Wins have been scarce this winter for the Greenfield boys basketball team, making the Hustlin' Hawks victory over the Cudahy Packers on Tuesday that much sweeter.
Host Greenfield had four players score in double digits in a 65-63 win in a WIAA Division 2 regional quarterfinal game.
"Our team has played our opponents tough all season," said Greenfield coach Ed Mermolia, whose team improved to 5-18. " We have had a long season with a ton adversity. ... The ending scores do not show our improvement and effort this season. We are not making any excuses, but I will say do not let the win-loss record be the indicator of our growth."
Next up for the Hawks is a regional semifinal at top-seeded Wisconsin Lutheran (20-2) at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
"Friday is going to be the biggest test of the year," Mermolia said. "Playing the No. 1-ranked team in Division 2 is no easy task. Wisconsin Lutheran is an excellent team with many weapons. ... We need to try and slow the game down and keep it close."
Against Cudahy (4-19), the Hawks took the lead midway through the fourth quarter after trailing much of the contest.
Nate Rios made three straight baskets, including a 3-pointer, to pull the Hawks within one at 47-46 at the end of third. He scored eight of his 11 points in the third quarter.
In the fourth, Ricky Santiago and Reggie Blakely scored all of the Hawks' 19 points. Santiago scored 12 of his game-high 25 in the period and Blakely scored seven of his 11.
Evan Greco chipped in 10 points for the Hawks.
"We worked hard all week on putting together our game plan," Mermolia said. "I am so proud of our team. We had different players do different things and step up throughout the game that helped us get the win."
Mermolia said that former coach Jim Nowak, who resigned in December because of personal reasons, addressed the team before the game. It was his first appearance since his sudden resignation.
"The players, myself and the rest of coaching staff where very happy he was in the locker room with us again," Mermolia said. "It was great to have the family back together again."