With much still to be decided, the three-time Woodland East Conference girls basketball champions from Shorewood have established good position for another run at the crown in the season's early going.
They lost out on a showdown with preseason divisional rival Cudahy on Dec. 16 because of weather (no make-up date set yet) but had prepared for it by handling area rival Brown Deer, 70-45, on Dec. 13 behind a career night from junior post Natalie Tomaszewski, who had 19 points, 15 rebounds and an impressive 10 blocks.
"We were ready to play that game (against Cudahy), but what can you do," said coach Jeff Eimers of the hit-and-miss storm last weekend that had long gaps but still caused numerous area athletic cancellations. "I was still happy with the way we played against Brown Deer. We had to be ready because they are much improved, and they came out there with an attitude of having nothing to lose.
"And Natalie (Tomaszewski) has just turned it on in the last two to three games. She's refined her technique (both offensively and defensively) and has really become a force."
The win improved the Greyhounds to 3-1 in Woodland Conference play and 6-2 overall. They closed out the preholiday portion of their schedule with a game against Greenfield on Dec. 20.
"I'm high on this team," Eimers after seeing two big senior classes go out the door in recent years, "but I'm still not sure what we have yet."
Meanwhile, Brown Deer (1-5), which had its Dec. 16 game with Greenfield postponed, closed its preholiday schedule with a contest against Whitnall on Dec. 20. They will be off until a Jan. 4 game with University School.
Shorewood went up, 39-22, at the break against Brown Deer and slowly pulled away in the second half on the strength of a 31-23 effort.
Eimers said 6-3 Tomaszewski did a good job of standing her ground beneath the basket.
"They (the Falcons) tried to go to the block and got a lot of her blocks that way," Eimers said. "She also went out and got a couple of balls too."
Eimers said Tomaszewski was very effective off the high post, too, either hitting a jumper from that area or dumping the ball down low to forward McKayla McMurry, who had a nice game with 11 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
As usual, freshman guard Khamya McNeal was her dominant, effective self, with 21 points, four rebounds, six assists and four steals. She was 6-of-9 from the foul line. Olivia Reilly had 7 points, while Olivia kessenich contributed 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals. Shorewood had 13 steals for the game.
"This was a good win for us," Eimers said, "and Greenfield will be a big game for us."
Brown Deer, meanwhile, looked to the future with this game, as freshmen guards Mattie Schimenz (20 points) and Jonisia Nash (14 points and 10 rebounds) led the way. They are two of four frosh on the roster for the Falcons.