Greenfield - Whatever the future holds for the Greenfield boys basketball team, one thing is certain: the Hustlin' Hawks are much better off than they were last season at this time.
This season, they started with two losses by a combined total of seven points, including a 65-62 setback at West Bend East that was decided by a half-court shot at the buzzer.
They followed with two impressive victories last week, downing Greendale, 75-64, on Nov. 27 and tipping Whitnall, 56-54, on Friday night.
All of that stands in stark contrast to last season, when the Hawks began with a 13-game losing streak and were not even competitive in many of those games.
"We lost to Whitnall and Greendale last year," head coach Jack Miller said, "so it was nice to get (Woodland) Conference victories against our two biggest rivals."
Greenfield did have a setback on Saturday, losing a non-conference game to Waterford, 61-28, but the Hawks still came into this week at 2-1 in the Woodland East Division and 2-3 overall.
The Hawks got off to a good start against Whitnall on Friday, taking a 34-25 halftime lead. The Falcons came back, though, drawing within 48-46 after three quarters.
Whitnall was up 54-52 when Ricky Santiago hit a game-tying layup. Santiago then netted a pair of free throws with 20 seconds remaining for the eventual winning points.
The Hawks committed a foul on the Falcons' next possession but the free throw was missed and Greenfield rebounded to seal the victory.
Santiago led the way with 16 points, while Sonnie Wilbert put in 13 points, Travis Reszcynski 12 points and Josh Czerwinski nine. The Hawks hit eight 3-point field goals, with Czerwinski connecting on a trio.
Austin Hurst paced Whitnall with 18 points.
"We made our share of mistakes," Miller said, "but we did enough to win. I was proud of the way we faced adversity."
In the earlier game against Greendale, the Hawks again started well, holding a 30-26 lead at the half. They then built on that in the second half.
"The key this week was that we came out of the gates well in both games," Miller said.
Greenfield again featured balanced scoring, with Santiago tallying 22 points, Reszcynski 17, Kyle Schahczinski 13 and Wilbert 11. Jordan Perez, Greendale's high-powered scorer, finished with what Miller called a quiet 27 points.
The Hawks met New Berlin West on Tuesday and welcome new Woodland member Pius XI at 7:30 p.m. this Friday. They then visit Wauwatosa West at 7:30 p.m. next Tuesday.
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- Big rally in seventh inning gives Greenfield softball team victory over Greendale, regional title
- Greenfield softball team downs South Milwaukee, captures outright Woodland Conference title