tested and they passed with flying colors, beating Pewaukee, 75-68, in a double overtime thriller before a large, enthusiastic crowd.
The win left the Lions with a 13-0 record in the Woodland Conference Black Division with four league games to play. Since South Milwaukee at 9-4 is in second, the Lions clinched a title tie, their fourth in a row.
Two years since last loss
They have won 35 straight conference games, last losing on Jan. 30, 2010, to Pewaukee, 59-52. The loss dropped the Pirates (11-2, 14-2) into a first-place tie with Cudahy in the Blue Division.
"My kids battle to the finish every time," Eisenhower coach Gary Schmidt said. "We know if we want to go anywhere, that's what we have to do. If you have a job and you work for seven hours on an eight-hour shift, it ain't going to work."
The Pirates had the Lions on the ropes twice. The first time was when they were leading 53-50 when Eisenhower called time out with 9.9 seconds left in regulation.
With everyone guarding All-Star Nicole Bauman - she finished with 27 points before fouling out in the second OT - the Lions inbounded the ball to Jenny Weiland, all alone at the top of the key. The 5-foot-10-inch junior forward immediately took the shot and hit nothing but net with 6.3 seconds remaining to play to send the game into overtime at 53-53.
"We practice it a lot," Ike coach Gary Schmidt said. "When we get lucky, she (Weiland) is open and she hit the shot."
Weiland knew she had a good look.
"We knew they were going to guard Nicole," she said. "We always had second options and I was just there - right spot. It felt good. I knew it was in right away; straight down the middle. I was so excited."
Pirates squander lead
The first OT was an 11-11 tie, as Weiland had six points in the extra period. But the Pirates let the Lions off the hook for the second time, as they led 62-57 on Jordyn Swan's two free throws with 2:12 left to play.
But Weiland hit two free throws and a layup, Pewaukee's Brittany Groer added two free throws to make it 64-61 before the fearless Bauman nailed a long three with 35 seconds left to tie the game at 64-64 going into the final OT.
The Lions' Katie Lang opened with a basket, Groer hit 1-of-2 free throws and then the Lions pulled away. But Erin Ganzke hit two big baskets and Kristin Hesselbach hit 1-of-2 free throws for a 71-65 lead with 1:49 to play.
Natalie Wood hit 1-of-2 free throws for Pewaukee and then Taylor McArthur and Weiland did the same (each 1-of-2) before Lang nailed 2-for-2 for a 75-66 lead. Katie Wood went 2-for-2 for the Pirates with 10.9 seconds to play to close out the scoring.
Bauman, back after missing two games with a sprained ankle, played well with 27 points, including five 3-pointers. Weiland had 13, Lang 11, Hesselbach had eight and played a great floor game as did the gutsy Ganzer, who finished with six. Pewaukee's Swan had 25 points, Natalie Wood had 14, Emily Wirth 13 and Groer had 11.
Coming back from injury
It was Bauman's first game back after suffering a high ankle sprain that forced her to miss two games.
"She was exhausted at the end of the game," Schmidt said. "But was I happy with her, oh gosh. I was happy with my whole team. It was a complete team win today."
Bauman was happy to win and be a part of it again.
"I was real excited that I got cleared to play," she said. "It's better now. It doesn't hurt at all."
Then she praised her teammates.
"Everyone was confident," she said. "We were strong and played hard the whole game. Those key shots that Jenny and Erin took; it took a combination for us to win the game."
Weiland was happy with the results against such a fine team.
"We love to look forward to the tough games," she said. "We need them for the end of the regular season and then beyond."
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