It was a tough week for the Wauwatosa East girls basketball team, who lost to third-place Brookfield Central, 71-51, on Jan. 26 and saw their seven-game winning streak snapped. Then they traveled to second-place Sussex Hamilton on Jan. 29 and dropped a 61-39 decision.
The Red Raiders (11-6, 4-6) will host Menomonee Falls (5-12, 1-9) at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5.
In the loss to the Lancers on Tuesday, East hung in with Central, 22-16, at intermission. But the second half was all Central, as the Lancers outscored the Red Raiders, 49-35.
Brookfield's 49 second-half points almost outscored Tosa East (51) for the entire game as the Red Raiders couldn't come up with an answer.
Freshman Brooklyn Blackburn scored 11 points, the only East player in double figures. Senior Maya Walls had 9 points, and no one else had more than 4 points. Leading scorer senior Bailey Berlin and senior Tori Logan had 4 points each; sophomore Elizabeth Bueckers had 3 points; and junior Johanna Taylor and senior Chyna Sincere had 2 points each.
They sank 14 of 21 free throws but only managed one 3-pointer (Walls). Central was 13 of 16 from the free-throw line. Junior Caroline Busch and Rachel Kolb each had 13 to lead the Lancers.
The talented Chargers (14-3, 8-2) took a 20-point first-half lead (36-16) and then exchanged baskets (25-23) in the second half to come away with the 61-39 victory.
Taylor Klug had 18 points, and Megan Schmitt scored 14 to lead Sussex Hamilton.
Berlin scored 12 points to lead East, but everyone else scored between 6 and 2 points: Taylor (6), Logan (5), Bueckers (4), Blackburn (4) Sammy Jensen (4), Sincere (2) and Walls (2).
Logan had the only 3-pointer, and East sank eight of 14 free throws (.571). Hamilton had six 3-pointers and had a better day at the free-throw line (11-for-16).
'Really since the Brook East game (52-51 win on Jan. 22), we've hit a very tough stretch as a team mentally, and it has been showing up on the court, especially in our losses to BC and SH,' Tosa East coach Rob Hamill said. 'Our current struggle is not so much about technique or scheme as it is about our mental approach.'
So the coaching staff has to go back to the drawing board as the end of the season approaches and the playoffs loom ahead.
'It is up to us to find a way to do something about it,' he said. 'That's our focus now and will continue to be until we find our way back to the squad I know we are. I am confident we will snap out of it and return to playing up to our potential.'