New Berlin - In order to clinch a tie for the Woodland Conference West Division Championship with Pius XI, the New Berlin Eisenhower girls needed to beat a good New Berlin West team on Senior Night at West.
It wasn't the best scenario for the Lions.
But Eisenhower went on a 9-0 run late in the game and defeated the crosstown rival Vikings, 52-42, in the regular-season finale.
"We knew coming in here, West is always a tough game," a happy and relieved Ike coach Gary Schmidt said. "They are well prepared, well coached. It's one of those games you throw all the rules out.
"I think our kids had some pressure on their shoulders, knowing they had to win the game."
Ike pulls out lead
Following a basket by West's Anne Radtke with 2 minutes, 50 seconds left in the third quarter, cutting the lead to 31-30, Ike put the game away.
Senior Jenny Weiland passed to senior Katie Lang, who scored on a drive, was fouled and dropped in the free throw to take a 34-30 lead into the fourth quarter.
Sammy Kozlowski opened the scoring by hitting a jumper and Erin Ganzke hit two free throws and a jumper and suddenly it was a 10-point game, 40-30.
Tight first half
After a 14-14 first quarter, Ike took a slim 22-21 lead into halftime, as West senior Beth Ver Haagh scored 15 of her team's points.
"I think in the first half they took a lot of things away from us," Schmidt said. "We played better in the second half, made some shots. But they were back and forth. Games like this you can't put a label on it. Sometimes it's just a whacko game and a lot of fun to watch."
Vikings coach Corey Scheel shared his plan on battling the Lions.
"Our whole thing all week was to be more physical, be more tough, don't back down," Scheel said. "We knew what they were going to do offensively, what we were going to do defensively, we were prepared.
"We told the kids don't let them in front of us. Keep your man away from the ball. Check them off. Make contact with them before they make contact with you. Just be physical because that's the kind of style they play.
"If we don't do that we are going to get our butts kicked."
Eisenhower senior Ganske talked about the pressure on the Lions.
"The first half was pretty rough. We all felt we needed to win the game. We calmed down in the second half and just played our game. We moved ball better."
Lots of charity throws
The teams went to the free throw line 56 times, as Eisenhower was 22-for-30 and the Vikings were 16-for-26.
"They made shots, made their free throws," Scheel said. "They're a better shooting team than us. I can say that. We finally have that metal plate in our forehead (blocking negative thoughts). We know that we can play with them."
Schmidt was happy to come out on top.
"We hit some key shots and got some putbacks too," Schmidt said. "It was a good game, well-contested. I'm glad we got this one over with it. Now we can enjoy the celebration and look forward to the second season."
Ver Haagh scored a game-high 20 points, as the Lions held the Vikings' star to five second-half points. Lang played a good game, but struggled with fouls, leading Eisenhower with 14 points, and Ganske added 10, going 8-for-8 from the free throw line.
Ike and Pius now share the title (16-1) while the Vikings finish 11-6. The Lions are 20-2 overall and the Vikings are 13-9.
Ike destroyed Cudahy, 67-23, of the Woodland Conference East Division (8-13, 7-10) on Feb. 18.
Eisenhower used 19-2 first period to put the game away quickly. An 18-6 second quarter made sure of it for a 37-8 halftime lead.
Ike was perfect from the free throw line (14-14).
Jenny Weiland led all scorers with 18 and Katie Lang had 14.
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