Going into this season, New Berlin West boys basketball coach Jeff Lewiston needed only six wins to reach 400 in his career. He probably didn't think it would take this long.
On Feb. 5, in their 20th game of the season, the Vikings finally helped their coach reach the milestone, beating Wauwatosa West, 79-58, at home.
Lewiston's comment afterward was typical.
"The most important thing is that we won our sixth game and third in a row," Lewiston said. "My kids are playing better and have improved."
When asked about his 400th win, Lewiston, who didn't want to take the focus off his team, had an humorous comment.
"Even a blind rhino can walk through a mine field and not step on one," he said. "Look, it's a significant number, but it's not the reason we coach. It's very nice. Basically it means I've been around a long time."
Lewiston has been coaching high basketball for 35 years. He spent seven years as an assistant coach and 29 as a head coach, 19 coming at New Berlin West, where he started in 1994 teaching social studies and history. His overall career record is now 400-296 and his record at New Berlin West is 267-156.
Besting Tosa West
The Vikings started fast and finished strong and rolled over the Trojans.
They used a 15-7 first quarter to spark them to a 30-21 halftime lead. After a wild, high scoring third period (27-26) that led to a 57-47 lead going into the fourth period, the Vikings took control again, doubling up the Trojans' score (22-11).
The Vikings got to the free throw line and sank 23-for-35.
Austin Fritz led the scoring parade with 19 points. He was 6-for-9 from the field and 7-for-8 from the free-throw line with six rebounds, three assists and three blocks.
Tyler Thompson had 16 points, hitting 5-for-5 from the field and 6-for-7 from the free-throw line, and Scott Reichel had 15 points, continuing his strong showing of late. He was 5-for-9 from the field and 5-for-8 from the line with seven rebounds.
Darwin Sowinski added 11 points, six rebounds and Kevin Marx had eight points, seven rebounds, eight assists and three steals.
Big loss to Pius XI
The Vikings split two games last week, also losing to Pius XI, 48-33, on the road on Friday.
The Popes defense held down the West offense, as the Vikings scored six, two and seven points in the first three periods, trailing 37-15. The Vikings added 18 points in the fourth quarter to make the score more respectable.
Reichel led West with eight points and six rebounds, while Levi Bradley had 17 points and Donovan Jackson had 16 to lead the Popes.
"We shot 23 percent from the field," Lewiston said. "How can we win?"
The Vikings (6-15) are the eighth seed in the WIAA playoffs and host the ninth-seeded Waukesha North Northstars (6-13) on Tuesday.
"We know they are a well-coached team and have some weapons," Lewiston said. "I am happy to have a home game. If we win we should play New Berlin Eisenhower."
The Vikings upset the Lions last year in the playoffs.
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