Greendale - A solid defense helped give the Greendale girls basketball team two Woodland Conference victories and kept the Panthers in a game against talented Waukesha North last week.
Greendale downed St. Francis, 59-41, on Friday night and Greenfield, 43-30, on Nov. 27, then fell to North, 47-36, on Saturday evening.
On Friday night, Greendale had to overcome a tenacious St. Francis defense.
"St. Francis played a swarming defense," head coach Julie Hahm said. "(The Mariners) had two or sometimes three girls trapping the ball and always had great ball pressure. This rattled us in the first half (in which Greendale outscored St. Francis 23-15), but the girls were poised and found ways to handle the pressure."
The Panthers rolled up 26 points in the fourth quarter to put away the game.
Taylor DeLong tallied a game-high 23 points, while Emily Perszyk added 19 points, four rebounds and five steals, earning praise from Hahm for her defensive effort. Anna Klar pulled down four rebounds as well.
Greendale hit 51 percent from the floor and 72 percent (13 of 17) at the free throw line.
In the Nov. 27 game, the Panthers shut down Greenfield effectively.
"We played excellent defense," Hahm said. "The girls were communicating, they were moving their feet, and our players made life difficult for the Greenfield offense. We kept them off the boards, too."
Once again, the Panthers finished strongly, with a 20-point fourth period to put the game out of reach.
DeLong totaled 18 points, seven rebounds and two steals, while Maggie Bowen and Sarah Belanger each had six points. Klar added eight boards and two assists, Belanger two assists and Perszyk and Sarah Kahl each two steals.
Greendale then took on Waukesha North, a team that is highly-regarded this year in the tough Classic 8 Conference.
"I think the only people who thought we had a chance were the 11 kids with "Greendale" on their shirts," Hahm said. "(The North Stars) are the best and tallest team we have seen, but we knew if we executed our game plan, we would give ourselves a chance to win.
"The girls played tall and made North work for every point."
The second period hurt, as Greendale was outscored 15-5 to fall behind 26-15.
"By the time we figured out how to score against their zone, we ran out of time," Hahm said. "I am so proud of the team for the way that we prepared for the game, played tough team defense and never stopped working."
DeLong hit 6-of-8 shots from the floor for 12 points and added eight rebounds. Perszyk had nine points and Belanger three steals.
Greendale (2-0 in the Woodland and 2-1 overall going into this week) welcomes Cudahy at 7:30 p.m. Friday and visits Shorewood at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11.