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Hluchnik named Oak Creek girls hoops coach

Ex-West Allis Central coach is third Knights coach in four years

June 30, 2009

Oak Creek — Steve Hluchnik, who spent the last 12 years at West Allis Central, has been named the new Oak Creek girls basketball coach.

"I'm excited," said Hluchnik, who was named coach in May. "It's a great opportunity. Oak Creek is one of the top programs reputation-wise in the area. It's a one-high school town compared to two. It was tough getting youth programs going in West Allis, and they have second grade select teams already in Oak Creek."

West Allis Central posted five double-digit-win seasons in the last six under Hluchnik, including back-to-back 14-victory campaigns in 2007-08 and 08-09.

"When we took over the program, they won zero games the year before," Hluchnik said. "We built it into a respected program. Not one of the top ones in the area, but a respected won that won 14 games."

Hluchnik, who will teach at West Middle School, becomes the program's third coach in four seasons. He replaces Julie Tyrcha, who coached for two seasons after replacing Ken Kujawa.

Under Tyrcha, the Knights went 37-11 overall and 26-6 in the Southeast Conference. The 2007-08 team, Tyrcha's first, won the Southeast Conference championship and advanced to the state tournament for the first time since 1984. Last season ended in the sectional semifinal. Earlier in the season four players quit the team due to differences with Tyrcha. In early February, about a month before the season concluded, principal Paul Sigler announced Tyrcha would not return as head coach for the 2009-10 season.

"I've already had a parents meeting," Hluchnik said. "I had that set up right away. I told them we have to have an open line of communication. I'll be honest with them and they might not like what I say all the time. And the same with the kids. They have to understand their roles on the team and that has to be communicated to them. Hopefully that will take care of some of the problems of the past."

Center Stephanie Running averaged 14.5 points per game for the Knights but has graduated and will play at Drake University. Guard Angela Rodriguez, who will be in her fourth season on the varsity, averaged 11.3 points per game as a junior. Ashley Luke, who will be a junior, averaged 9.0 last season and guard Cydney Weisflog, another junior-to-be, scored 8.2.

As for Rodriquez, "I came from Central where I had Iesha Barkley for four years, and she is similar to Angela where she was an absolute stud," Hluchnik said. "(Rodriguez) has been a leader so far. The offense will revolve around her."

- David Cotey

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