With his team on a five-game losing streak, Wauwatosa West girls basketball coach Gordon Nikolic and his staff noticed a difference in the Trojans from earlier in the season while watching film.
"We just didn't have that same energy," Nikolic said. "I thought the kids looked a little worn down."
Playing with a renewed sense of fire, Tosa West was able to get back into the win column with a pair of victories last week, snapping a five-game losing streak with an 80-38 rout of Brown Deer on Jan. 31 before grabbing an 85-77 victory over Whitnall on Feb. 3.
The two wins improved the Trojans to 7-12 overall and 4-9 in the Woodland West.
"We had a conversation with the kids about getting back to what we do best instead of worrying about other teams and stopping other players," Nikolic said. "We started shooting really well in the Brown Deer game, and it continued in the Whitnall game. The energy all of a sudden came back.
"They were kind of happy with the five wins we had at the time (the losing streak began). They needed a little shot and a little energy. We are spreading the ball around again and everyone is making shots."
Tosa West jumped out to a 40-17 halftime lead and cruised from there in a 42-point win over Brown Deer.
Sophomore guard Irene Phillips went 10 for 14 from the field and finished with 22 points, five assists and two steals. Senior guard Cheri'a Adams scored 14 points with five rebounds, senior forward Dasia Davis had 10 points and eight rebounds, sophomore forward Kayla Stoffel had 8 points and six rebounds, and junior guard Olivia Lefevre and sophomore forward Margaret Radske each had 6 points.
The Trojans shot 52.4 percent (33 for 63) and hit 11 of 23 shots from beyond the arc. Tosa West committed just seven turnovers and forced 30 and outrebounded Brown Deer, 48-32.
Tosa West carried over its hot shooting to its game with Whitnall, knocking down 12 triples to down the Falcons. The Trojans led at halftime, 33-27, and then put up 52 points in the second half.
Junior guard Emma Elliott hit five of those 3-pointers, and Phillips connected on three shots from distance.
"We shot really well in the first half," Nikolic said. "They wouldn't go away. In the second half, we just made everything. But we couldn't stop their two guards. They made a run to get it down to six and Marge (Radske) hit a big three to get it to nine and then it was pretty much a 10-point game the rest of the way."
Adams led the Trojans with 24 points on 6 of 10 shooting, hitting 11 of her 13 free-throw attempts. Phillips added 19 points, Elliott scored 16 points with seven rebounds, Davis had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and junior forward Emily Wagy chipped in with seven points and seven rebounds.
Tosa West finished 27 for 50 (54 percent) from the field and 12 of 21 (57.1 percent) on 3-point attempts.
The Trojans were slated to play at Greendale (3-16, 1-12 Woodland West) on Feb. 7. before wrapping up the regular season with a pair of games against state-ranked teams.
Tosa West will play at New Berlin West (18-1, 13-0) on Friday, Feb. 10 at 7:15 p.m. and will host Pewaukee (16-3, 10-3) at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14. The playoffs will begin either Tuesday, Feb. 21 or Friday, Feb. 24.
"We want to be one of those teams that nobody wants to play," Nikolic said. "If our shots go down, we might knock off a favorite. A lot of teams don't play at our tempo."