Although it battled hard and tried to stay close, the West Allis Hale girls basketball team saw its season come to an end with a 64-47 loss to Oak Creek in a WIAA Division 1 regional title game on Feb. 25.
“We’re very happy (to move on),” Oak Creek coach Steve Hluchnik said. “That Hale team is a dangerous team. You can look at their record, but they’re in every single game. They have some players.
“I was very worried about them. We got up, and they just kept cutting back (the lead). Very happy to get out of here with a win tonight.”
West Allis Hale had a 5-3 lead at the 15:01 mark in the first half, but that was the last time the Huskies would lead, as they played catch-up against the Knights.
“Oak Creek is one of the best around,” Hale coach George Sotiros said. “We knew if that gap got a little too big that we’d be chasing, and that’s what was happening.
“We had good looks in the first half to keep it tight. Once you get down double digits, you have to do some things that we aren’t used to. Credit to them. That’s why they are the best. We battled it out.”
Oak Creek used a 7-0 scoring run over a 2½-minute stretch that lasted until the 4:08 mark to take a 20-11 lead over Hale in the first half.
The Knights shot 62 percent from 3-point range in the opening half, knocking down six 3-pointers, compared to just one for the Huskies.
Down 35-20 at halftime, West Allis Hale used a 7-0 run to cut Oak Creek’s lead to 8 points with 10:24 remaining in the game. Following an Oak Creek timeout, the Knights responded with a 14-3 scoring run of their own to jump out to a 19-point lead with 7:11 left.
The Huskies continued to fight and got the score within 10 points with 3:10 remaining, in large part thanks to three 3-point shots by Zoe Burczyk in less than a 2-minute span. But, the deficit was too big to overcome.
Burczyk finished the game with a team-high 19 points.
“Zoe (Burczyk) has been fantastic all year,” Sotiros said. “She hit shots. She’s tough. It’s just we needed some others to get shots to fall, and you can’t win with one person. Kids battled all year. We will be back. We’re young.”
Hale finished the season at 11-13.
“Every game of our season has been competitive,” Sotiros said. “If I remove myself as a coach, they’ve been fun games. It’s a credit to the kids, even the seniors who started the process five years ago. You have to grow incrementally, and we’ve done that. We’re proud of them.”