The winning streak is over, but the Wauwatosa West boys basketball team has a lot to be proud of.
The Trojans came within a three-point shot by Andre Carroll of sending their 50-47 loss at Pius XI into overtime. But he missed the shot and the Popes snapped West's win streak at six games.
But the good news was before the loss, West scored a 74-56 win over Shorewood on Dec. 17. With the split, West's record is at 7-2, tied for second in the rugged Woodland West Division with a 5-2 league record along with the Popes, Greendale and Pewaukee (4-2).
The Popes looked like they would run away with the game after a 20-11 first period, but the Trojans came back with an impressive 16-5 second period to take a slim 27-25 halftime lead.
"The guys battled so hard all night, it was a physical game from the opening tip," West coach Chad Stelse said. "They came out on fire — they (the Popes) were making contested shots from all over the court in the first quarter, but I like the way our guys responded after their initial push to start the game."
Stelse was pleased with the defense, but the Trojans got away from what was making them successful in the second half offensively.
"Our defensive effort kept us in the game all night," he said. "Offensively, in the second half we got away from what has worked this season, and that is running our offense, making the extra pass for a great shot.
"We took way too many quick shots and we stoped moving without the ball. We only had nine assists as a team.
"We must get back to sharing the ball better if we want to compete with the best in this conference."
Pius took a 38-37 lead into the final period and outscored Tosa West, 12-10, in the fourth to hang on.
"I was proud of how we fought to the final buzzer," Stelse said. "Our effort was definitely there for 32 minutes."
West needs to improve its shooting if it wants to give its defense a fighting chance.
"Our defense gave us a shot to win the game in the end," Stelse said. "But we're not going to win tight games against quality opponents with poor execution on the offensive end. We shot 32 percent from the field and 15 percent from 3-point range (3-for-20)."
Carroll finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and two steals while Steffan Brown had a team-high 19 points, three rebounds and two steals.
The Trojans defeated Shorewood, 74-56, on Dec. 17 at home to roll to their sixth straight victory.
West had a fast start, outracing the Greyhounds, 42-21, at halftime. A letdown in the third quarter (18-10) cut the Trojans' lead to 52-39, but they picked up the pace with a 22-17 third period.
"I was pleased with the energy our guys brought on the defensive end in the first half," Stelse said. "After the half, we took some plays off on the defensive end and that's why they outscored us in the third.
"But all in all, we have done a much better job of bringing that passion on the defensive end more consistently so far this season. But we must do it every possession moving forward."
The Trojans have continued sharing the ball, as five players scored in double figures. Carroll led the way with 17 points and Brown added 12. Blake Harvey had 11 and Reggie Cason and Zach Veit each scored 10 points and Devin Tucker had eight.
Stelse said "Carroll might have played his best game ever as a Trojan," recording 17 points, bringing down 17 rebounds, dishing out seven assists, six steals and two blocks.
"He was all over the court," Stelse said. "It was impressive to watch."
The Trojans are now off until Jan. 7 when they play at Greendale.
West Alumni Game
Saturday, 4 p.m.
The Wauwatosa West boys will meet a team of former players for bragging rights at 4 p.m. Saturday at Tosa West. There will be food and refreshments afterward in the Trojan Room. There is a $5 cost and the proceeds go to the Tosa West Boys Basketball Program.
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