The Wauwatosa East girls basketball team defeated Wauwatosa West, 46-25, on Feb. 26 at East to advance to the WIAA regional finals against Shorewood, where they defeated the Greyhounds, 44-36.

The win over Tosa West gave the Red Raiders a 2-0 edge this season, as they won a 45-43 thriller back on Jan. 23 at East in the regularly-schedule annual game.

West starts fast

The Trojans got off to a fast start on Friday, as senior Emma Clough opened with 6 straight points; junior Cheri'A Adams hit a free throw and scored on a drive; and junior Libbi Fassbender scored on a drive for an 11-10 lead. But it was West's final lead of the night.

East freshman Brooklyn Blackburn scored a bucket, and then senior Maya Walls scored on a drive off a pass from senior Bailey Berlin for a 14-11 advantage. West senior Amanda O'Rourke hit a jumper to cut it to 1 point, 14-13, but then East closed out the half on a 7-0 run.

Senior Sammy Jensen hit two free throws. Berlin then missed four free throws but made up for it with a long 3-pointer and a drive to the basket with 0.6 seconds left in the half and a 21-13 lead.

'That gave us a little confidence going into halftime because it was a little frustrating in the first half,' East coach Rob Hamill said. 'We turned the ball over way too many times. We gave them too many second opportunities. I felt we were fortunate to come in with the lead at halftime.'

West coach Ashley Imperiale agreed.

'Those are the little runs you talk about all game that don't seem like a big deal, but over the course of the game, it adds up,' she said. 'Same thing at the beginning of the second half; we didn't score a basket for over 10 minutes.'

Clough hit a jumper at 13:26, and then the next basket came from senior Emily Katula at 2:48, West's last score of the game.

East continues run

The Red Raiders opened the second half with an 8-3 run, 15-3 overall going back to the first half.

Senior Tori Logan scored on a fast break off a beautiful pass from Berlin, and then Fassbender nailed a long 3 for West to make it 23-16. But Walls scored on a long, ceiling-scraper 3-pointer, Berlin scored on a drive and Logan hit one of two free throws for a 29-16 lead.

Clough hit another jumper, but Blackburn scored off a pass from Logan and junior Johanna Taylor scored off another assist by Berlin for a 33-18 lead. That was basically the ball game.

Berlin made some key baskets, but more importantly, got the ball to her teammates.

'She made some good decisions,' Hamill said. 'It's that tough judgment. Bailey has really good instincts. She did well. She did help us. She even set a couple screens early, too.'

Clough led West with 9 points, while Berlin had 12 for East.

West went 6-for-14, and East was 15-for-23 from the free-throw lines.

Shots weren't dropping

West had good shots but couldn't get the ball to go in.

'That's been the story of our season,' Imperiale said. 'We don't take bad shots, but we don't finish them. We leave a lot of points on the rim and in the paint. We had some really good inside-out play, but then we didn't do anything with it.'

West had eight seniors play their final game: Clough, Katula, Amanda O'Rourke, Gabby Zabala, Megan Stoffel, Anna Rogahn, Lindsey and Olivia Starrett.

'Our seniors gave great effort,' Imperiale said. 'I thought they played really hard. They executed the defensive plan really well in the first half; we had minimal breakdowns.

'In the second half, we weren't as sharp and crisp on the defensive end, and offensively we weren't finishing. It kind of all unraveled slowly.'

The city rivalry always plays in, though.

'When we play Tosa West, it's no matter who has how many wins; it's emotional,' Hamill said. 'We were a little tight at the beginning, but we persevered. We have also improved playing with a lead. We were a little panicky, but now we're more confident.'