New faces will surround the Wauwatosa West girls basketball program this season.
Veteran coach Gordon Nikolic takes over for Ashley Imperiale, who resigned after four seasons to pursue an administrative position within the Wauwatosa School District. The Trojans will also welcome talented Dominican transfer Dasia Davis.
Nikolic was the head girls basketball coach at Cudahy from 1999-2010. He has the most wins in program history with 146. Nikolic led the Packers to nine straight winning seasons from 2001-2010 and won regional championships in 2008 and 2009.
He went 17-52 as the head girls basketball coach at Burlington from 2010-2013 and 11-14 in one season (2014-15) as the boys coach at Westosha Central.
Nikolic is trying to increase player commitment and grow the numbers in the program while also changing the style of play on the court.
"We're going to start with three teams, and hopefully we can finish the season with three teams," Nikolic said. "We're stressing commitment and being a basketball player during the offseason, too. On the court, we are going to stress getting up and down the court transitioning and pressure defense, attacking the rim. It is more of an aggressive style than I think they were used to.
"We've had a lot of good energy. We seem to be transitioning into the new coaching staff really well."
Tosa West graduated leading scorers Kate Murphy (8.0 points per game) and Emma Clough (6.1 points) from last year's team that finished 4-20 overall and finished in last place in the Woodland West at 3-13.
Davis will add scoring and rebounding to the Trojans, as she averaged 7.6 points and 7.0 rebounds during her junior season at Dominican.
Junior forward Emily Wagy (6.1 points), junior guard-forward Emma Elliott (6.0 points) and senior guard Libby Fassbender (4.5 points) have also stood out to Nikolic in the early going of practice.
"(Davis) can run from post to guard," Nikolic said. "She's a great rebounder. Hopefully, we can double her scoring average in our style of offense. Elliott and Wagy are returning guards that will give us experience and scoring. Libby Fassbender is a senior with experience."
Tosa West will open its season against Kettle Moraine on Friday, Nov. 18, before playing at Sussex Hamilton on Tuesday, Nov. 29. The Trojans open Woodland Conference play against Greenfield on Friday, Dec. 2.
"It is a process of getting better," Nikolic said. "Last year's schedule maker didn't do us any favors as we have two tough teams right away in Kettle Moraine and Sussex Hamilton. Those are two preseason top-10 teams. We're looking to improve as we move toward our conference season. The long-term goal is to double our wins from last year and maybe surprise a few people in the conference."