Pewaukee's girls basketball team turned into a giant killer Jan. 10.
Despite losing three of its last five games, the Pirates brushed aside that mini-slump and scored one of the most stunning victories in school history.
Hosting No. 6-ranked Germantown (state Division 1 poll) in a nonconference game, the Pirates topped the Warhawks (12-2) by a 73-70 score. It marked the first time in Pewaukee High School history that the squad knocked off a Division 1 team ranked in the top six.
Germantown was coming off a 75-55 whipping of No. 4-ranked Arrowhead four days earlier. Arrowhead came into that battle ranked No. 1.
"I couldn't be more proud of every girl on our team," said veteran Pewaukee coach Todd Hansen after the game. "Germantown had us down 10 points in the second half, and our kids never quit playing. Plus, at the end, when the game was on the line, we made a lot of big plays. Germantown is really good. Hopefully, this will give us confidence the rest of the season. This was a big one."
Germantown led most of the first 30 minutes. The Warhawks led, 46-36, with 11 minutes to play.
At that point, Hansen decided to make a rare move, going to a zone defense. That decision turned the game completely around.
Pewaukee went on an initial 11-0 run to take the lead. That surge stretched to 19-3 that gave the Pirates a 55-49 edge with 5 minutes to play.
Germantown tied the game with a 3-pointer at 63-63, but the Pirates closed out the game on a 10-7 run to grab the victory. PHS senior MacKenzie Schill, who had a brilliant game, put her team on top with a basket.
Schill fired in a game high 25 points, getting 18 of those in the decisive second half. She also added 10 rebounds, eight steals and four assists.
"MacKenzie was a stud for us," Hansen added. "She's had a lot of big games but she was outstanding. There wasn't much she didn't do. And she played all 36 minutes"
Germantown missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, which preserved the Pewaukee win.
The Pirates won the game despite getting outscored from the 3-point arc by a lopsided 39-9 margin.
"I think when we switched to the zone, and it turned the game around," Hansen said. "And considering how they were shooting 3-pointers, that might sound crazy. But they like to run, and it slowed them down. It got them out of what they like to do. And we did a good job on defense when we went to the zone. Our kids really played well down the stretch."
Schill had a lot of help. Her freshman sister, Lauren, had 13 points, 10 of which came in the second half. Jinda Guidinger added 13 points, and freshman Vivianne Jende had 11 points and seven rebounds.
"We had a lot of kids play well," Hansen said. "MacKenzie had a great game and Lauren Schill, Guidinger and Jende had big games. Zoe Bierce, Lauren Benkowski and Riley Solomon also made big plays. This was our best game of the season. Hopefully, we can build on this the rest of the season."