The Wauwatosa West girls basketball team released its team award winners at its banquet following a 9-16 season that saw the Trojans finish last (5-12) in the rugged Woodland Conference West Division.
Senior Ashley Lindstrom was named MVP following a season that saw her earn honorable mention all-conference honors.
Senior Emily Schaefer earned the Most Improved Player Award and was also a Scholar Athlete.
Junior Abbey Jones was a second-team all-conference selection, and senior Elise Ditscheit was an honorable mention all-conference selection.
Coach Ashley Imperiale looked back at her second season at the helm.
"Each season is different. A player's role may change from year to year, injuries happen, upsets happen," she reflected. "I think each year has a few turning moments where a team is really formed and at these moments, the team always has a choice to grow, fall down or press on. In my mind, these were the moments that formed our team."
Imperiale broke down her season into three parts, starting with boot camp.
"It's the beginning of the season where we introduce our theme for the season," she said. "Where we put our girls through all sorts of challenges and push the girls to their limits to see how they respond and make them come together to accomplish tasks they otherwise wouldn't think they could conquer."
Then there was the second time around for the Trojans through the Pius XI, Pewaukee and New Berlin West grind.
"There can be some brutal stretches in our conference when you play some of the powerhouse programs and the true test is the second time you face these teams," Imperiale said. "It shows you not only what your girls are made of, but how far you've come as a team that season. How much have you grown in comparison to the first time you played them.
"In all three of these games we grew tremendously the second time through. The Pewaukee game in particular was outstanding as our girls executed our game plan to every detail and were fighting for that game down to the final minutes."
And then there was the postseason, winning a 34-33 decision over Shorewood and then just losing to Whitefish Bay, 31-27, in the regional final.
"Playoff basketball and beating a conference rival that got a higher seed says it all," Imperiale said. "The atmosphere of this game was as good as it gets thanks to our fans. Our girls again executed against the zone tremendously well and they left it all on the court. Fun game to be a part of."
Imperiale always hates to see the season end. Ditscheit, Schaefer, Amani Pettiford, Claire Langdon and Lindstrom are all seniors.
"You just want to see the kids you work with experience success and happiness and you have to find the right balance of feeling what their feeling while being that calm, strong steady force that keeps them pushing forward."
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