Battle of New Berlin girls a thriller down to the end

First of all, I am very disappointed I missed the New Berlin Eisenhower at New Berlin West girls basketball game last night. I had a procedure at the hospital earlier and was not able to make the contest.

Going into the game, the Lions, who lost in the WIAA State Finals last season, lost their first three games of the season to teams with a combined 24-1 record. Since then, IKE has won five in a row going into last night.

Meanwhile across town, New Berlin West had compiled an impressive 8-1 record going into the game, so Wednesday's game was setting up a showdown for local rights to girls basketball.

West led 24-19 at halftime and 29-26 going into the fourth period. West led by one with a minute left, but missed some shots and some free throws, while Eisenhower had two big 3's from Anthie Katris and hit their free throws down the stretch to earn a 41-36 victory.

As a result, the Lions are now 4-2 in Woodland Conference action, behind a powerful West Division line-up of Pius XI and Pewaukee, each 6-0, and New Berlin West at 5-2. The two teams behind the top four - Tosa West and Greendale - are each 3-3.

The Lions have two players key returning players - junior guard Sammy Kozlowski - and sophomore center Chelsea Brackmann, who is an athletic 6-2 center. Brackmann averages 13.2 ppg and Koz 8.2 ppg. The Lions Sister act of sophomore Emalie Hahn (6.3 ppg) and senior Jessa Hahn (5.1 ppg) play key roles but it doesn't stop there.

Junior Sydney Cheung and sophomore Ashley Hofemeister (4.6 ppg each), senior Anthie Katris (3.3 ppg) and junior Katie Schlegal (3.2) also have stepped up.

In fact, Katris nailed her first two 3-pointers of the year in the fourth quarter in the big win over West. Emalie Hahn had eight points and played her best game of the year according to coach Gary Schmidt.

West coach Jef Radtke's team had to be disappointed with the loss, but he has a team that is 10-11 girls deep.

Seven girls average between 4.9 (sophomore Claire Radtke) and 8.7 ppg (junior Rachel Novotny). Sophomore Sarah Meleski (8.4) not only supplies scoring, but defense and leadership far beyond her years.

Junior Ali Boldt (7.6 ppg), sophomore Lizzie Liska (5.8), senior Anne Radtke (5.2) and junior Jenna Nelson (5.0) give Jef Radtke a lot of numbers to work with. Schmidt admitted, watching film of the Vikings, there wasn't really just one player to focus on.

So the Lions won the first round, but once again the second time around should also be fun.

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