If you look closely, you will see the Wauwatosa West boys basketball team walking a lot taller this week. That's because a 500-pound gorilla was knocked off their back Friday.
When the Trojans blew out St. Francis, 66-33, on the road, they snapped a three-game losing streak for the year, a 16-game Woodland Conference and a 19-game overall losing streak.
"It felt good to see our guys put together four solid quarters," Tosa West coach Chad Stelse said. "We have not done that in a long time. Our guys need to focus on all the little things that make teams successful and we need be more consistent - whether that is on game day or in practice.
"Tonight was a step in the right direction," he continued. "Hopefully we can build on this moving forward."
Allowing only 33 points, defense played a big role for the Trojans, who did a great job holding down Keenan Bell, the Mariners' top scorer.
Bell, who was averaging 21 points per game, had just nine points going into the final period and finished with only 14.
"Austin Jones, Leon Moore and Reggie Cason did an excellent job of containing Bell," Stelse said. "They frustrated him all game and really set the tone defensively for the rest of team."
Tosa West only led 16-12 after one period, but then outscored the Mariners, 12-3, for a 28-15 halftime lead. They then blew them out in the third period (20-7) to roll into the fourth quarter with a 48-22 advantage.
Ricky Landers had his best game of the year offensively: The big guy scored 16 points and pulled down 13 rebounds.
A loss at home to the Rockets
South Milwaukee took advantage of the free-throw line in the Rockets' 74-64 victory over the Trojans on Dec. 4 at West.
The Rockets converted 19-of-26 free throws compared to Tosa West's paltry 6-of-12.
South Milwaukee used a big second quarter (20-12) to take a 36-26 halftime lead, after a competitive 16-14 first quarter. The team played to a 38-38 tie in the second half, as all the Rockets needed to do was exchange baskets to get the win.
The Rockets' offense was impressive as they put four players in double figures - Tanner Zaeske (26), Evan Marlowe (19), Brandon Kocherer (13) and Goodnews Osunkwo (10).
The Trojans almost matched that: Andre Carroll had 16 points, Steffan Brown 13 and Blake Harvey added 11.
"We told our guys going into the South Milwaukee game that we needed to contain their two leading scorers," Stelse said. "Tanner buried us from deep and Marlowe got to the hoop at will. We need guys to step up defensively and take pride in shutting someone down.
"Offensively, once again we shot poorly from the field. Our execution was poor, particularly in the second quarter. We dug ourselves a hole that we couldn't overcome in the second half."
The Trojans were 1-3 going into this week and now face Greendale on Friday and Cudahy on Tuesday at home.
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