Greenfield - Even after all the problems and travails of this season, the Whitnall girls basketball team still has a shot at the Woodland Conference East Division crown.
The Falcons came up big in their biggest game of the campaign so far, beating South Milwaukee, 47-44, on Friday night.
The victory lifted them to 7-6 in the Woodland East and one game behind the Rockets (8-5) with five games still to play. They also avenged a 54-37 loss to South Milwaukee on Jan. 4.
"This was a good game," Whitnall head coach Keith Larson said. "It was going to be tough for whichever team lost. It was a nice environment and a big crowd. We played well and won."
Rachael Shulta led the way with a game-high 19 points, along with six rebounds, three assists and two steals. She also hit four free throws in the final 17 seconds to secure the victory.
Ashley Markowiak made her return from a heel injury to score 16 points and tally four rebounds and three steals despite playing limited minutes in the first half.
Both players came through in the clutch for the Falcons to help them snatch the decision in a back-and-forth game.
In the fourth quarter, Shulta netted 7-of-7 from the free throw line and Markowiak 4-for-4. As a team, the Falcons hit 11-of-13 from the line in the fourth to make up for having just two field goals in the period.
Larson added that his team's pressure defense also helped down the stretch.
After losing four straight games, Whitnall came into this week with a two-game winning streak, and with some key players returning from injuries. In addition to Markowiak, post player Krista Stribling is also back, Larson said.
Whitnall visits Shorewood at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8 after posting a 41-37 overtime victory over the Greyhounds earlier this season. The Falcons then travel to Brown Deer Feb. 13 for a makeup game.