Menomonee Falls — Assistant girls basketball coach Brian Kirt is good at coming up with motivational phrases which he laminates and puts up just outside the locker room wherever the Indians are playing.
They slap them for good luck on the way out to the floor, and whomever the coaches deem put in the best effort that night gets to keep it afterward.
"Sometimes it's the whole team," said Indian head coach Craig Amundson.
And sometimes, like it was Friday with their 47-23 win over Wauwatosa East, it goes to someone new, someone who represents the future, like freshman forward Erin Otzelberger, who hustled well while scoring 10 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
"It really is a fun motivational tool," said Amundson, whose team also routed Bay View earlier in the week to even their overall record at 6-6. Otzelberger is a veteran of the powerhouse Grace Lutheran eighth-grade team of a year ago that earned high national honors.
She and the rest of the Indians are a motivated bunch right now as they have won three out of their last four and have also improved to 3-2 in Greater Metro Conference play.
That includes the victory over Tosa East (0-5, 2-8) on Friday. The Indians outscored the Raiders in every quarter, including a 14-5 effort in the second period that gave them a comfortable 24-13 advantage heading into the half.
"We talked about it afterward and we think that this was our most complete team game of the season," said Amundson. "The kids did a lot of unselfish things tonight like making better passes, better ball fakes. It was just good to see."
It also represented progress. In earning the two wins last week, Falls now has exceeded its victory total from last year (5-17) and tied the win mark from two seasons ago (6-15).
In the battle against East, sophomore center Erin Crownover had 13 points while junior guard Rachel Defnet came up with 11.
In the 63-15 rout of Bay View on Jan. 11, the Indians went into cruise control early, leading 18-2 at the quarter and 25-2 at the half. A total of 11 Indian players scored, led by junior guard Coco McKelvin with 11 while Defnet contributed seven.
"I was surprised at how easily it went because we've had some wars with Bay View in the past," said Amundson. "It was good to get an easy one."
Things will be decidedly tougher for the confident Indians this Friday, when they host league-leading Brookfield Central (5-0, 8-3) at 7:30 p.m. on Youth Basketball Night.
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