Mequon — Not a lot of free throws went in and not a lot of baskets found the net either, but for the Homestead girls basketball team Jan. 20 against North Shore rival Germantown, enough rebounds were gathered and enough stops made to ensure a 36-26 win.
"Our team defense was just outstanding tonight," said Highlanders coach Matt Heuser. "We held them to six baskets (out of 48 attempts) and anytime you do something like that, that's a really solid effort. We could have made it easier on ourselves by hitting a few free throws (Homestead made only 15 of 34) but their free throws (7 of 22) sort of countered that."
The victory gave the Highlanders their first two-game winning streak of the season as they improved to 2-5 in North Shore play and 4-8 overall while the Warhawks fell to 2-5 and 3-11, respectively.
Germantown coach Matt Stuve, whose team had an impressive win over Grafton the previous Friday, was flummoxed by the effort.
"I mean, give credit to Homestead," he said, "but I don't know whose kids those were wearing our blue uniforms tonight. They weren't the same ones we saw last week. Just a completely different effort. I guess that's just life with teenagers sometimes."
Homestead took a 3-0 lead, Germantown tied it at 3, and after a Siena Mitman three-point play, Homestead never trailed. It was 6-3 at the quarter as Homestead hit only two of 11 shots and Germantown just one of 11.
And despite foul trouble to leading scorer Mitman (10 points), the Highlanders were able to expand the advantage to 18-11 at the break. They got into the bonus early in the second quarter (5:49) and would hit 10 of 15 free throws in the first half as compared to just two of eight for Germantown.
A 7-1 run midway through the second period highlighted by a pretty drive and bank-shot from by Hannah Young (six points) made it 17-9.
The Highlanders extended the lead to 25-13 in the third period as the Warhawks would hit just one of 13 shots in the session. A basket and two free throws by Germantown's Jessica Kretlow cut the margin to 25-17 late in the third, but then Mitman got a critical putback hoop just seconds before the end to push the margin back up to double digits.
"Siena's presence alone creates problems for the opposition and it creates a lot of opportunities for others on our team," said Heuser. "She just brings a lot to the table on both ends of the floor."
Rachel Behnken notched a hoop on an offensive rebound, one of many second chance opportunities the Highlanders got in the second half and then hit two free throws with 3:55 left to give Homestead its largest lead of the night at 35-21.
The Highlanders then coasted into the finish line.
Kretlow would finish with six points to lead Germantown.
"Defensively, I like the fact that we gave up only 36 points, but you can't give up second chances like we did tonight," said Stuve, who praised the showing of senior forward Joann Martin who gave good effort before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
"Cullen really stepped up and (Kacie) Kelly made a lot of big plays too," said Heuser. "Karley (Marotta) also continues to take good care of the ball. We did a good job against their diamond press. They want to create chaos and get us out of control but we were able to slow things down and gain our poise.
"We got a lead and then we were able to execute."
Homestead will try to build on their two-game winning streak as they took on Waukesha South in a non-conference game on Tuesday. The team will host Grafton on Friday and visit Milwaukee Lutheran on Tuesday. All matches begin at 7:30 p.m.
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