With virtually no height to speak of and 1,000-point career scorer Mikael Green essentially gone for the rest of the season with a bad ankle sprain, the Shorewood boys basketball team has had to improvise with willpower, heart and guile.
That formula is paying dividends, as the Greyhounds churn toward the finish line. In a recent seven-day span, they won three of four games to improve to 2-13 in Woodland Conference East play and 5-16 overall.
First-year coach Chris Hill has been impressed by the show of character led by co-captains James Ewing, DeAndre Anderson and Aarman Khan.
"I've loved the way the guys have come every day and competed," he said. "We really can't out-talent anyone, but the guys come in and compete. It's been a rough year, but it's great to see a little success for them, see that all their hard work can finally start to go in the win column."
They downed the SWCHA Home School team, 70-65, on Feb. 13; downed Woodland foe Cudahy, 55-47, on Feb. 15; fell to Woodland east leader Whitnall, 87-64, on Feb. 17; and then routed nonconference foe St. Anthony, 77-36, on Feb. 20.
They closed their regular season on Wednesday, Feb. 22, against Woodland foe Greendale.
They will visit Milwaukee North in a WIAA D2 regional quarterfinal game Tuesday, Feb. 28. If they win, they will visit third-seeded Wisconsin Lutheran in a regional semifinal Friday, March 3.
Hill expects the team to continue to play hard right through to the finish.
"In a situation like this, a lot of kids might give up and quit," he said, "but our guys keep fighting. They keep playing."
Against St. Anthony, the Greyhounds had a rare laugher, as they broke out to a 43-12 halftime lead. A total of 11 players scored, led by Anderson with 15, Hasan 14. Milo Bakos 12 and Aaron Eimers 9.
Co-captain Anderson has been the main offensive threat this season with Green's injury.
"He's been tremendous for us," Hill said. "Just stepping up and playing the right way.".
Freshman guard Chris Farrington has also been praised for his efforts.
Versus Cudahy, Shorewood took a 28-21 halftime lead. Anderson poured in 26, including 12-of-17 from the foul line. Julian Rodriguez-Richards added 8.
The Greyhounds pulled out a gritty win over SWCHA, taking a 31-28 lead at the half. Anderson scored 21, hitting 8 of 11 free throws, while James Ewing added 13 and Eimers and Rodriguez-Richards 12 apiece.
"The kids have really responded well since Mikael's been out (about six games ago)," Hill said. "We really don't have anyone to throw into the post because we're just so small, but we keep trying."