New Berlin - It's easy to see the frustration that New Berlin West boys basketball coach Jeff Lewiston and his staff is dealing with.
Last week the Vikings went winless in the New Berlin Classic, losing to a previously-winless Menomonee Falls team in overtime on Dec. 27 and then getting blown out by a Muskego team, 61-47, not reaching double figures in a quarter until the final period.
In the loss to Falls in the first game, the Vikings blew a nice comeback.
Falls was leading 41-36, when little-used Chamika Wijenayake and Tyler Thompson scored off fast breaks for New Berlin West to cut it to 41-40.
Jordan Richardson hit two free throws for Falls to make it 43-40 with 30.1 seconds left, but Wijenayake scored off a rebound, was fouled and made the free throw to tie it at 43-43 with 12.8 seconds to play.
New Berlin West's Kevin Marx got fouled with 0.6 seconds left and then clanked both free throws to send the game into overtime.
With Falls trailing, 48-47, Juwan McCloud hit 1-of-2 free throws with 58.1 left to play to tie it.
Then New Berlin West grabbed a defensive rebound, but just dropped it out of bounds. No one covered Falls' Brandon Ramey standing wide open to the right of the basket and he got the in bounds pass and hit the layup for a 50-48 lead.
West's Darin Sowinski then drove the lane, scored to tie the game and was fouled, but missed the free throw with 36.2 to play.
Falls worked the clock down and worked a pick and roll to forward Devon Nauer for the winning score with 1.3 left to play for the win.
"We cannot win basketball games making the mistakes we continue to make," Lewiston said. "We're very passive. If you let people do it to you, they will do it. We had a nice run and were in control at the end, but instead of snatching victory, we snatched defeat."
Sowinski led the way with 15 points and Thompson had 10. McCloud had 16 and Nauer 13 for Falls.
West struggled at the free throw line, hitting 19-for-37, and Lewiston is frustrated with that type of performance.
"We shoot 30 percent, we miss all these layups," he said. "We shoot the ball daily; more than any team I have ever coached. We have shooting drills, we shot free throws, we have competitions, and we cannot throw it in the ocean."
The Vikings scored four, five and eight points in the first three quarters to trail 30-17 and then both teams exploded in the fourth quarter with the Warriors winning a 31-30 battle.
Once again the Vikings were terrible from the free throw line, hitting 12-for-27, giving them 31-64 in the two games (48 percent).
Austin Fritz had 16 points and Thompson 11, while Turner Kehoe (16) and Josh Breider (12) led Muskego.
The Vikings have lost four of five games to fall to 3-9, 3-6 in Woodland Conference play, last place in the West Division. The road doesn't get any easier Friday, as they host Pewaukee (9-3), which shares first place with Eisenhower, each with 6-2 records.
Lewiston knows his team will continue to struggle until someone takes on a leadership role.
"I do have some kids back who played on a pretty good team last year," he said. "Until someone steps forward, it's like a snowball going downhill."
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