Simply put, veteran Homestead girls basketball coach Corey Wolf could hear the squeak of sneakers in her sleep by the end of last weekend.
She coached the Highlanders to key victories over Milwaukee School of Languages on Feb. 11 (49-47), Nicolet on Feb. 10 (64-16) and Port Washington on Feb. 7 (64-48). This didn't include the important 64-57 win over Cedarburg on Feb. 6 and didn't even cover the several games she coached for her fourth-grade daughter over this past weekend, too.
All she knew was that she was mighty impressed with her Highlanders.
"I don't know how they handled four games in a week," she said, "but this was very good for us. This exposed some of our weaknesses and helped us out in our seeding meeting."
In the brutally difficult WIAA D1 Whitefish Bay sectional, the 14-6 Highlanders earned the seventh seed and will host 10th-seeded Fond du Lac in a WIAA regional semifinal on Friday, Feb. 24. If they win, they will likely visit second-seeded De Pere in a Feb. 25 regional final.
Homestead's North Shore rival Germantown (19-2) is the top seed in the sectional. The Warhawks earned that top berth with a smashing North Shore-title clinching victory over Cedarburg on Feb. 10.
The Highlanders will close out their regular season this week with a pair of home games, including Friday, Feb. 17, against Whitefish Bay and Saturday, Feb. 18, against nonconference opponent Kettle Moraine.
"We're getting other kids to play with confidence," Wolf said. "They're saying, 'If my teammates believe in me, then I should believe in myself, too.'"
A win over Bay would secure no less than a share of second place in the North Shore standings.
Homestead hung on for the win against stingy School of Languages by playing tactically at the end, holding the ball for long stretches against the MSL zone before Grace Crowley hit a couple of key free throws down the stretch.
The Highlanders had little trouble against winless Nicolet, going ahead, 25-12, at the half. A total of 11 players scored for Homestead, led by Chloe Marotta with 15 points, while Grace Mueller had 12 and Emily Polk 10. Homestead held the Knights to just 4 points in the second half.
Against Port, the Highlanders took a 35-23 lead at the break and then held the Pirates at arm's-length the rest of the way.
Marotta continued her string of strong efforts with 27 points, including 9-for-9 from the foul line. She also had five rebounds, three assists and two steals, and Sam Crivello had 9 points, six rebounds and four steals. Crowley was also a stat stuffer this game with 6 points, nine assists and four steals.
"All week long we had to bring it," Wolf said. "We had some tough games on our schedule, and we wanted to get these games in."
She added that Amanda Hooks has been playing better and better each game.