An all-around team effort helped the West Allis Hale girls basketball team capture the championship in its own holiday tournament last week.
The Huskies placed four players in double figures, just missing having six with 10 or more points, in an 82-52 victory over Greenfield on Dec. 28 and then nearly had four players in double digits in a 55-45 triumph over Whitefish Bay on Dec. 29 in the championship game.
The sweep of the tournament boosted Hale to 7-3 overall, its best record at the holiday break since 2002. The Huskies improved to 6-1 in nonconference games this season.
"It was fun to see different players stepping up each game," coach George Sotiros said. "We lack a true superstar, but the team has really bought into the 'team first' concept we have been preaching all season."
In the championship contest, Hale fell behind Bay, 11-1, early and still trailed, 30-23, at the half. The Huskies went to a 1-3-1 trapping defense at the start of the second half, which forced Bay into 16 second-half turnovers and paved the way for a 32-15 advantage.
Hale tied the game at 36-36 with 8 minutes, 27 seconds left and then took a 45-38 lead on a 3-point field goal by Lexi Sevedge with four minutes left. The Huskies made it 49-38 with 3 minutes left and then held on from there.
KellyAnn Sotiros led the team with 13 points and added 14 rebounds and two blocked shots. Sevedge totaled 10 points and Alyssa Cruz and Abi Stevens 8 points apiece.
In the semifinal against Greenfield, the Huskies were up 37-22 at the half and had eight players with at least 6 points. Zoe Burczyk and Abby Arena each notched 14 points; Sotiros and Julie Palesse 10 each; Cruz and Stevens 8 apiece; and Sevedge 7 points.
Sotiros had a team-high nine rebounds and six steals; Arena seven rebounds and three blocks; and Cruz a team-leading four assists.
For Greenfield, Ratka Karac collected 14 points and Emma Graetz and Hayley Hoedel each 12 points.
The Hawks went on to beat Westosha Central, 72-58, in the third-place game on Dec. 28. Sophia Valero scored 15 points, Graetz 14 points, Karac 13 points and Hoedel and Meghan Fularczyk each 8 points.
"Greenfield has played really well this year, competing with the top teams in the Woodland Conference, so this was a big win for us," coach Sotiros said.
Hale takes on Brookfield Central at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6, at home and then visits Wauwatosa East at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10, in a pair of Greater Metro Conference tests. Greenfield plays at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6, at Whitnall in the nightcap of a boys-girls doubleheader.