By Jason Arndt

Aside from a challenging non conference schedule, the Westosha Central High School girls basketball team continues to hold its own in the Southern Lakes Conference, where the Lady Falcons boast a 2-1 record entering Friday’s contest against visiting Wilmot.

The Lady Falcons, in their first year under coach Mindy Stewart, opened the season 0-4 before capturing back-to-back SLC wins to Elkhorn and Delavan-Darien.

Stewart, however, admits the conference slate might not get easier, noting potent opponents like Burlington, Lake Geneva Badger and Wilmot.

“We played Delavan-Darien and Elkhorn and came out with wins and when we play those tougher opponents, we are going to have to play our brand of basketball,” she said.

The brand of basketball, she said, includes a slower tempo to minimize opponents offensive possessions.
A slower tempo and efficient pass distribution are critical ingredients to the Lady Falcons success as the season progresses.

“We play so much better when we slow it down and play Falcon basketball,” Stewart said. “Our non conference games have been really tough which I think is good for us because the competition in our conference is out to get us.”

The tough competition was evident last weekend, when the Lady Falcons played in the Racine Lakeshore Officials Association Holiday Showcase, where they matched up with Racine Lutheran and Racine Horlick.

Growing weekend
After the Falcons dropped a 71-34 verdict to Lutheran on Dec. 15, Westosha Central returned to the Prairie School court the following day against the Rebels, who received a stellar game from 5-foot-11 sophomore Olivia Pitrof.

Pitrof, who entered the Lady Falcons contest with three 20-point games in nine contests, propelled the Rebels in the first half.

Horlick, which took a 37-11 lead into halftime, received 20 points from Pitrof.

If not for Pitrof, the outcome could have been different, according to Stewart.

“She is the real deal and she is young, too,” said Stewart. “We did not find a way early on to match up with her and she took advantage of that.”

In the second half, however, the Falcons reverted to a slower tempo offense to limit Pitrof’s scoring opportunities.

The strategy worked, as Westosha Central held the sophomore to eight second half points, and eventually found a rhythm on offense.

“In the second half, we really tried to slow the ball down to limit her possessions,” she said.
After Horlick opened with a 9-0 run, the Falcons responded with 10-4 run, courtesy of two Stephanie Dopuch 3-pointers and buckets by Meghan McNealy and sophomore call-up Ellie Witt.

Dopuch finished with a team-leading nine points.

Witt, whose identical twin Megan played in the first half, showed defensive promise by blocking a Pitrof with 2:32 left of regulation.

Additionally, Ellie Witt made her basket in a clean fast break transition.

Although the twins play junior varsity, and can only play on half, Stewart said the duo offers a glimpse into the Lady Falcons’ promising future.

Stewart opted to give the duo playing time after two varsity players were out with injuries during the tournament.

Stewart expects a lineup in full strength entering Friday’s contest against Wilmot.

Following the Showcase, the Falcons are 2-6 overall.

Earlier games
Westosha Central 46,
Delavan-Darien 41
Courtesy of another five 3-point performance by Meghan McNealy, the Lady Falcons held on for a 46-41 SLC victory at Delavan-Darien Dec. 12, despite a late push by the Comets.

The Lady Falcons, who improved to 2-1 in the SLC after the win, mounted a 28-21 first half lead before Delavan-Darien responded by outscoring Westosha Central 20-18 in the final frame.

For McNealy, who posted a game-high 19 points, she went 4 for 5 from the free throw line.

Stephanie Dopuch, coming off a career-high 23 points against Elkhorn a week earlier, produced 16 points.

The Comets, who remain winless in the SLC, received 15 points from Jaida Speth and another 10 from Kailea Timmerman.

Racine Lutheran 71,
Westosha Central 34
In the first game of the Racine Lakeshore Officials Association Holiday Showcase held at Racine Prairie, the Lady Falcons could not carry the momentum from their SLC defeat of Elkhorn, dropping a 71-34 contest to Racine Lutheran.

The Lady Falcons, however, received a career-high 12 points from Marie Tyree and another consistent performance by Dopuch, who posted 10.

The Crusaders, meanwhile, took a 38-22 edge entering halftime and extended the lead in the second half where they outscored Westosha Central 33-12.

Lutheran’s Caroline Strande had a game-high 26 points.


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