Strong defense continued to lead the way for the surging West Allis Central boys basketball team.

The Bulldogs downed Marquette, 58-48, on Feb. 3, holding the Hilltoppers to just 14 first-half points, for their fifth victory in six games.

They improved to 3-7 in the Greater Metro Conference and 8-9 overall going into this week.

"In that first half (against Marquette), we played really good defense," coach Dave Mlachnik said. "Jacob Fierst and Griffin Johnson did a great job defensively against (Marquette's top player)."

Central also showed fine balance on offense, another hallmark of the recent winning streak. Kurt Mlachnik tallied 13 points, and Glenn Martin, Jared Welsch and Paysharne Jelks each added 10 points. Jelks also had four assists and five steals on the night.

"We moved the ball well, and several guys just stepped up and made shots," coach Mlachnik said. "Kurt had a good floor game, putting pressure on their guards and running our offense, and Fierst had 10 rebounds as well."

Central took a 25-14 halftime advantage and then held off Marquette in the second half to earn a season split against the Hilltoppers.

The Bulldogs had lost to GMC leader Brookfield Central, 73-62, on Jan. 31 to end a four-game winning streak, but coach Mlachnik said the effort was good.

"We were up in the first half, then fell behind, but we kept fighting," he said. "They (the Lancers) shot extremely well from the floor and line."

Jelks led the Bulldogs with 16 points, Welsch put in 14 points and Mlachnik 9 points. Gage Malensek paced the Lancers with 29 points.

Central plays at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, at Menomonee Falls and then takes a break from conference action to take on Waukesha North at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, at home in the Stech Fieldhouse.