For some reason, the Pewaukee girls basketball team just can't figure out a way to defeat Woodland Conference West Division rival Milwaukee Pius. The Pirates have been trying for five years and keep coming up empty.

Playing at Pius in their first game back after the Christmas break Jan. 6, the Pirates turned in a solid effort but fell to the Lady Popes, 56-45. Other than an early lead in the game's opening minutes, the home team led most of the game.

The game was close late in the first half as Pewaukee trailed by a 22-20 score. But Pius outscored Pewaukee in the final minutes of the half by a 12-5 margin to lead 34-25 at the intermission.

In the second half, Pius remained on top, leading by 8 to 12 points most of the half.

"The bottom line is that we just had too many breakdowns in the game," said Pewaukee coach Todd Hansen. "Plus, we had too many mental mistakes. They made eight 3-pointers against us and we just left too many of their shooters open. Plus, we had to fight an uphill battle most of the game. It's hard to beat a good time like that playing from behind."

Since Pius joined the Woodland Conference in the 2012-13 season, the Lady Popes are a perfect 9-0 against Pewaukee.

The loss dropped PHS to 9-3 overall and 4-3 in conference play. New Berlin Eisenhower and New Berlin West lead the West Division with 7-0 records. They are followed by Pius at 4-2, Pewaukee 4-3, Wauwatosa West 2-4 and Greendale 1-6. Shorewood leads the East Division at 4-2, and Whitnall is second at 3-3.

MacKenzie Schill continued to play well for the Pirates. The senior forward scored 18 points and added five steals. Schill nailed a trio of 3-pointers in the first half.

Jinda Guidinger added 8 points and eight rebounds for Pewaukee and Hansen said Zoe Bierce played well off the bench. Lauren Benkowski had 6 points in the game, nailing a pair of 3-pointers in the opening half.

Pewaukee will host state-ranked Germantown at 7:15 p.m. Jan. 10. PHS will entertain Tosa West on Jan. 13.