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Is it time to start talking about a repeat title run for the New Berlin Eisenhower girls basketball team yet?

It could be after the Lions easily handled their staunchest test of the 2016-17 Woodland Conference season thus far with a 45-20 road trouncing of Milwaukee Pius on Tuesday night. The victory brought Ike’s record in the Woodland to 6-0 (7-1 overall) and had senior Jasmyn Somarsingh all smiles after the game.

“We really just came out like, ‘Let’s go, we really have to defend our title,” said Somarsingh, who led Eisenhower with 9 points while clogging up the lane on defense. “And we’re excited because we think we can do it.”

The Lions, ranked fourth in the state for Division 2 in the state coaches poll, held the Lady Popes to just one field goal in the second half. Considering Pius is no slouch, a perennial heavyweight ranked ninth this season, Ike coach Gary Schmidt believes this could prove to be a statement game for his 2016-17 Lions.

“We’re trying to find an identity, and I think we’re going to start hanging our hat on our defensive effort,” Schmidt said. “They’re a hard team to beat. If you had told me this is how it would have ended up in the beginning, I never would have thought of that.”

Both teams slogged through the first 4 minutes, 30 seconds of the game as officials let them play through a physical back-and-forth that didn’t see the first points put on the board until Somarsingh hit two free throws at 13:30. With the score tied at 10, Olivia Canady took over the end of the first half, scoring 5 of her 7 points to give the Lions an 18-13 lead heading into halftime. Canady got the Ike offense started in the second half, as well, scoring on a fast-break layup as the Eisenhower defense kicked things into gear.

Schmidt said Canady is making the most out of her newfound playing time this year after having to take a backseat during the 2015-16 championship season. She could prove to be a valuable asset down stretch for the Lions.

“Olivia is one of those kids who didn’t play a lot because of the team we had, but now that she’s getting her minutes, and she’s surprising some people with her athleticism,” Schmidt said. “She gets to the basket really easily, and she’s a good outside shooter, so you have to play her honestly.”

The Lions host third-ranked Pewaukee on Thursday night in a makeup game rescheduled due to this past weekend’s winter storms.

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