After beginning the season with consecutive losses to stiff competition, Wauwatosa West's girls basketball team earned its first win of the season with a 67-52 victory over Greenfield on Dec. 2.
The Trojans (1-2 overall, 1-0 Woodland) turned a 29-25 halftime lead into a double-digit win to open Woodland Conference play by scoring 38 points in the second half. Greenfield made a late run to pull to within 8 points, but Tosa West answered to put the game away.
"The trust is starting to get there," Tosa West coach Gordon Nikolic said. "Obviously, a win helps. It seems like the girls are having fun and want to get better. I can tell the last couple of games that they aren't used to winning. We have to build that culture of believing in finishing games and playing strong throughout the game. I finally saw the look in their eyes that they wanted this game, and they wanted to finish it.
"They withstood some punches at the end. I think I saw a different look in their eyes than I did in the first two games."
Tosa West had 29 steals as a team and assisted on 21 of its 23 made field goals.
Senior forward Dasia Davis led the Trojans with 22 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals. Sophomore guard Irene Phillips had 12 points, four assists and four steals, and sophomore forward Kayla Stoffel had 6 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Tosa West shot 44.7 percent from the field, connecting on 17 of 38 field-goal attempts.
"Our shooting has improved a great deal," Nikolic said. "We're starting to get a grasp of the offense we want to run. Defensively, we've become a lot more physical. We're attacking the basketball and communicating much better. I think that was a big step (against Greenfield). We really communicated well on defense. We just have to make sure the bottom half of our defense gets better."
Junior guards Kayleigh Reske and Emma Elliott each added six points. Junior guard/forward Emily Wagy had six rebounds and four steals, and sophomore forward Margaret Radske had five steals.
A slow start was too much for Tosa West to overcome against Sussex Hamilton on Nov. 29 as the Trojans fell, 64-50, to the Chargers.
Trailing by 17 points at halftime, Tosa West outscored Hamilton, 30-27, in the second half.
"They were a little quicker than we expected," Nikolic said. "We probably missed five or six breakaways in the first half with little or no pressure on us at all. That kind of set the tempo. We did not finish those shots, and they came out on fire. We should have been up 8-7 and were down 7-0. We are getting the shots in transition, but again, it is that attitude of believing and knowing you can make those shots under pressure.
"Our pressure eventually wears teams down. We've had situations like that against Kettle Moraine and Sussex. We have moments where we look pretty good, but it takes awhile to get there. It is getting there a little quicker. We put points on the board. We still feel there's more we can put on the board. We're still getting there. It is a process."
Elliott led the Trojans with 12 points. Davis added 8 points and seven rebounds; Stoffel had 6 points and seven rebounds; and senior guard Cheri'a Adams chipped in with 7 points.
Tosa West outrebounded Hamilton, 60-50, but shot just 28.9 percent (11 for 38) from the field and 5-for-17 from beyond the arc. The Trojans forced 29 turnovers but also turned the ball over 26 times themselves.
Tosa West was scheduled to host South Milwaukee on Tuesday, Dec. 6. The Trojans will stay home to face Shorewood at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9.