The free-throw line was a friend, not an enemy, to the Whitnall girls basketball team in an 87-56 rout of Brown Deer on Dec. 20.
The Falcons sank 20 of 22 from the line in the victory, a sharp contrast to their struggles earlier this season, including a 6-of-18 effort in a three-point loss to Greendale.
"In the last two games, things (at the line) have certainly been different from what we had experienced," coach Keith Larson said, "and everyone was hitting shots."
Top scorer Sierra Grubor, who finished with 25 points to near the 1,000-point mark for her career, netted 6-of-7, and Abbey Kenaston put in 6-of-6 on the evening.
"We shoot free throws every day in practice," Larson said. "We never made an issue of (the troubles at the line). We just need to get up there, get comfortable and refocus. Once you hit a few, the confidence builds within the entire team."
Behind Grubor, who also notched seven assists, Sam Benzinger totaled 15 points, and Jessie Knackert, Kathryn Bay and Helen Smasal each added 6 points. Knackert posted four assists and three steals as well and Liv Thompson four assists for Whitnall, which shot 57 percent from the field and committed only nine turnovers.
Whitnall rolled to a 51-22 halftime lead and then coasted through the second half.
"We just were in a nice flow throughout the first half," Larson said.
The local Falcons improved to 2-3 in the Woodland Conference East Division, tied with South Milwaukee and Greenfield for second place behind Shorewood (3-2) at the holiday break.
Whitnall takes on West Bend East at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 29, at home and then has a big game against Greenfield at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6, also at home.
That will be the nightcap of a boys-girls doubleheader, which starts at 5:45 p.m. with the boys contest. This is the first season Whitnall and Greenfield have tried the doubleheader format, and Larson is looking forward to it.
"I think everyone is looking to make this really well-done, with special T-shirts and everything," he said.