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Oak Creek girls close to clinching Southeast hoops title

Two wins this week will do the trick

Feb. 3, 2013

The Southeast Conference title is just two games away for the Oak Creek girls basketball team.

And the Knights made it a lot easier on themselves last week by not letting down after a series of big victories. They belted Kenosha Bradford, 53-15, last Friday after overcoming a physical Racine Case team, 55-40, Jan. 29.

With the wins, the Knights are now 11-0 in league play and 17-1 overall. They were out to clinch a tie for the title Tuesday at home against Kenosha Tremper and if they won that, they would be able to clinch the outright crown Friday at home against Racine Horlick (7:15 p.m.).

"Everybody is just playing very well right now," coach Steve Hluchnik said. "Our defense has been solid, everybody's contributing. It'll be nice if we can get this done this week."

Oak Creek, second ranked in state, did itself plenty of favors last Friday against an overmatched Bradford squad. They were up 15-5 at the quarter and then held the Red Devils to a combined two points in the second and third quarters to pull away.

Hluchnik was able to empty the bench and get everyone some good minutes, as junior forward Tamya Sims continues to be an impressive force all over the court with 12 points and 10 rebounds. She got help from fellow junior Stephanie Kostowicz with 10 points.

The posts were dominant against the defending league champions from Case on Jan. 29. Kostowicz had 26 points and eight rebounds and Sims, who Hluchnik said didn't feel like she played very well, had a triple double of 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocked shots.

"She was talking to me," Hluchnik said of Sims, "and she said she felt bad about her game and I said, 'You had a triple double!' You look at the box every game and you see what she's doing. We're hard on her but she's harder on herself. She feels she's having a good year but feels she can do even better."

A fast start put the Knights in good position against Case, as they got out to a 15-2 first quarter advantage and were up 26-18 at the half. They were able to stretch it out to 44-31 at the end of three quarters.

"We hit a bunch of shots early and that really helped," Hluchnik said, "but Case is still Case. They haven't the players they used to have, but they're still good and they're still physical. They basically beat the crap out of us, especially Morgan (point guard Kokta). But a game like this can only help us. We fought back and got it back up to a comfortable lead in the second half and I don't think it dropped below 13 points."

A nice turn last week for the Knights was the return of senior guard Sam Erdman. She missed the entire season to this point while recovering from a knee injury. Hluchnik said everyone was happy to see her back.

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