The Wauwatosa East girls basketball team had a 10-point lead in the third quarter and a one-point lead with the ball with 2.2 seconds left in the game - and lost a 42-41 heartbreaker Friday night at West Allis Hale.
Despite the loss, Tosa East coach Rob Hamill was pleased with his team's effort coming off a terrible 69-16 loss to Sussex Hamilton in the previous game.
"Our team responded like we had hoped after the tough loss against Sussex," he said. "We played with intensity and high effort. Besides the demoralizing defeat on Friday, we overcame a number of other things Tuesday. It was Hale's Parent Night, their gym and their crowd.
"We worked our way out to a 10-point lead in the third quarter but had difficulty playing from ahead and let the lead slip away."
The Red Raiders had a slim 22-21 halftime advantage and pulled out to a 34-28 advantage after three periods. But the Huskies doubled up Tosa East in the fourth quarter (14-7) which led to a crushing defeat.
Hale battled back to trail by only one with about 38 seconds left and the ball. The Huskies called their last timeout with about 15 seconds left in the game, set up an inbounds play and had two excellent looks but were thwarted by Tosa East's defense.
Hale immediately responded and put Alayah Walls on the line for a 1-and-1 with five seconds left. Walls missed, but the Huskies stepped in the lane early and Walls got another chance and sank 1-for-2 shots.
Hale got the ball but Tosa East tied up the ball just short of half court and had the possession arrow with 2.2 seconds left.
The Huskies quickly got into a full denial-mode, trying to either get a steal or quick foul. They batted back the first inbound attempt. After a referee conference, one second was taken off with East inbounding at midcourt.
But the Red Raiders threw the ball away and since no one touched it, the Huskies got the ball back with 1.2 seconds and at midcourt. Hamill called timeout to set up the defense.
"We drew up a play with senior Rachel Seefeldt inbounding the ball with four across on our free throw line," Hale coach George Sotiros said.
Senior Sarah Mueller caught the ball in front of their bench, turned to square up and drained a 3-pointer for the one-point win.
Katie Salmon, averaging 17.7 points per game, almost had half of her team's points as she poured in 20 points and Walls had nine. Mueller finished with 14 for Hale.
The loss left the Red Raiders in last place in Greater Metro Conference play (0-4).
East falls to Washington
The Red Raiders lost to Milwaukee Washington, 65-55, Friday on the road.
Tosa East lost the game in the second and third quarters, being outscored 33-16 after taking a 13-10 first-quarter lead. Washington improved to 2-6, while Tosa East dropped to 1-7 and entered the week on a six-game losing streak.
"Their place is a tough place to play; it can get loud with a relatively small crowd," Hamill said. "Give them credit, they are very athletic with one player, Lamaris Moreno, that we know very well that can really heat it up (34 points). Which she did.
"Any shot that left her hand, no matter from where, no matter who was on her, no matter how closely guarded, it seemed like its destiny was the net."
Hamill was again pleased with the way his team competed.
"I think the game turned into a good battle," he said. "We had a chance to cut it down to a four-point lead pretty late in the game but turned the ball over on a breakaway. It just took us too long to make it a good battle."
Whereas Shanell Dedrick supported Marrero with 18 points, Salmon scored 26 points and failed to get much support behind her, as Colleen Heck was the next highest scorer with seven points.
When asked about his team's unbalanced attack, Hamill talked about it candidly.
"Ellen Pickering has shown the ability to make shots and so has Alayah Walls," he said. "I think they would agree we are looking for more consistency there.
"Our offense is not designed to feature one person more than another; all our players are encouraged to take the shots that are generated from the offensive scheme when they are there. We just need to do a better job at really running the scheme, knocking down the open shots that are there, and then getting to the offensive glass in anticipation of a miss."
Hamill said they will continue to experiment with lineups in practice and in games that may feature some of the players who are now getting up to speed with varsity-level competition in the hope of finding that right mix that leads to more balanced production.
He then explained that he was pleased with Heck's performance and Natalie Patton, who scored two points, but took good shots.
He also felt that Aubrey Nigh and Sammie Osinski are ready to step up soon.
The Red Raiders play their annual battle at Wauwatosa West at 7 p.m. Friday.
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