There's a really big number attached to the Oak Creek girls basketball team's fifth straight Southeast Conference title, which they clinched with a 71-36 rout of Racine Case on Feb. 10.
The Knights are sitting on 69 league wins a row. If they beat Kenosha Indian Trail on Thursday, Feb. 16, in the regular-season finale, they will have completed five straight unbeaten seasons in a row in the Southeast, which would put them at 70 consecutive league victories.
Even veteran coach Steve Hluchnik has a hard time wrapping his head around that number.
"Yup, that's what we're shooting for," he said. "It would be a great accomplishment."
Hluchnik has been even more impressed at how this smaller, quicker version of Oak Creek girls hoops has gotten to 69 and yet another league title.
"You can't say that we're young anymore," he said. "Sometimes in as long as a season as this can be, the kids can lose focus, but they haven't. We found out that we didn't have to make as many changes as we thought. We're playing 10 kids a game, we're more athletic, but we are running a 'five out' offense (no active post), and we've been able to go to that a lot. The kids have definitely taken to the concept."
They entered the week at 13-0 in league play after also taking down Racine Horlick, 57-41, on Feb. 7. They are 17-4 overall.
They earned the second seed in the WIAA D1 West Allis Central sectional bracket behind second-ranked and unbeaten Milwaukee King. They will play the winner of Milwaukee Pulaski and Bradley tech in a regional semifinal on Friday, Feb. 24.
"We're all right at this point," Hluchnik said.
It would appear to be. In the rout of Case, the Knights shot out to a 34-11 lead at the half and then coasted home.
No one scored in double figures, as 11 players found the basket, led by Haley Zylka, Jessica McIntosh and Katie Gard with 9 points each. Katie West grabbed nine rebounds, and Zylka and Maddie Gard had seven assists each.
"Last night may have been the best defensive effort of the season," Hluchnik said. "They (Case) put up 60 on us the first time around, but that was the best defensive effort we've seen in a long time. The ball was also moving really well (offensively)."
Against Horlick, a 31-19 effort in the second half allowed the Knights to pull away with the win. McIntosh led the way with 19 points, and Kassandra Bartek and Katie Gard had 8 each. Bartek had six rebounds, and Zylka had five assists and three steals.