Last year was last year, this year is this year.
And the experienced, talented Oak Creek girls basketball team is going to settle for nothing less but glory this season as the top-ranked in state Knights came out of the talent-laden Brookfield Central Thanksgiving Shootout with two impressive wins this weekend.
"Taking into consideration what happened at the end of last year (the devastating sectional loss to rival Franklin), things are going fairly well," said 6-2 senior forward Stephanie Kostowicz after Saturday night's 53-34 victory over Rufus King. "...Everything was so close last year. It's our senior year and I think we all want that final hoo-ra."
Loosely translated, Kostowicz means a state championship.
Coach Steve Hluchnik is not going to get even close to thinking about something that grand yet, but he was largely pleased with the victories over state-ranked opponents like Middleton (Friday) and King these past two nights.
Traditional state-power King came at the Knights with full-court intense pressure most of the game Saturday and for the most part, Oak Creek, with new point guard Jenna Santi at the helm, held up well.
"That was a pretty good game we played and I give a lot of credit to King, these are the kinds of teams that usually give us trouble," said Hluchnik. "...We were out to test our guards tonight and it was pretty good, we weren't too rattled."
No, because, the tall (three starters 6-0 or better), athletic Knights can hold up to presure by simply passing over it with the likes of 6-0 senior Katie Finn, the 6-2 Kostowicz and her 6-2 running mate, Bradley recruit Tamya Sims handling the ball.
The Generals had no answer for Sims this night, as she led all scorers with 21 points.
With her strong array of post moves, her ability to break the press, and her devastating quickness, the Generals simply had no answer for Sims this night. Members of the Bradley coaching staff were in attendance at the game.
She had five points in the first quarter, as the Knights took the lead for good with an 8-0 run and led 15-6 at the end of the period.
Sims added eight more in the second period, as the Knights closed the half with a 10-0 run holding the much smaller King team scoreless for the final 5:02 of the session.
It was 28-8 at the break. The advantage reached 25 at one point (43-18) in the second half and never dropped below 19.
"It went pretty well," said Sims in a manner of understatement. "We have high expectations as a team and we know we can be pretty good if we communicate well and run our plays."
Sims got help from Finnn with 11 points, Kostowicz with seven and Hannah Settingsgaard with six.
"I thought we played pretty well throughout most of the second and third quarters," said Hluchnik. "...That's a scrappy team we played out there. We wanted to see in-your-face full-court pressure and we responded pretty well to it."