Menomonee Falls edges Wauwatosa East boys basketball in GMC opener
East to host state-ranked Lancers on Friday
The Wauwatosa East boys basketball team is facing a tough assignment this week going into the Christmas break.
The Red Raiders, having lost three straight games coming into this week, faced Sussex Hamilton (3-3) on the road Tuesday and now hosts second ranked Brookfield Central (5-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Unfortunately, Tosa East had one poor quarter Friday and dropped a 50-42 decision to Menomonee Falls at home to open the Greater Metro Conference season.
The Indians led 8-7 after the first quarter and 18-15 at intermission. But Tosa East struggled in the third period (14-6) and suddenly it was 32-21 going into the final quarter.
"It was another frustrating loss," coach Tim Arndorfer said. "The game was pretty much even up until halftime. It may have been lost in the opening minutes of the third quarter. They opened the lead to eight or 10 in the first few possessions and that's pretty much where it ended up."
No quit in team
Tosa East turned up the offense in the final period (21-18) and didn't quit.
"I give credit to our guys for making a run at them," Arndorfer said. "We didn't throw in the towel after getting down by double digits. We did cut the lead to five with a few minutes to play. But Falls did enough to hold on down the stretch."
The Red Raiders scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to match their total from the first three periods, but it was not enough to overcome Falls in a game they could have won.
Jerry Murphy led the way with 21 points against the Red Raiders, but no one else scored more than seven points (Bryce McMurty).
East put the Indians on the free throw line 26 times, but they only converted 14 times (.538) or it might have been closer.
Meanwhile senior wing Sean Wheeler, averaging a team-leading 13.3 points, drilled in 16 points to top the Red Raiders. His evening's work included two 3-pointers and 6-of-9 from the free throw line.
He was 2-for-6 on field goals and 2-for-3 from 3-point range, for a combined 4-for-9 (.444).
He also had four of his team's eight assists, and four rebounds, trailing only Caleb Taylor's team-high five rebounds. Wheeler and sophomore Bryce Beekman had had two steals each to lead the team.
Not much other offense
Eight other players scored, but junior Jack Mihelich's six points was the best total Tosa East could manage.
The Red Raiders shot 29 percent (12-of-41) from the field and they were 5-of-16 from 3-point range. That is still a respectable 46 percent overall.
They were 13-for-19 from the free throw line (.684) and a better showing there could have turned the game around.
They finished with 25 rebounds, nine on the offensive side, but they had 16 turnovers against only two steals.
"The bottom line is we have to be much better on the offensive end of the floor," Arndorfer said. "We aren't shooting well and we are not finishing well around the basket.
"Any team that shoots below 30 percent for the game is going to struggle. Unfortunately for us, that's become pretty common. We've got to continue to find ways to get easier baskets. We won't win many games if that trend continues."
The Red Raiders take part in the Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook Tournament at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 26 against Whitefish Bay and 1:30 p.m. Dec. 28 against Destiny.
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