Sometimes, in the world of sports, just as in life, true growth comes during tough times.
Sheboygan Falls head coach LeRoy Hamilton didn’t see his team win on Friday night, but he did see his players grow.
The visiting Falcons (1-5, 0-3 EWC) had the Raiders (5-0, 3-0 EWC), the eighth-ranked team in Division 3 in the coaches poll, on the ropes, but were not able to muster enough offense down the stretch to seal the win.
“For three and a half quarters, we played well,” Hamilton said. “We kind of laid an egg at the end. But my girls don’t give up. Their attitudes are great, but there is a learning curve.”
Sheboygan Falls jumped out to a three-point lead after the opening quarter, an advantage the Falcons maintained heading into halftime.
A pair of timely three pointers from Karlie Beeck, who tallied a team-high 15 points, helped Sheboygan Falls extend its lead to five heading into the final stanza.
But the Raiders came storming back, out-scoring the Falcons 18-4 in the final eight minutes to secure the win, Two Rivers’ first victory over Falls since Jan. 29, 2009.
Two Rivers shot 7-of-10 from the field in the fourth quarter. The Falcons were just 2-for-6.
“Their players stepped up when they needed to and we missed some shots,” Hamilton said. “It happens.”
Though Hamilton was the first to admit that his team was bested by a better club, that knowledge doesn’t take the sting away from losing the game.
“I look at this and does it hurt? Heck yes, it does hurt,” Hamilton said. “But we’re improving, and they are staying together.”
Hamilton stated that, after the game, his players took it upon themselves to break down what happened.
“I really didn’t have to say much,” Hamilton said. “I’ve had a lot of good teams but, this team, they talked their way through it. They are actually talking about the things they did wrong, the things they can improve on.”
The veteran head coach was taken back by some of the postgame conversations his players were partaking in.
“I couldn’t believe some of the conversations they were having in there and it was coming from some of the young girls. They push themselves,” Hamilton said. “I’m encouraged.
Do I like being 1-5? No way. But it’s something to build on.”
18 — 48
Falls — Van Engen 11, Preder 2, K. Beeck 15, DePagter 4, E. Beeck 2, Thackray 2. 3pt: K. Beeck 4, Van Engen. FT: 1-1. Fouls: 13.
Two Rivers — Wanek 8, A. Walesh 12, Broehm 3, K. Walesh 21, Garcia 5. 3pt: Wanek 2, A. Walesh, K. Walesh. FT: 6-10. Fouls: 8.