It didn't take long for the Wauwatosa East girls basketball team to put its first loss of the season in the rearview mirror.
The Red Raiders bounced back from a loss to Brookfield East with road wins over Milwaukee Lutheran and Brookfield Central to improve to 5-1 overall.
"After struggling against Brookfield East, our squad came to practice each day ready to work," Wauwatosa East coach Rob Hamill said.
Tosa East limited Milwaukee Lutheran to just 13 first-half points and led by 21 at halftime in a 61-26 rout of the Red Knights on Dec. 6.
The Red Raiders (5-1 overall, 1-1 Greater Metro) held Milwaukee Lutheran to just 21.3 (10-for-47) percent shooting from the field and forced 35 turnovers.
"We knew we would come up against a team that was athletic and determined, and we were playing in their gym," Hamill said. "When we broke down defensively, I think those qualities of Milwaukee Lutheran showed through. Fortunately, we were able to remain pretty consistent on the defense end of the floor and minimized those defensive lapses. I think that is what carried us through."
Brooklyn Blackburn led Tosa East with 18 points. Mariana Ibanez-Baldor scored 16 points, Johanna Taylor had 7 points and Molly Persin added 6 points.
The Red Raiders carried over their strong defense to their game against Brookfield Central, as Tosa East earned its first Greater Metro win of the year with a 47-35 win over the Lancers.
Tosa East led 20-17 at halftime and pulled away in the second half.
"Again, I think it was our defensive effort that wore them down," Hamill said. "Granted they are down one of their better players, but they still have plenty of athletes who come from a winning girls basketball culture.
Blackburn finished with 18 points, and Taylor added 11 points and six rebounds. Ibanez-Baldor scored eight points and hit two 3-pointers, while Elizabeth Bueckers scored 6 points and Sydney Halstead played strong defense and chipped in with 4 points.
The Red Raiders were just 5-for-11 from the free-throw line but knocked down their foul shots down the stretch to put the game away.
Caroline Busch led Brookfield Central (2-3, 0-1 GMC) with 17 points, while freshman Anna Mortag had 11 points.
"Both Johanna Taylor and Brooklyn were effective on the glass and on the offensive end of the floor," Hamill said. "It is also not to minimize the contributions of Mariana Ibanez-Baldor and Liz Bueckers. While much of Liz's contributions don't turn up in the box score, there is no doubt her hustle and athleticism made a difference.
"Marina continues to grow as a point guard. She is getting used to the pace and quickness associated with varsity athletes. I think her steadiness — never too high, never too low through all the ups and downs of a game — is really helping us."
Tosa East was scheduled to play at Sussex Hamilton (4-2, 2-0) on Tuesday, Dec. 13, before returning home to face Divine Savior Holy Angels (1-4, 1-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15.