The New Berlin West girls basketball team went 2-0 at the Sentry Classic in Stevens Point on Dec. 27 and 28 and improved their overall record to 8-3, 4-2 in nonconference games.
The Vikings defeated Hortonville, 59-58, in a thriller on Dec. 27. The win over Hortonville (8-1) was the Polar Bears' first loss of the year. The next day, West whipped Stevens Point, 61-39, dropping the Panthers' record to 4-8.
West has won six of seven games, and they host crosstown rival New Berlin Eisenhower in their next game at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5, in the second game of a doubleheader. The boys play at 6 p.m. Both the Vikings and Lions are 4-1, tied for second with Pewaukee behind unbeaten Pius XI (5-0).
Last year the Vikings lost, 36-31, to Eisenhower and then defeated the Lions twice, 45-43, and, 57-49.
The game against Hortonville was a thriller, from the 27-27 first-half tie down to the wire in the 32-31 second half.
Senior guard Claire Radtke hit a 3-pointer to give West a 2-point lead, but Hortonville came down and hit a 3 to go up by one with 10 seconds left.
'I called a time out, and we tried to run a set that wasn't run,' West coach Jef Radtke. 'But if you make the basket, the coach looks good.'
Claire Radtke took the ball the length of the court and scored the game winner, finishing a stretch where she scored 8 points in the last 90 seconds.
'It was a quality win for us,' coach Radtke said.
The Vikings only got to the free throw line five times, hitting four of them. But they made up for it with 11 3-point shots, including four each by Claire Radtke and Alyssa (Chubby) Nelson.
Radtke led all scorers with 23 points and Nelson added 14, the only two West players in double figures.
'She's a good player who had a great weekend,' coach Radtke said of Claire. 'She's our leader. She has more confidence in her shooting. It's probably my fault she doesn't shoot more. She competes hard and wants to win.'
Junior guard Ewelina Schlomann and sophomore Maddie Fritz each scored 5 points; Liz Liska had 4 points; Morgan Henrichs and Skylar Berans scored 3 each; and Sarah Meleski had 2 points.
'Chubby continues to get better,' coach Radtke said. 'She's concentrating on the other aspects of her game, her defense and rebounding. She's a good player.
'Schlomann has also been a 'Steady Eddie' for us. She has been consistent in her scoring, and equally important, she has defended well, using her length.'
Jenna Jalling (17), Morgan Allen (14) and Madi Walter (12) led the Polar Bears in scoring.
Hortonville sank 18 of 25 free throws (. 720) and had eight 3-pointers, giving both teams a total of 19 3-pointers in the game.
'They played a zone; we're playing a more aggressive man-to-man,' said coach Radtke, explaining the different in free-throw opportunities. 'We had 11 3-pointers, so we were on the perimeter a lot.'
Big first half
The Vikings jumped out to a 36-21 first-half lead and rolled to a 61-39 victory in the second game of the Sentry Classic tournament.
The Vikings had a 13-2 spurt the last four minutes of the first half.
'We created some separation,' coach Radtke said. 'Maddie Fritz continues to pick spots. She and Chubby played well, and Claire had nine assists, getting the ball to the right people.'
Coach Radtke, who feels awkward talking about his daughter, praised her and another senior, Liz Liska.
'They were ready to play,' he said. 'Claire is a competitive, maturing, talented guard. She is getting better. Liz helps us stay competitive. She won't let our competitive effort take a night off.'
Nelson led the way with 14 points, followed by Meleski and Fritz with 11 points apiece.
Radtke had 7 points and Schlomann added 6, while Lily Atkison and Lauren Kunz had 3 points each.
Rounding out the scoring were Henrichs, Berans and Liska, each with basket.
West managed only six of 12 free throws and had seven 3-pointers.
'I was pleasantly surprised,' coach Radtke said of his team's results. 'I didn't want to go 0-2 and hoped for 1-1, so winning both games was great.'