In preperation for the better attended boys game that followed Saturday night, the crowd grew steadily for the Germantown at Menomonee Falls girls basketball game as the contest progressed.
What the fans saw was just a taste of the intense "run, press and shoot" Grinnell-style offense that the Warhawks won 18 games with last season.
And although the Warhawks were down point guard Paige Groth (sprained ankle) and weren't having one of their prime nights offensively, they still gave the fans in attendance an impressive display with a 73-54 decision over their game border rivals.
"It was nice to have the big crowd in the second half," said Warhawk coach Matt Stuve. "I didn't care that most of them were seeing the boys game as long as they were here seeing us."
The Warhawks, who have high aspirations after that breakthrough season last year, are now 2-0 having won their critical North Shore opener the night before over tough Whitefish Bay.
For Indian coach Craig Amundson, whose team is in a big-time rebuilding mode this season, there were still things to latch onto despite the loss that dropped them to 1-2.
"It was the second quarter that did us in (a 12-2 run that began the session broke a 13-all tie)," he said. "We didn't make a whole lot of shots then and that hurt us. I thought we were prepared for their press and even ran our open court offense. I thought we played hard.
"I was not disappointed by our effort."
It was 25-15 at that point and shortly thereafter Germantown went on an 11-0 run that made it 37-20. An Erika Berry 3-pointer punctuated the effort as Germantown went into the break with a 37-22 lead.
"It was a funny game that way," said Stuve. "We were only three of 17 from behind the arc (the 3-point line) in the first half and still we had a 15-point lead."
The Indians, led by feisty and talented freshman guard Kylie Sprecher, who led all scorers with 23 points, couldn't exactly threaten Germantown in the second half, but nor did they let their visitors run away and hide either.
The lead reached 45-24 at its peak early in the third, but then a few moments later, Falls had it down to 13. It was 55-38 at the end of three quarters but Falls was never able to get the margin under 14 in the fourth.
Sprecher was seven of nine from the foul line as part of her effort. Amundson said that her mother played soccer for the University of Wisconsin. She's one of three strong frosh on varsity for Falls including Madison Grzesiak and Marissa Igunbor.
Amundson is encouraged as the team prepares to enter Greater Metro Conference next week.
"As I've said before, the kids are improving quite a bit everyday," he said. Erin Otzelberger and Laura Marx added seven apiece for Falls.
For Germantown, the Warhawks were led Val Meissner, who had 20 points, including four of the team's eight 3-pointers.
"She's getting more aggressive going to the basket everyday, but I still don't think she's as aggressive as she could be," said Stuve.
Taylor Higginbotham added 12, Bridget Kelley 10 and Berry nine for Germantown. Stuve noted that guard Sarah Bartel remains a "menace" having had 10 deflections in the game win over Bay and at least eight in the first half against Falls.
"We were hitting a wall in some instances though we did respond," said Stuve. "It's funny to score 73 points, win by 19 and know that you really didn't play all that well."
The back-to-back games are the first of three times that the Warhawks will be dealing with that scenario this month. They will have a critical game at home next Friday against defending North Shore champ Cedarburg. Groth's sprain is believed not to be too serious, though the team is being cautious with her.
"We'll be careful, because we have 10 games in December. We'll be seeing a lot of action," he said.
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