Brookfield East's girls basketball team let out some of its frustrations against West Allis Central.
After a 49-44 loss to West Allis Hale on Jan. 24, the Spartans snapped their six-game losing streak with a 72-48 rout of the Bulldogs on Jan. 27.
"We've been a little shaky with our confidence recently, and because of the way we've been playing, every team seems to be scouting for us in the same way," Brookfield East coach Michael Goodman said. "Until we were able to counter that, I wasn't surprised that every team did the same thing against us game in, game out.
"I think any positive result at any time during the season is a big help. We still are young and learning, and every team was going zone against us for about three weeks. Until we were able to figure that out there was no reason for them to do otherwise."
A tough first half did the Spartans in against Hale, as they scored just 8 points over the first 18 minutes to trail, 27-8, at halftime. Brookfield East made it a game by outscoring Hale, 36-22, in the second half.
Junior forward Molly DeValkenaere led Brookfield East with 11 points and five rebounds. Junior guard Emma Ralfs had 10 points with five rebounds, three assists and eight steals; junior guard Nikki Pink finished with 8 points and five rebounds; and junior forward Adriana Plavsic added 7 points and five rebounds.
The Spartans shot just 28.3 (17-for-60) from the field and were 6-of-24 from beyond the arc.
Prior to the West Allis Hale game, Brookfield East had not scored over 40 points in five straight games. The Spartans racked up 36 points in the first half against West Allis Central, taking a 36-19 advantage into the break.
DeValkenaere finished with 22 points and eight rebounds. Ralfs scored 12 points with nine rebounds and eight assists; Plavsic had 11 rebounds, five rebounds and four assists; and Pink added 8 points and six rebounds.
"Molly's shot selection was very good," Goodman said. "She was able to find some soft spots in the zone, and once she knocked down a couple inside the lane, it allowed her to step outside and have some confidence away from the basket. Once she sees the ball go through the hoop, she becomes a different player."
In addition to shooting 50.0 percent (29-for-58), the Spartans hit eight 3-pointers.
Brookfield East improved to 9-9 overall and 4-6 in the Greater Metro Conference with the win. The Spartans were slated to play at Menomonee Falls on Jan. 31 and will host first-place Sussex Hamilton at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3.
"The girls just kept coming back to work every day, and working on their games," Goodman said. "It shows a lot of character and resilience to have adversity staring at them in the face, and they can stand up to it. We are just taking everything day by day."