West Allis Hale girls earn sweep of rival Central
Defensive pressure helps boost Huskies
For the first time in a decade, the West Allis Hale girls basketball team can claim the complete season advantage over rival West Allis Central.
The Huskies downed the Bulldogs, 47-32, at home Jan. 29 to finish off a season sweep. Hale, which topped Central in December by a remarkably similar 45-32 count, had not beaten its rival twice in any season since 2002-03.
Interestingly, the Hale boys also beat Central that night (see separate story) to complete the Huskies' first boy-girl doubleheader sweep of the Bulldogs since 2003-04.
The Hale girls improved to 3-6 in the Greater Metro Conference and 4-11 overall. The last time the Huskies won as many as three conference contests was the 2008-09 campaign.
"We haven't really shown it in the win-loss column," Hale head coach George Sotiros said, "but we are improving daily and now simply need to start making shots. We continue to get good looks at the hoop, the ball in the right hands and good position, but simply do not finish at all."
One of the keys to the Hale victory was defensive pressure, which forced 39 turnovers on the night, helping the Huskies get off 71 shots.
"Turnovers continue to hurt us," Central head coach Dena Smith said. "We need to be stronger with the ball. … Hopefully, we can get past the mistakes. We work on that every day. Eventually, it will pay off."
As happened in the season's first game between the two teams, the Huskies gradually pulled away for the victory. They built leads of 27-18 at the half and 42-27 after three quarters.
Sarah Mueller led the Huskies with eight points and pulled down five rebounds, while Jenny Jender totaled seven points, five rebounds and three assists; Rachel Seefeldt six points, five assists and six steals; Courtney Westhause five points, four steals and four rebounds and Katie Swofford five steals.
"We know we still have a long road ahead to turn the program around long-term," Sotiros said, "but signs of life are here. The kids continue to work hard and improve and the younger levels are doing well."
For Central (0-9 in the GMC, 1-13 overall), Rachel Sura tallied eight points and Ashley Alvarado and Mary Martens each earned six points.
"I think Ashley had one of her best games of the season," Smith said. "She played with such intensity on both sides of the ball. Mary also had a good defensive game for us. She is really doing a nice job, being a freshman on a varsity team."
Smith added that it helped to have Gabby Coto-Valentin back from injury and providing court leadership.
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