At points throughout the season, the Wauwatosa West boys basketball team has shown just how dangerous it can be when the ball is moving and being shared on the offensive end.
And after watching his team play unselfishly in a win over New Berlin West on Jan. 6, Tosa West coach Chad Stelse had a good idea which version of the Trojans would come out in their rivalry game with Wauwatosa East.
Tosa West shot 68 percent and hit five 3-pointers in the first half to build an 18-point advantage in a 74-59 victory over the Red Raiders in front of a sellout crowd at West High School on Jan. 7.
The Trojans moved to 7-3 with the win, while Tosa East fell to 4-5.
"I was feeling really good after our performance (against New Berlin West)," Stelse said. "That’s the best we’ve played all season. We shared the basketball. I kept reminding them tonight that if we continued to do that we’d have a chance to be successful.
"The ball is not always going to drop, but with ball movement, you are getting more open shots. That’s what we got, and we knocked them down."
Consecutive 3-pointers by LaRon Perine and Marquiss Childs gave Tosa West a 15-6 lead with 13:26 remaining in the first half. The Trojans extended their lead to 32-14 after a 3-pointer by Alou Dillon and a dunk by Tyrone Powell off a lob pass from Noah Katula.
A putback basket by Carl Brown pulled Tosa East to within 43-25 at halftime, but the damage had been done.
Tosa West made 17 of 25 field-goal attempts in the opening 18 minutes, connecting on 5 of 7 shots from beyond the arc, and one of those two misses was a full-court heave at the buzzer.
"We came out great against New Berlin West, so our goal (against Tosa West) was to move the ball around more and get guys open," Dillon said. "When we move the ball around it is hard to guard us because we have so many guys that can shoot it."
The Red Raiders couldn't keep pace on the offensive end, shooting 30.3 percent (10 for 33) and making just 1 of 8 attempts from beyond the arc.
Tosa East cut a 22-point deficit down to 56-44 on a 3-pointer by Kratzer with 11:19 remaining but then scored just two points over the next 5 minutes, 21 seconds, allowing Tosa West to go on an 11-2 run to lead 67-46 with 5:58 to play.
"We dug a hole," Tosa East coach Tim Arndorfer said. "There’s no doubt about that. That’s credit to them. They were bigger, faster, and quite honestly, downright better. You have to give them credit. We had it to 12 with about 12 minutes left, and then it was another 6-0 run. We have too many times where we get stops and don’t have any scores to show for it.
"We knew we weren’t going to get it all back at once and wanted to chip away at it. I don’t want to say we ran out of gas, but they turned on the gas. That’s a credit to them. Every time we made a push they had an answer."
Dillon was all over the court for Tosa West, finishing with 23 points and 11 points.
The senior not only led the Trojans on the offensive end but made life difficult for any Red Raider player attempting to get to the basket, as he blocked eight shots and had numerous deflections.
"Alou Dillon is a pretty special player," Arndorfer said. "As good as he is on the offensive end, he just disrupted us on the defensive end. I’m glad he’s going to graduate and move on, to be honest, because he’s been a terror the last two years against us."
With Dillon and Javaree Jackson inside, the Trojans outrebounded Tosa East, 50-29, finishing with 19 offensive boards. Jackson scored 14 points with 11 rebounds, Seveon James added 14 points and Marquiss Childs had 9 points and nine rebounds.
"I take pride in my defense," Dillon said. "I think I did a great job of protecting the rim for my team. I used my length well. It made East’s attack harder to get in the lane because of my presence."
Kratzer and Jalen Holley each scored 12 points to lead Tosa East. Dane Mikkelson added 7 points, and Ke'Andre Griffin had 5 points.
Tosa West hopes to carry momentum over into a crucial conference showdown with state-ranked Pewaukee on Friday, Jan. 13.
At 6-0 in league play, the Pirates, ranked No. 8 in the Division 2 coaches poll, lead the Woodland West by 1½ games over the 4-1 Trojans.
"We have to have a great week of practice with Pewaukee coming in," Stelse said. "We have to take advantage of our home court. I know (Pewaukee) coach Basile said they had to take care of their home court against Pius, and they did just that.
"He also mentioned how tough our conference is and how tough it is to win on the road. We need to continue to play together and anything can happen."