The Wauwatosa East boys basketball seniors got some good news over the weekend - Saturday's 65-40 non-conference win over Waukesha South wouldn't be the final home game of their careers.
That's because the post-season seedings came out Sunday and the Red Raiders will host Milwaukee Pius XI (13-8) of the Woodland Conference in a 7 p.m. game Feb. 22 in a second-round playoff game, having received a first-round bye.
Tosa East is coming off a busy few days, dropping a 62-48 decision to second-place Brookfield Central on Friday, crushing Waukesha South in a non-conference game on Saturday and then beating archrival Marquette, 56-51, on Tuesday, suddenly giving them a two-game winning streak.
The three games left them with an 11-9 overall record and a 7-6 record in the Greater Metro Conference, good enough for third in conference play.
Tuesday against the Hilltoppers, the game was a barnburner right from the start. East trailed 22-20 at intermission and 36-34 going into the fourth quarter.
But then the Red Raiders took over the game and went on a 22-15 run to pull off the mild upset, avenging a 59-48 defeat Jan. 11 a Tosa East. The Red Raiders were 16-for-24 from the free throw line, while they kept the Hilltoppers off the line (8-for-11).
The ever-reliable Nate Moore came through again with 18 points, hitting 5-for-8 from the free throw line and sinking a 3-pointer, while Ben Mihelich added 16, going 4-for-7 from the line. Anthony Carroll also chipped in with 11 points, going 6-for-7 from the line with a 3-pointer. Alex McBride led MUHS with 12 and Tom Beres had 11.
The Red Raiders now close out the regular season with a 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 game at West Allis Central (4-9, 9-12).
Winning out of conference
As the Red Raiders were blowing out the Blackshirts early, there was never a doubt about the victory, only the final margin.
Tosa East led 24-12 after one quarter, as Ben Carpenter had nine points and Nate Moore seven and they rolled into the final quarter with a 56-28 lead.
Coach Tim Arndorfer was happy everyone got to play and was pleased with the team's reaction.
"Not just for us as coaches, but for the guys, too," he said. "The guys who get to play a lot of minutes, the fact that they were cheering on their teammates. It's always a great thing. It tells you a little bit about the togetherness. Lot of guys did a lot of nice things."
It might have been the final home game for the seniors and it was a thought on the minds of Moore and Arndorfer.
"It's a little bittersweet but it was good because we got the win and I love all the guys on this team," Moore said. "They're just good teammates and we have fun and we play hard."
Arndorfer had the same thought.
"For the last four years, most of these guys have been hanging around this gym from November until March," he said. "We have loftier goals. I had things to say in the locker room and this wasn't a goodbye.
"Hopefully, we have a lot of practices left. If we can keep winning, that would extend their time in the gym, too. If we get a strong mind-set going into the playoffs, then bring anybody on.
"With 11 seniors they might have a little bit of an agenda as we move into the playoffs, knowing it could be their last game."
Falling to Central
The Red Raiders hung with the Lancers, but couldn't get over the hump, trailing 34-25 at intermission and 51-40 after three.
In an unusual night, Tosa East didn't make it to the free throw line once. Carroll scored 16 points, with four 3-pointers, while Mihelich had 15 and Moore 12. Central's Riley LaChance led all scorers with 20.
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