East struggles against speedy Purgolders
Red Raiders girls see season come to an end after slow start
When Wauwatosa East and Milwaukee Washington first met back in late December, Purgolders senior Lamaris Marrero stole the show and East took notice in case they saw Washington again.
East saw Marrero again Tuesday night and she did just the same as the seventh-seeded Purgolders sprinted ahead early and never trailed, ending the Red Raiders season, 66-36, in a WIAA Division 2 opening round matchup at Washington.
Washington now travels to top-seeded Wisconsin Lutheran on Friday in a regional final.
Game plan failed
"When we played them earlier this season Marrero and (Sherri) Calhoun really hurt us," said East coach Rob Hamill. "We put in a game plan where we thought we could keep them in front of us but it didn't go as planned. We just hurt ourselves more than anything tonight."
East (5-18) had three times as many turnovers (15) than made field goals in the first half. Still, a late basket by junior forward Katie Salmon gave the Red Raiders some momentum heading into halftime only trailing by 11, at 27-16.
"We were a little intimidated by their speed and aggressiveness on the defensive end," said Hamill. "I thought we did a better job of settling down there in the second quarter and thought halftime was going to really allow us to settle down for good and have a good second half."
As dominant as Marrero was in the first half (10 points) she allowed Calhoun to help break open the game early in the third quarter. The junior forward poured in eight of her 10 points in the third spearheading an efficient Purgolders offense that scored on six of its first nine possessions.
"We just couldn't keep them in front of us there in the second half like I thought we were going to be able to," said Hamill. "We gave it everything we had but it just was not enough for us tonight. Credit to them, they made us work."
Salmon scores 18
Salmon finished with a team-high 18 points but had to earn every shot she got. The Purgolders (10-11) swarmed to her every time she touched the ball but still finished 7-of-14. The talented forward however, only got five shot attempts in the second half.
"We knew she was very talented and she was very good down low when we first played her," said Washington coach Marlon Boyd. "We wanted to really clamp down on her and make some of the other girls beat us."
Senior Alayah Walls finished with five points, all in the second half, as no one else on East scored more than four points. Fellow senior Ellen Pickering added a basket in the second quarter as the Purgolders limited her looks from outside.
Walls will be missed
"Alayah has been with us on the varsity level since she was a sophomore," said Hamill. "She has won nine letters in her athletic career and she has been very good and will be sorely missed. The same goes for the rest of our seniors. They really came ready to play every day in practice and it helped us get better."
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