Back in November, Muskego head coach Brian Hirtz knew his girls basketball team was facing a different type of season.
In recent years, the Warriors always seemed to be stocked with proven players and often featured standouts such as Katie Ellerson, Alyssa Colla or Renee Bennett.
This season's squad featured mostly untested players who needed to learn how to work together.
"We knew this year would be a process," Hirtz said.
Muskego has indeed struggled, coming into this week winless at 0-10, but the Warriors have shown definite signs of improvement and have become steadily more competitive.
In their past seven games, they have lost by 10 points or less six times, including a 45-41 thriller at Mukwonago on Friday night.
"The kids are working hard, and they are getting closer," Hirtz said. "Coaching them has been a ton of fun this year."
Muskego was saddled with a brutal schedule, with games against Pewaukee, New Berlin West, Brookfield Central and Franklin to go with the rugged Classic 8 docket.
Also, the Warriors incredibly played just one home game in their first eight.
Against all this adversity, Muskego has steadily found its footing.
"We needed to figure out who was going to step up," Hirtz said, "and some girls have. Senior Dani Abella has been rock solid at point guard, and she plays 32 minutes a game. Emily Schulte, a sophomore guard, has become our leading scorer, and it's nice to see her take the initiative there.
"We also have two freshmen, Andrea Mlachnik and Hannah Kath, who have played well, and seniors Sammy Schneiker and Chelsey Wachowiak have provided good leadership."
Muskego visits Waukesha South at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17, then welcomes Brookfield Central at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21.
The Warriors now have eight of their final 10 games at home, which should also help their development.
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