To regain its momentum, the Menomonee Falls girls basketball team needed to win one game; then it needed to win two.
After doing that last week, including a thrilling 50-47 upset of a good Brookfield East East team on a snowy Dec. 16 night, Indian coach Derek Woelffer is looking to make it three and then four.
"It was well worth the trip," Woelffer said, laughing about the East game held on a night when many other contests were canceled by weather. "It was good for us. We had like a one- or two-possession lead with about five minutes to go, and I told the kids they shouldn't worry that we've practiced such situations before, that we have been in this position before.
"Focus on the process, value the possession, make every possession count. It's something we do all the time, and they were able to do that."
The Indians, who also downed West Allis Hale, 53-40, on Dec. 13, improved to 2-1 in GMC play and 3-4 overall after a series of tough losses, while East fell to 3-1 and 6-2, respectively. Falls has a busy schedule before the break, as it will host nonconference opponent Whitefish Bay on Thursday, Dec. 22, and then will visit GMC rival Brookfield Central on Friday, Dec. 23.
The victories last week were also psychologically huge, Woelffer noted.
"Hale and East were two teams that we did not beat last year," he said. "Now the kids believe they can compete with just about any other team out there. It was just great (in the locker room) to see how excited the kids were (after the East game). They were ecstatic. You could tell by their reaction, it was a big win for them."
Falls had to rally to do it.
They were down 30-25 at the half to the Spartans, but Falls stiffened, holding East to just 17 points in the second half. As noted, the Indians took the lead later in the second half, but East would not go away.
"We hit a free throw to make it a 3-point lead," said Woelffer of the final sequence. "We missed a lay-up and they called a timeout with about 20 seconds left. They went for the layup to cut the lead to one. We drew up a play to get the inbounds to Jessica (post Boerner), who's been shooting free throws well lately. We got a good screen set for her. She caught the ball, stayed strong with it and was fouled. She hit the two free throws; then we got the stop and the win."
Falls was active on the offensive boards this night.
"The two most important things in basketball, scoring and stopping the other team from scoring, we didn't do either," said Spartan coach Michael Goodman. "Out of the 50 points we gave up, 38 of them were layups, most of which coming off offensive rebounds."
Boerner led all scorers with 18 points, while Alyssa Marks had 14 and Marissa Igunbor 9. The Indians were only 8-of-18 from the line as a team, and it has been a problem so far this season, but Woelffer said it is getting better.
"We know that a lot of that is between the ears (mentally)," he said. "We're focusing a lot with the kids on what they can control."
Molly DeValkenaere led East with 16 points.
Falls again had to come from behind against Hale, as the Indians trailed 25-22 at the break but outscored the Huskies, 31-15, in the second session.
The foul line was a big advantage for the Indians, as they hit 21 of 33 attempts as opposed to 13 of 19 for the Huskies. Madison Grzesiak had 14 points, while Igunbor hit nine of 12 free throws for 13 points and Boerner scored 7.
"We told the kids that we were 1-4 (entering the Hale game), but we can get one win, and then we can get two," Woelffer said. "Then maybe we can turn two into four."