It's a veteran group this Oak Creek girls basketball team, so as coach Steve Hluchnik said: "there was no suicide watch" after the formerly top-ranked Knights dropped their first game of the season last Saturday to unbeaten Pewaukee.
"It was kind of a learning experience," said senior post Tamya Sims. "Better to lose now than to lose later. We focused on our offense and I think we got a lot better this week."
The Knights (4-0 in Southeast play and 8-1 overall) certainly acted like it on Friday, as in their first action since the Pewaukee contest, they roared out to a 9-0 lead on on a good Southeast Conference opponent, Kenosha Tremper and never let the Trojans in the game in a 61-19 rout.
"I think we realized that last week was not the end of the world," said Hluchnik. "We worked hard this week. A little more intense, a little more focused.
"Last week I think we hit only one shot from the perimeter and tonight, I think we shot something like 85 percent in the first half."
A great deal of that effectiveness came from the defense, as the Knights held the Trojans without a point until the 2:39 point of the first quarter as a Katie Settingsgaard 3-pointer made it 12-3 at the end of the period.
The defense was even more pronounced in the second session as the Knights turned over the Trojans (3-1, 6-3) at will throughout the first four minutes. During that time, Sims came out as part of an effective half-court trap and created numerous opportunities for herself and her teammates with several takeways.
She had 10 of her game-high 18 points in that first four minutes as it became 30-3 before Hluchnik subbed in several new people at the four minute mark.
"We felt we attacked the rim and played with a lot more confidence," said Sims. 'We were more aggressive defensively too."
It was 34-9 at the half.
Hluchnik gave the starters one more good burst of activity at the start of the third, and then it was Sims' teammate and fellow post Stephanie Kostowicz's turn, as she scored 12 of her 16 points in a little under 3:30.
Included were an old-fashioned three-point play, a steal and a lay-up and a closing 3-pointer. It was 48-8 with 4:33 left in the third and the running clock was secured for the fourth quarter.
Hluchnik noticed that the Knights were much more efficient offensively this evening.
"Tonight we came off screens strong and ready to shoot," he said. "We shot with confidence. I also thought we used our 1-3-1 (zone defense) well too.
"It was nice to bounce back like this. We worked on a lot of things this week. We didn't have to tell them a lot (after the loss). They're seniors. They know what they have to do."
Fifth-ranked in state Oak Creek also got six points apiece from Jenna Santi, Nicky Widenski and Katie Finn. Finn and Santi had two 3-pointers apiece. The Knights also hit all seven of their free throw attempts this game.
"This was a nice win," said Sims. "That's a good team in our conference that we beat. It'll be nice to get on a regular schedule now. Play two games a week with regular practice.
"The key for us is to keep playing well, stay focused and keep working for our goals."
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