Familiarity may breed contempt, as it is often said, but it can also breed ugly basketball.
That was the case when the Muskego and Kenosha Tremper girls teams met on Friday night in Muskego for a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal game, where the Warriors prevailed, 48-36.
The Warriors and Trojans had seen each other twice before this season, with Muskego winning both games, so there were no surprises. Both teams simply tried to grind out whatever they could get.
“(It was) kind of an ugly game,” Muskego head coach Brian Hirtz said, “but that’s what you get when people have played each other three times. You know each other pretty well. It was a very physical game.
“I thought we did a pretty good job making free throws (22 of 33), and we played pretty good ‘D’ for the most part. I was happy with that, but it’s tough to play someone three times. Also, it’s the regionals. They don’t want to lose, we don’t want to lose. It’s a tough game.”
The Warriors improved to 16-7 and advanced to a regional championship contest at 7 p.m. Saturday at home against Mukwonago (12-11), which upset third seed Janesville Craig, 40-37, on Friday.
Muskego and Mukwonago are not strangers to each other, either. They clashed on Jan. 24, with Mukwonago prevailing, 60-59, in double overtime. Since then, the Warriors have won seven of nine games.
Against Tremper, the Warriors never trailed after the opening minutes, but they were never able to put away the Trojans, either.
Shannon Riley tallied seven first-quarter points, including a three-point play off an offensive rebound to end the period at 14-5.
Tremper senior forward Annmarie Riva netted a pair of 3-point field goals as the Trojans closed within 16-13 midway through the second quarter.
Jessica Cattani dropped a 3-pointer of her own in the final minute of the half to give the Warriors a 20-15 halftime lead.
Leading scorer Jessica Mlachnik had no points at the half, but the Warriors quickly changed that. Mlachnik put in the first basket of the second half, then added a three-point play off an inbounds pass and a pair of free throws as the advantage went to 29-20.
“We ran a couple of sets to get Jess into the post a little bit,” Hirtz said, “and she did some things in there. We were trying to get her some touches where she could make plays for us.”
Tremper trimmed the lead to 32-26 early in the fourth, then Riley scored off an assist by Ashley Colla and Cattani tallied on a putback.
Riva hit another 3-pointer for the Trojans, and Cattani replied with a trey as Muskego went up, 41-29. The Warriors then connected on seven of 10 from the line to seal the victory.
Riley, Cattani and Mlachnik all finished with 10 points and Amber McDonald added eight. For Tremper (10-14), Riva totaled 14 points.
“We’ve got people who can put the ball in the hole,” Hirtz said of his team’s balance. “We’ve got some good post players. We’re glad to move on and we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”
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