It had been 13 years since the New Berlin Eisenhower girls basketball team last experienced a four-game losing streak.
The Lions are hoping their midseason skid against state-ranked teams will become a thing of a past after getting back on track last week. Eisenhower pulled away for a 73-57 victory over Wauwatosa West on Jan. 24 and followed up with a 65-48 win over Shorewood on Jan. 27.
With the victories, Eisenhower moved to 11-5 overall and stayed alive in the Woodland West race at 9-2 in league play, two games behind New Berlin West with five conference games remaining.
"That's the chance you take when you schedule four really, really tough teams together like we had," Eisenhower coach Gary Schmidt said. "Those are kind of games you just have to learn from. Rufus King was a winnable game. We had some things happen in those other games that we have to correct. I think we started that correcting process.
"That was our focus with our two games last week. We have to fix those problems, and that's why we want to play those tough teams. We really wanted to take care of business this week and correct those things.I think we are on track again. Hopefully, those things will prove to be beneficiary to us later. You don't like to have losses, but you have to learn from them, that's for sure.
The Lions led, 33-28, at halftime against the Trojans (5-12 overall, 2-9 Woodland West) before taking control in the second half. Tosa West was able to hang around in the first half by hitting eight 3-pointers but eventually cooled off.
"When things are going bad, it seems like everyone can shoot well against you," Schmidt said. "They were just hot. We thought we contested well, but anything they threw up went well. We finally turned the corner in the second half and figured things out by putting a little more pressure on them."
Sophomore guard Julia Hintz finished with 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, eight assists and six steals. Senior forward Jasmyn Somarsingh added 18 points; junior forward Hannah Plockelman had 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists; and junior guard Olivia Canady scored 8 points.
Eisenhower took control in the first half against Shorewood, which is tied for first place in the Woodland East. The Lions took a 35-18 advantage into the break and won by the same margin.
Hintz had 12 points and 10 assists, while freshman center Erin Hedman also scored 12 points. Junior guard Katie Ludwig added 8 points and nine rebounds, and Somarsingh finished with 8 points.
The Lions hit 10 of 21 attempts from beyond the arc with Hintz connecting on four triples.
"Shorewood is a very good team," Schmidt said. "That's why they are leading the other side (of the Woodland). I thought our pressure defense really took command early, and we were dictating the flow. That's the kind of game we have to play. We got the lead and were up by 12. They made a mini-run. In the past, those mini-runs turned into major runs, and it didn't happen (against Shorewood).
"I think that's the progress we are making. Those are the kind of things we have to do to be a great team. We have to stop runs from becoming major runs. Little by little, we are putting the pieces to the puzzle back together again. I think we'll get there."
Eisenhower was slated to play at Greenfield (7-9 overall, 5-6 Woodland East) on Jan. 31. The Lions will return home to take on Cudahy (10-6, 6-5 Woodland East) at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3.