Veteran Indians girls open challenging slate with win
December schedule sets tone for Falls
Menomonee Falls - The expectations are high, the early schedule is intense and the talent pool deep for the Menomonee Falls girls basketball team this season as the Indians got out of the gate with a 49-32 opening game victory at home Nov. 20 against Catholic Memorial.
"Yesterday we had our goals meeting and these kids want to go to the (WIAA) state tournament and win the (Greater Metro) conference championship," veteran Indians coach Craig Amundson said. "It's hard to do that stuff, but they believe they can do it."
Falls also lost 44-43 to Appleton North in the Brookfield Central Holiday Tournament on Saturday despite 17 points from Erin Crownover.
The Indians have good reason to be optimistic as they will build around senior four-year letter-winners 6-1 Crownover, 5-10 point guard Amber Bullock, and 5-10 swing player Mikayla Robertson. Crownover (Ashland University in Ohio) and Bullock (UW-Parkside) recently announced their collegiate basketball intentions.
Add into that mix three-year letter-winners 5-11 junior forward Erin Otzelberger and 6-1 senior forward Monica Carlson and the Indians, who are coming off an 18-5 season in 2011-12, are ready to challenge DSHA, Brookfield Central and defending champion Sussex Hamilton for the GMC title.
Robertson was a first-team All-GMC selection last winter while Crownover was a second-team choice as the Indians tied for second in the final standings.
Other experienced hands for the Indians include 5-8 senior guard Haley Precia and 5-4 junior guard Anna Smalley.
Others on the roster include a trio of 5-7 junior guards including Jen Eberhardy, Madison Micech and Claire Mohrfeld; as well as 5-9 junior forward Erin Lockwood and 5-10 sophomore forward Laura Marx.
Amundson and his veteran assistant Brian Kirt said that this group is interesting.
"There's just something about them," Kirt said. "They listen to us, they work hard for us. Maybe it's because we haven't had five seniors like this in the lineup for a long time."
"I just can't get over how relaxed this group is," Amundson added.
And the Indians appeared relaxed on Nov. 20, as when the Crusaders opened up in a man defense, Falls shredded it, scoring the first 10 points of the game and 16 of the first 18 with a crisp-passing, fast-moving attack.
Almost every basket in the first session had an assist, as the lead went to 18-5. A total of five different people scored as Falls made five of its first seven shots.
Memorial finally got smart and went into a zone in the second quarter. The Crusaders closed the gap to 20-11 with 4:56 left in the second, but then Falls scored 11 unanswered points. Crownover highlighted the effort with a three-point play that was kick-started by a blocked shot and subsequent outlet pass by Robertson.
It was 31-15 at the half and the advantage never dropped below nine in the second session.
Robertson led the way for the Indians with 13 points while Crownover had eight and Bullock and Smalley contributed seven each.
"It was a win, and I think we accomplished most of our game goals," Amundson said. "Memorial is a good program and I know they're pretty young this year, but our transition game was very good tonight, especially in that first quarter.
"We hadn't done that well against anyone in awhile."
Amundson said Falls will have to have a lot more of those outbursts as the schedule gets more challenging quickly. After taking on Wisconsin Lutheran on Tuesday, the Indians are off until Dec. 7, when they open up Greater Metro Conference play at powerful Brookfield Central.
Tough schedule in December
The schedule is distinctly front-loaded for Falls, as after a Dec. 11 contest at Wauwatosa East, they host DSHA on Dec. 14, then travel to border rival and expected North Shore Conference contender Germantown for a Dec. 15 nonconference tilt.
Following that is a date at Sussex Hamilton on Dec. 18 and then a nonconference game on Dec. 20 at City Conference favorite Milwaukee Riverside.
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