This is the way it is now for Whitefish Bay girls basketball coach Greg Capper.
His team has won 11 of its last 12 games including six in a row and has posted its best record (15-4) since the 2006 state D2 runner-up season with its only loss to top-ranked in state Nicolet on Jan. 28.
It has suffocated opponents with a relentless press and halfcourt defense and has found an effective one-two punch in freshman center Maya Jonas and sophomore guard Elisabeth Johnston.
And yet even after an admittedly hit-and-miss effort Tuesday night, the Blue Dukes still found themselves with a 42-32 nonconference win over Wauwatosa East.
Which Capper was not happy with.
"I've never seen us miss so many free throws (just six of 15 in the second half after a 10 of 11 start in the first half) or miss so many lay-ups," he said. "I know we're on a nice little roll here, but we can't forget that we're dealing with teenagers here and it's just hard to get them up and motivated for every game."
In short, this is what it's like in the new Whitefish Bay with substantially raised expectations.
The Blue Dukes lived down to expectation against the stuggling Red Raiders (3-17) in the first quarter, eeking out a mere 7-6 lead. Things got quite a bit better in the second period as Bay used an effective full-court trap and forced eight turnovers out of East.
An 8-0 run midway through the session pushed the Blue Duke advantage to 22-11 at the half. Jonas had six of her 17 points in the quarter.
But if Capper expected Bay to move into third gear in the second half, he was disappointed. The defense remained good enough as East failed to get the margin below nine in the third quarter or eight in the fourth.
But the offense never quite found its gear. The Blue Dukes hit only seven of 22 shots in the second half to go along with the faulty effort at the foul stripe.
East remained feisty in the fourth quarter as guard Carly Herald scored 10 of her 14 points including both three-pointers, but Bay outscored the Red Raiders 7-2 over a four-minute span after Herald's last three closed the gap to eight.
Herald got help from Alayah Walls with seven points, while for Bay, Jonas, who was also seven of eight from the foul line, got assistance from Johnston with 15 while Lyndsey Agnew had eight.
"Our fundamentals, especially on defense weren't there on a consistent basis all night," Capper said. "It's not what we're capable of."
Bay will have a chance to live up to Capper's expectations on Friday, when it visits Cedarburg (9-3, 15-5) in an attempt to all but clinch second place in the North Shore standings.
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