When you look at the talent on the Brookfield East girls basketball team, you understand why the Spartans had a successful season.
They went 17-8 overall, their most wins since the 2003-2004 season. They earned their first playoff win since 2008 and won their first regional title since 2005.
Their Greater Metro Conference record of 9-5 gave them three conference winning seasons in a row, which hasn't happened since 2001-04. They also ended Divine Savior Holy Angels' 28-game conference winning streak.
They finished sixth in Division 1 in scoring, fifth in Division 1 in 3-point shots made and were ranked in the state — in the coaches poll and the AP poll — for six weeks, ranking as high as No. 7.
'I have nothing to complain about,' coach Michael Goodman said. 'We had a very good season in a very tough conference. We went toe to toe with Oak Creek, who represented our sectional at state, and lost on a questionable call. We are continuing to knock down program droughts, and the expectations keep getting higher.'
The Spartans had four of their starters earn All-GMC honors. Mariah Miller and Angela Pichler were first-team selections; Jen Wandt was second team; and Cami Cross was honorable mention. Only Wandt is a junior; the others are seniors.
The Spartans had one poor stretch of the season, and it cost them big time. East, which finished 17-8 overall, a .680 winning percentage, went 2-5 from Dec. 30 through Jan. 22.
The Spartans started the year with an 8-1 run through Dec. 18 and then ended the season with a 5-1 run, a combined 13-2 record without the seven-game slump.
In the postseason, East crushed Milwaukee Hamilton (82-18) and a good Franklin team (80-55). They then battled Oak Creek in the sectional semifinal and lost in the final seconds, 53-51.
The following players earned awards at the team banquet last week.
Miller, who will attending Cleveland State University, won the MVP award. Moira Sullivan earned the Spirit Award, and Emma Ralfs was named the Most Improved Player.
Miller, Pichler and Wandt were named captains.
Miller led the team in most points and rebounds; Pichler topped out in best free-throw percentage and most 3-pointers; and Wandt had the most assists and steals.
Goodman will lose seniors Miller, Pichler, Cross, Mariah Miller, Angela Pichler, Cami Cross, Sydnee Livingston and Sullivan to graduation.
But these seniors have helped Goodman put together a 39-32 record the past three years, including a 27-15 GMC mark in that stretch.
'I put the senior class in a difficult position four years ago when they were 'thrown to the wolves,'' Goodman said. 'They were asked to make a bad program respectable, win some games and rebuild this program into respectability. But (I told them), 'I'm not going to do you any favors by playing easy teams and you have nobody to learn from; you have to do it all yourself.'
'We need to do it (play a tough nonconference schedule) in a difficult conference, and I'm going to make a difficult nonconference schedule every year. They have really answered the bell. In my first three years, we won five nonconference games out of 24 and won six this year alone. So, we are playing the same teams, just learning to win and showing were we are getting to.'
Goodman felt it wasn't perfect, but he was pleased with their progress over the years.
'We would have wanted a few things to go differently, but this year really showed the growth we have experienced in four years,' he said. 'You can't get much closer to state than losing to the team who went to state by 2 points with 2 seconds to go. We have nothing to be ashamed of there.'
He has some talented players returning in juniors Wandt and Lauren Duesing and sophomores Ralfs, Lizzy Cagle, Molly DeValkenaere, Adriana Plavsic and Nikki Pink. So despite the loss of some talented players, the future looks bright for the Spartans.