East Troy High School junior Gracie Moker, seen here in a game last season, suffered a season-ending injury in the Nov. 26 loss to Big Foot. Moker tore her ACL three minutes into the game. (Eric Kramer photo)

By Dan Truttschel

Correspondent

Even before the season began, the East Troy High School girls basketball team was going to be fighting a numbers game.

That fight became a whole lot tougher last week.

Down to six girls because of one ineligible player and one season-ending knee injury to another, the Trojans ran out of gas in the second half in a 51-38 Rock Valley Conference loss at Big Foot on Nov. 26.

East Troy (0-3) trailed by just three points at halftime, but the Chiefs outscored the Trojans by 10 in the final 18 minutes to cruise to the win.

Three minutes into the game, junior Gracie Moker suffered a torn ACL that ended her season. Coupled with the loss of another starter to the athletic code violation, and the Trojans definitely were climbing uphill, East Troy co-head coach Mauyra Lomen said.

“We have no seniors in our program, so we are lacking leadership, speed and size,” she said. “… Without leadership, it’s hard, it really is. We’re struggling to get that. That really only comes with age and time.

“It’s not that these kids don’t work hard. They all work very, very hard. We have a couple kids who have barely ever played basketball and they’re in our program. We’re running a varsity-level practice with kids who are learning the basic fundamentals. It’s a difficult thing.”

The injury to Moker is tough to take because of all the work she put in for the season, Lomen said.

“This is a kid who works so hard,” Lomen said. “She did all the physical agility, the speed and strength training, everything preventative you can imagine and this happens.”

Grace Lomen led the Trojans with 18 points, followed by Emily Aleckson with seven and Morgan Golabowski with six.

Maurya Lomen said that her daughter found herself with multiple defenders trying to stop her, which is going to become a normal thing moving forward.

“They’re face-guarding her, everywhere she goes, she has two people on her,” Lomen said. “She’s working really hard to get open, but she’s had to adjust her game.”

The challenge doesn’t get any easier this week, as East Troy hosts defending RVC champion Evansville on Thursday and travels to another conference contender, Whitewater, on Tuesday night.

All the Trojans can do from here is to keep working, learning and improving, Lomen said.

“I was taught a long time ago that you never play to lose, you always play to win,” she said. “That’s what we’re focusing on. We’re focusing on getting better. We keep encouraging them.

“I still believe these kids, as they get more developed and more confidence, that they’re going to have to success. Our goal is not in wins and losses. It’s to empower young women to be their best. Every single one of them is being their best, and that’s all we can ask for.”

 

 
 

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