Through six games, the Brookfield East girls basketball team has proven to be a balanced attack with multiple players capable of leading the way on any given night.
This past week, it was Molly DeValkenaere's time to shine.
The junior forward combined for 37 points and 15 rebounds to help the Spartans to wins over Burlington and West Allis Hale, moving Brookfield East to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the Greater Metro.
"I think we will have pretty balanced scoring all year because different girls are able to go off at different times, but Molly has raised her game to another level the past few games," Brookfield East coach Michael Goodman said. "She has found a new hunger that she is striving for, and hopefully her success from the last two games can be a consistent plus to this team."
Brookfield East pulled away in the second half for a 69-47 win over Burlington on Dec. 5.
The Spartans shot 44.2 percent (23 for 52) from the field, hit 10 of their 21 3-point attempts and went 13-for-16 from the free-throw line.
"We hit our stride in the second half," Goodman said. "We stayed true to our full-court press and eventually wore them down. We took advantage of our size advantage in the paint, and then that opened up our outside game. We shot the ball really well from the 3-point line."
DeValkenaere and Emma Ralfs each scored 17 points to lead Brookfield East, while Lizzy Cagle had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. DeValkenaere also had five rebounds, and Ralfs had three assists and two steals.
The Spartans held Burlington leading scorer Jessa Burling, who averages 16.6 points per game, to just 6 points.
"We had the game plan to shut down Burling," Goodman said. "She is averaging close to 20 points per game, and while she was a little less than 100 percent with an ankle injury, we did a good job of shutting her down."
West Allis Hale
The Spartans held West Allis Hale to just 15 points in the first half on Dec. 9 en route to a 52-37 victory over the Huskies.
DeValkenaere scored 20 points with 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Cagle added 11 points and nine rebounds; Ralfs had 9 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals; and Adriana Plavsic had 8 points, five rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks.
Brookfield East made just one of 16 3-point attempts and were 5-for-11 from the line but outrebounded West Allis Hale, 48-28, and forced 20 turnovers.
"We didn't have the smoothest offensive game, but our defense keep us afloat," Goodman said. "Same as Burlington, we had a size advantage on the inside, so we steered them toward the lane and wanted to make their shots tough with our rim protectors. We rebounded well in this game, and that was needed because neither team was able to shoot the ball real well."
The Spartans were scheduled to play at West Allis Central (1-5 overall, 0-2 Greater Metro) on Tuesday, Dec. 13. Brookfield East will host Menomonee Falls (1-4, 0-1 GMC) at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15.