Walled Lake Western junior Jenna Galecki looks for an open teammate in a game against West Bloomfield High Dec. 11. At press time, the Warriors were 15-1 overall and 8-0 in LVC play.

Walled Lake Western junior Jenna Galecki looks for an open teammate in a game against West Bloomfield High Dec. 11. At press time, the Warriors were 15-1 overall and 8-0 in LVC play.

Photo by Donna Agusti


Walled Lake Western girls hoops playing with chip on shoulder

By: Zachary Manning | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published February 8, 2019

 Walled Lake Western senior Sarah Rachiele attacks the basket in a game against West Bloomfield High Dec. 11. Rachiele is one of four captains for the Warriors.

Walled Lake Western senior Sarah Rachiele attacks the basket in a game against West Bloomfield High Dec. 11. Rachiele is one of four captains for the Warriors.

Photo by Donna Agusti

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WALLED LAKE — Every time the Walled Lake Western girls basketball team takes the court, one thing is certain — the Warriors are going to apply relentless pressure for 32 minutes.

They like getting up and down the floor, while forcing turnovers that lead to easy baskets. That up-tempo style of play has led to a lot of success over the last couple of years.

At press time, Western was 15-1 overall and 8-0 in the Lakes Valley Conference, with 13 of those wins by double-digits. The Warriors have now won back-to-back LVC titles, and since the start of last season, they have lost just three games overall.

“We’re coming after you for 32 minutes. There’s not going to be a time in the game that we’re not going to come after you,” Western coach Steve Emert said. “That’s the only style that we want to play. With our size, it doesn’t do us much good to play in a half-court game.”

With such a fast-paced style of play, Emert is using a rotation of about 10 players. However, his four captains have played a huge role in the success of the team thus far.

Western’s four captains are seniors Kailee Ford and Sarah Rachiele, and juniors Jenna Galecki and Olivia Warren. All four are top five on the team in points, rebounds, assists and steals per game.

Their play has elevated everyone else’s game, which has taken the team to another level. Outside of the four captains, Western is getting solid production from juniors Lia Krawiec, Maddie Ludwig and Riley Dillon, and sophomore Zoe Deroche.

Another aspect of the game that has helped the Warriors so far is the familiarity the players have with each other after growing up playing together.

“We’re a really special group. We’ve all been playing together since we’ve been really young, and we didn’t expect us to all come together, but our anticipation, our teamwork and chemistry is what make us so good,” Warren said.

Down the stretch of the season, the Warriors have one goal in mind, which is to make it further in the state tournament than they did last season.

Last year, Western suffered a four-point loss to Hartland High in a Class A regional final matchup. This year, Emert believes the sky’s the limit for his group, and he said the team can go as far as it wants as long as it continues to push opponents to the limit and keeps working to improve.

Rachiele added that the team is using last season as a motivating factor. The Warriors are playing with a chip on their shoulder and are confident they can go beyond the regional final.

“We definitely felt like we should’ve won that game. We don’t even talk about it. We don’t bring it up,” Rachiele said. “If we get back there, it’s going to help that we’ve been there before, for sure. We just know that if we play our game, that we should be OK.”

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