Winning ugly is always better than losing, and when you win 11 straight, they can’t all be pretty.
The Pewaukee girls basketball team extended its hot streak with a 37-25 victory over host New Berlin West on Friday night.
The Pirates got off to a slow in which they were scoreless for more than half the first quarter. Pewaukee mustered just six first-quarter points and trailed 19-9 before an 8-0 run late in the second quarter all but erased the deficit. The Vikings clung to a 21-20 lead at the break.
“It was not looking good for us,” Pewaukee head coach Todd Hansen said. “We’re down 19-9 with four minutes to go in the first half. We called timeout and we just said, ‘We gotta settle down a little bit.’ We got it to one and just played phenomenal defense in the second half.”
Showing plenty of the same resilience they’ve displayed throughout their impressive winning streak, the Pirates took their first lead of the night, 22-21, at the 4:52 mark in the third quarter. The Vikings were held scoreless the entire third quarter, though the Pirates did only score 5 points to build a 27-21 lead entering the fourth.
“It was just about execution,” Hansen said of the mid-game turnaround. “Our press has been our bread and butter all year. We caused a lot of problems for them with it. We knew who we didn’t want to shoot the ball. I credit our kids. After it was 19-9, we played as well as we could have played defensively.”
The Pirates steadily protected their lead, tacking on 10 points and allowing just four in the final quarter.
“It’s upsetting to score four points,” New Berlin West head coach Corey Scheel said. “It never should have been that way. I don’t think it’s a matter of playing really good defense, and I’m not taking anything away from Pewaukee; they played great. But we have opportunities in the paint and we’re not finishing. Missing those shots is contagious. One person misses them, and then everyone else loses confidence.”
Scheel said the second half performance was a microcosm of the Vikings’ season. The Vikings had a nine-point second half in a 49-39 game on Jan. 29 against Mukwonago. They lost that contest after holding a 30-17 lead at halftime. Moreover, the Vikings had a 26-point output at Pius on Jan. 18.
“The second half tells the story for the second half of the season right now,” he said. “I don't have any answers for you. We’re getting opportunities. We’re not finishing. It’s extremely frustrating to be playing good teams and be in those games and come out in the second half and have nothing.”
On a lackluster offensive evening, Pewaukee’s Lindsay Wisniewski was the only player in double figures with 13 points, including a perfect 6 of 6 showing from the free-throw line. Beth Ver Haagh led the Vikings with 8 points.
The Pirates improved to 16-2 overall and 11-2, good for third place in the extremely competitive Woodland South Conference. They host second-place New Berlin Eisenhower on Tuesday in a rematch of 59-32 loss on Dec. 4.
“We’ve done some nice things, as young as we are,” Hansen said “We’re on a nice little roll. Tonight was a huge test for us coming on the road against a good team. I’m ecstatic with the win.”
The Vikings fell to 11-7 and 9-4. They visit Wauwatosa West on Tuesday.
“We have to stay positive and stay together and keep at it,” Scheel said. “At this point, something’s gotta give.”
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