Rivalry games tend more often than not to be close, regardless of the records of the two teams, and such was the case again when the West Allis Hale and Central girls basketball teams clashed on Jan. 21.
The Huskies came in with eight victories on the season and the Bulldogs with three triumphs and a long losing streak, but Central battled all the way before Hale pulled out a tough 56-48 game at Central.
'Central employed a 2-3 zone (defense) most of the game, which really gave us fits,' Hale coach George Sotiros said. 'Central slowed the pace of play and forced us to work hard for shots, taking away our fast pace of play and transition offense.
'Coach (Lou) Chapman and the Bulldogs had a great game plan against us, but I was really proud of the girls for keeping their composure and getting the victory.'
Hale improved to 3-5 in the Greater Metro Conference and 9-7 overall, tying last season's totals for victories in both cases.
Central slipped to 0-8 in the GMC and 3-12 overall.
Sam Schuh, who earlier last week officially signed to play at NAIA team Dakota Wesleyan next season, collected 20 points, five rebounds and four steals.
Alyssa Cruz tallied 15 points, hitting 6-of-10 from the floor and 3-of-4 from 3-point field goal range, and added four assists.
KellyAnn Sotiros notched 6 points and seven rebounds; Abby Arena 5 points and seven rebounds; and Ashley Levack 13 rebounds.
For Central, Nikita Conroy scored a game-high 23 points with a pair of 3-pointers, and Antoinette Powell put in 14 points.
'Conroy played really well for Central,' coach Sotiros said. 'She is a great competitor and just a super kid and really hit shot after shot to keep Central in the game.'
The Huskies next play at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, at Menomonee Falls and at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, at home against Sussex Hamilton.
The Bulldogs return to action at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at home against Brookfield East and 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Brookfield Central.
HALE DOWNS ROCKETS
The Hale girls squad also defeated South Milwaukee, 65-51, on Jan. 19.
TOP SCORERS: Sam Schuh totaled 18 points and eight rebounds; Abby Arena 13 points; and KellyAnn Sotiros and Ashley Levack 6 points each. The Huskies burst to a 35-16 halftime lead and coasted from there.
COACH GEORGE SOTIROS:'It was great to see Katie get some important minutes, and it shows how deep our program has become. We have a lot of different contributors.'