West girls take sole possession of first place
Wolverines down Arrowhead, 58-50, to move to 6-0
Going into last Friday's Classic 8 Conference girls basketball showdown with longtime rival Arrowhead, the stakes were high for both host Waukesha West and the Warhawks. The two conference powerhouses came into the first game of 2013 sporting perfect 5-0 league records. To the victors would go the spoils.
After a hard-fought 32 minutes which saw both teams go on big runs, it was the Wolverines who came out on top as they downed Arrowhead by a 58-50 score.
West took over sole possession of first place in the league standings with a 6-0 mark. Arrowhead and Mukwonago are deadlocked for second place with 5-1 slates. Muskego is fourth at 3-3.
West also delivered a winning performance on Saturday in defeating Watertown in a nonconference game. That victory moved the overall West record to 10-1, the best start in school history. Michelle Farrow had a career-high 33 points in the nonconference win, but the week was highlighted by the big win over Arrowhead.
"This was a huge night for us," said first-year West coach Mark Busalacchi. "Even though we got off to a great start, I told the girls at halftime that Arrowhead would make a run at us. They're too good of a team not to. And that's just what they did. But I was proud of the girls how they handled the pressure of the game, especially when Arrowhead took the lead. We played pretty well when the game was on the line. It was nice to see so many of our kids make such big contributions. We're more than just a two-player team."
Answering a run
The game couldn't have started out any better for the Wolverines. Thanks to baskets from Farrow, Katy Walz, Lizzy Connors and Dani Rhodes in the first 4:31 of the game, West grabbed a quick 13-2 lead. Amber Weise then scored 6 points in the second quarter, and the Wolverines led at halftime by a comfortable 28-19 score.
Things even got better for the home team in the first 3:38 of the second half when Connors and Rhodes combined to score eight points as the West lead grew to 36-22.
But just when the Wolverines appeared on their way to a blowout victory, Arrowhead came roaring back. The Warhawks went on a 16-0 run in a span of just 3:21 and took its first lead of the game when junior guard Megan Douglas converted a 3-point play, giving her team a 38-36 advantage with 52 seconds to go in the third quarter.
In that run by AHS, sophomore Jenna Goulet was unstoppable, scoring 10 points. Douglas added the other 6 points for the Warhawks as time and time again those two attacked the basket with strong moves to the hoop.
Suddenly faced with their first deficit of the night, the Wolverines bounced with a vengeance. They scored the final five points of the third quarter and regained the lead at 41-38 going into the final eight minutes. Connors canned a pair of free throws with 29 seconds to go, and then Farrow made perhaps the biggest basket of the night when she nailed a long 3-pointer with just two-tenths of a second showing on the clock.
"It felt awesome to make that basket at the end of the third quarter," Farrow said. "To beat them at home and be playing for first place in the conference is a great feeling. We knew it was going to be a tough game. It always is against Arrowhead. To be in first place by ourselves feels pretty good right now."
Weise and Connors scored hoops to start the fourth quarter to move the West lead to 45-38. Arrowhead didn't quit, getting as close as 49-48 with 3:31 to play. The Wolverines still led 52-50 when Kianna Keller scored her only basket of the night with 1:32 to play, and that was followed by two free throws by Connors and a rebound basket by Walz at the buzzer to close out the scoring. Arrowhead did not score in the final 2:02 of the game, missing their final five shots from the floor.
"We knew if we played well we had a good chance to win tonight," Connors said. "Arrowhead is a good team. But we think we have a good team, too. Our goal tonight was to just go out and play the best we could. It's a nice feeling to beat them."
Connors fired in 16 points for the winners, getting 10 in the second half. Farrow added 15 points to that total and Rhodes added 9 and Weise and Walz had 8 points each for the winners.
In the junior varsity game, West lost in overtime to AHS by a 53-48 score. West was led by Maddie Cruz with 14 points and Lauren Paquin and Ashley Solberg with 10 tallies each.
The Wolverines downed Watertown on Saturday, 64-24. The Wolverines dominated the game from the start, lading 21-7 after the first quarter and 43-13 at halftime.
Connors added 17 to Farrow's 33-point total, and Keller chipped in with 10 points. Farrow had a career-best seven 3-pointers in the game.
Waukesha West 58, Arrowhead 50
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