When it comes to rating high school athletic teams, first impressions mean nothing to me. I need a solid body of work before I pass judgment.
But this time, I'm going out of the box. I'm pretty sure that I see something special with the Arrowhead girls basketball team.
Even though the season is just two games old, the Warhawks have impressed not only myself, but everyone who has seen them play. They opened the season by destroying Oak Creek at home, 62-39. The Knights were a state semifinalist last year and came into the AHS game as the No. 5-ranked team in the state.
Arrowhead followed that win up by whipping talented Bay Port, 72-50, on Nov. 26 at the Thanksgiving Shootout at Brookfield Central. Suddenly, the No. 1-ranked Warhawks are 2-0 and off to a flying start.
How good can this team be? The sky seems to be the limit. However, before all the AHS fans get too worked up, they have to remember that there's a lot of basketball to be played. As every girls basketball fan knows, winning a championship in the rugged Classic 8 Conference doesn't come easy.
So far, the Arrowhead girls have done everything right under fifth-year coach Rick Witte. They've played tough defense and have scored more points in their first two games than they have in almost 25 years. Their perimeter shooting, a huge Achilles heel the last few years, is as good as it's been in a long time.
There are so many positives right now with the Warhawks that it's hard to imagine this team not winning the conference title. However, defending conference co-champions Kettle Moraine and Mukwonago won't go down without a fight.
While AHS has enjoyed a ton of success under Witte, piling up a winning mark of 74 percent with a record over 80-28, this team could outdo those numbers. In the last four years, the Warhawks have been to the state tournament twice and lost in the sectional final the other two seasons. That's the second best run in school history, only bettered by the five consecutive WIAA state tournament appearances that the school made under Hall of Fame coach Pete von Allmen from 1987-91. Two of those years, 1988 and 1991, Arrowhead captured state championships.
Here are a couple of things that could make this team special. First and foremost, the Warhawks arguably have the best team depth in school history. Legitimately, Witte can go 11 deep and barely see a drop off in talent. I'm positive that no team in the state can match that.
While two games does not a season make, the Warhawks look like they finally can make shots from the perimeter. Ten players are capable of consistently scoring from the outside, including from beyond the 3-point arc. That's been a huge trouble spot for the last two AHS teams, evidenced best at last year's sectional final when Arrowhead couldn't buy a basket from the outside and fell to Mukwonago.
With all of that depth, playing tough, hard-nosed defense for entire games shouldn't be a problem. Opponents are going to have a difficult time dealing with all of that balance.
The 2016-17 season just might be something special for the Arrowhead girls. It should be a fun winter. I don't know if they can match the school record season the 1988 team had when it went 26-0, but this team could come close. That 1988 team just might be the best team Wisconsin has ever seen.
I do know this. It's going to take a very good team to beat Arrowhead.