NOW All-Suburban girls have local flavor
Harmon, Salmon, Gavinski earn honorable mention
Although the NOW Newspapers All-Suburban Girls 12-player first team didn't have any Wauwatosa players on the team, three area basketball figures did earn honorable mention honors.
Sophomore Katie Salmon of Wauwatosa East and junior Latasha Harmon of Wauwatosa West earned honorable mention. On the coaching side, Tosa West first-year coach Ron Gavinski made honorable mention on the coaches list.
I enjoyed watching all three of them in action this year and just wanted to share a few thoughts.
I liked Latasha from the first day I laid eyes on her. At 5 feet, 8 inches tall, she doesn't look like she could do that much damage underneath. But this lady is strong and she is light on her feet, a good combination when she has to take on those 6-foot post players.
When she gets the basketball in her hands around the basket, though, that's when she's fun to watch. Because when she puts up a shot, it usually results in two points or a trip to the free throw line.
This season Harmon averaged 10.4 points per game and she was among the top shooters and rebounders in the Woodland Conference Black Division, said Gavinski.
In the 22 games she played, she scored in double figures 13 times. She scored 14 and 11 points three times each; scored 15 points and 12 points twice apiece and scored 19 (against Whitnall), 13 and 10 once.
She led the team in scoring 10 times and was second in scoring seven times, meaning she was one of the top two scorers in 17 of the 22 games she played.
She could not only shoot and rebound, but she also was a good passer, always having an idea of where everyone was on the floor.
But what I liked best about Latasha was that she had a nose for the basketball and she could do anything she could to get to the ball and once she got it, she wasn't giving it up.
This 5-10 sophomore forward was fun to watch, and after she recovered from a nagging leg injury, she gave a brief glimpse of what to look for next season. She averaged 12 points a game in conference and 11.5 points overall as she was limited to 18 games, 11 in conference play, because of her injuries.
But she led the team in scoring 11 times, which included games of 22 against West Allis Central in the season finale upset victory and an amazing 27 points in a loss to Milwaukee Lutheran in the first-round of the regional.
She scored in double figures 11 times, scoring 27, 22, 21, 16 twice, 14, 13, 12 twice and 10.
Whereas Harmon is a solidly-built post player, Salmon is lanky, but graceful, smooth and can score in numerous ways.
She can drive by you, she can stop and pop and she can nail the long jumper if need be. And she used her height well around the boards.
She played one of the best games I have seen in the upset loss to Milwaukee Lutheran to end the season.
I kidded coach Rob Hamell after the game and said if I was coaching this team in the future, I would make sure Salmon got at least 20 shots a game.
She's that good.
Gavinski saw his team finish third with a 9-8 record in the Woodland Conference Black Division behind New Berlin Eisenhower (17-0) and South Milwaukee (12-5). That is five more victories than the year before and two spots higher in the standings. It was only the second winning conference season in the last seven years.
The Trojans finished 13-12 overall, five more wins than the year before and the second winning season over the last seven years.
The numbers are all right but the biggest change on this team was the chemistry. Gavinski and his assistant, former Greendale and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee star Ashley Imperiale, balanced each other out and pushed the right buttons.
After some tough times off the court last year, Gavinski said "these kids love each other," and it showed on the court the way they played together - playing aggressively on defense, stealing the ball and then making two to three passes to get an easy basket in the transition game.
They won two regional championships in a row.
Gavinski is comfortable in his own skin, as he let Imperiale, a solid coaching prospect, coach on the sidelines during games as he coached from the bench. That is something I have never seen before.
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