It might not have been pretty, but it doesn't always have to be when fighting for a conference championship.
New Berlin Eisenhower's girls basketball team stayed alive in the chase for a share of its first Woodland West title since 2012-13 by pulling out a 40-38 victory over Woodland East leader Cudahy on Feb. 3 on a go-ahead basket by senior forward Jasmyn Somarsingh with 32 seconds remaining.
The Lions also came away with a 65-27 rout of Greenfield on Jan. 31 to enter this week at 13-5 overall and 11-2 in the Woodland West, trailing New Berlin West by two games with three league games remaining.
Eisenhower must beat Pius XI and Greendale and then needs West to fall to either Pewaukee or Wauwatosa West in order to make the regular-season finale against the Vikings be for a share of the conference title.
"To steal a quote from Aaron Rodgers, we have to run the table," Eisenhower coach Gary Schmidt said. "We have no choice right now. We can't afford another loss. We have to play the best we can. I think the kids are taking that approach, and we are as coaches. We still have to take it one game at a time.
"We knew Cudahy wouldn't be easy. They played everybody on our side of the conference tough this year. We knew we'd be in for a battle, so we weren't shocked or surprised. I thought what we did what we needed to do to get the win."
Neither Cudahy or Eisenhower could pull away, leaving the game tied at 38-38 in the final minute. Somarsingh scored with 32 seconds left, and the Lions played solid defense on the other end to get a crucial stop to seal the victory.
"I think the biggest lead all night was 5 points," Schmidt said. "It was a nip and tuck all the way. Down the stretch, we made some key plays. (After Jasmyn hit the shot), our defense took charge and stopped them from getting a clean shot off. We were lucky to get out of there with a win."
Sophomore guard Julia Hintz led Eisenhower with 19 points against the Packers. She hit 8 of 12 attempts from the field, including 3 of 7 tries from distance. Junior guard Katie Ludwig scored 8 points, and senior forward Jasmyn Somarsingh scored 6 points with five rebounds.
Eisenhower went 16-for-42 (38.1 percent) from the field but made just 5 of 19 3-point attempts.
Eisenhower didn't have much trouble in a 65-27 rout of Greenfield on Jan. 31. The Lions led, 35-17, at halftime and outscored the Hustlin' Hawks, 30-10, in the second half for an easy victory.
Hintz went 10-of-13 from the field and 6-of-9 from beyond the 3-point line to match her career high with 26 points. She also added five rebounds, four assists and six steals.
"We're getting really good guard play from Julia right now," Schmidt said. "She's living up to expectations. She's started off in the Greenfield game dishing and penetrating. If we get that kind of consistency from her, it makes everybody else on our team better, and hopefully we then will be a tough out for anybody.
"We're hoping that as the weeks go on here we're just getting better. Our shooting is better, and we are getting more confident. Julia is contagious. As she goes, we go."
Ludwig scored 11 points with four assists and four steals; Somarsingh had 9 points, five rebounds and three blocks; and junior forward Hannah Plockelman added 7 points and five rebounds.
The Lions shot 46.2 percent (24-for-52) and went 10-for-23 (43.5 percent) on 3-point attempts.
Eisenhower was scheduled to host Pius XI (12-6, 9-3 Woodland West) on Feb. 7. The Lions will play at Greendale (3-16, 1-12) at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, and then will return home to face Waukesha West (9-9, 6-5 Classic 8) in a nonconference game at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11.