If there is a better time of the year for prep sports, someone needs to point it out to me.
After the girls got done kicking off the WIAA postseason tournament with regional championships last week, the boys are off and running this week. That means I get to see basketball games on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and two on Saturday, hopefully.
Let's take a look at the girls match-ups this week, as the local ladies are the underdogs in both of them.
7 p.m. Thursday, March 3, at MUHS
Brookfield Central vs. DSHA
Both Brookfield Central (19-5) and Greater Metro Conference Champion Divine Savior Holy Angels (19-5) will be shooting for their 20th win of the season, as they were the top two teams in regular-season conference play. DSHA finished 13-1, with their only loss coming to Brookfield East with Taylor Drost(20.8 points a game) sidelined with an injury.
The second-place Lancers finished 11-3, but they lost two close games to the Dashers. The first loss came at home, 67-63, as Central missed three layups in the last 2 minutes, which cost them the game. The second game was a 49-48 defeat, when free throws in the final 4 seconds gave DSHA the win.
Central has a seven-game winning streak coming into game, while DSHA has won three in a row and eight of nine games — the only loss in that stretch a 53-42 defeat at Brookfield East.
A tip of the hat goes to Central coach Mallory Lieblfor her 35-14 record (.714) since taking over the reins, as she gets everything she can out of her team.
The 'Big Three' of juniors Caroline Busch(14.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 3.0 apg), Claire Haynes(11.4, ppg, 5.0 rpg) and senior Rachel Kolb(9.5 ppg, 6 rpg) led the way, but Liebl has been getting key contributions from freshman Maddy Brauer; juniors Amanda Millerand Ellery Nordling;and senior Megan Olson.
The Lancers will have to be at their best to get over the hump against Drost (7.8 rpg), Grace Callen(10.7 ppg), Ovi Young(10.0 ppg) and Megan Misiewicz(6.6 rpg), among others.
The winner of the game will face the winner of the Oak Creek/Brookfield East game at 1 p.m. Saturday at West Allis Central.
Brookfield East vs Oak Creek. 7 p.m. at BC
The Spartans (17-7) have won seven of eight games, with only a 64-61 loss to Brookfield Central in that stretch. East finished the regular season with a 9-5 record at fourth place in the GMC behind DSHA, Brookfield Central and Sussex Hamilton.
Oak Creek, ranked in the top five in state, is 21-2 overall after winning the Southeast Conference with a perfect 14-0 record. The Knights are led by Madison Hart(11.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg), Hailey Erdman(10.2 ppg) and Nicki Widenski(8.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg), with five girls averaging between 3.9 and 5.5 ppg.
The Knights don't have a lot of star power, but they are a deep team that can score quickly when they turn teams over and score in the transition game.
I have said this all year, and I will repeat it in print so people can throw it in my face: I think when it comes to physical talent and athleticism, Brookfield East is one of the most talented teams I have covered. Like a lot of teams, though, sometimes a lack of consistency has plagued the Spartans.
East started out 8-1 and then went 2-5 with a three-game losing streak from Dec. 30 to Jan. 22. Since then, they are 7-1.
The Spartans are led by Cleveland State recruit Mariah Miller, who averages 17.7 ppg and 9.0 rpg. Miller has made our All-Suburban Team since her freshman season, an unusual feat.
Senior point guard Angela Pichler(12.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.3 apg), who like Miller has started since her freshman season, must keep her turnovers down for the Spartans to have a chance. When she distributes the ball, her teammates are better —she gets better shots and the Spartans are hard to beat.
Junior Jen Wandtis the third member of East's 'Big Three.' Wandt, whose future is on the soccer field, knows what to do with her hands on the basketball court (8.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.9 apg, 2.5 steals).
But what has made East even better this year are three sophomores: Lizzy Cagle, Molly VanValkenaereand Emma Ralfs.
Cagle, 6-0, is a tremendous inside threat (8.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg) and a good defender. VanValkenaere, 6-0, gives the Spartans a third 'big' (6.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg), and Ralfs, a 5-10 guard, is a terrific defender (3.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg) who can also nail a 3-pointer.
Now add to this mix senior guard Cami Cross, who does all the little things that don't show up in the box score; sophomore guard Adriana Plavsic, 5-10; senior forward Sydney Livingston, 5-9; and junior guard Lauren Duesing, 5-7; and you can understand why coach Michael Goodmanis not afraid to go deep into his rotation.
It should be a fun sectional to watch.