It’s all on the line for Port boys

Pirates avoid NCS cellar in a 68-58 free throw fest over West Bend West

PORT WASHINGTON GOT a huge shot from Patrick Lippe (upper left photo) while he was being fouled late in the game against West Bend West last Friday at home. Evan Lilly (upper right) led Port with 29 points and went 14-for-15 on free throws in the 68-58 victory. Photos by Mitch Maersch
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

A rebuilding season hasn’t yielded a stellar record for the Port Washington High School boys’ basketball team, but the Pirates managed to avoid landing at the bottom of the North Shore Conference last Friday.

That distinction belongs to West Bend West, which Port beat, 68-58. The Pirates doubled their NSC win total and are 2-11, while the Spartans are 1-12.

The Pirates only scored three field goals in the final five minutes of the game, but six Pirates combined to go 17-for-22 on free throws in the final three minutes to seal the victory.

The run included a 4-for-4 effort from senior sharpshooter Evan Lilly. He went 14-for-15 at the line for the game and scored a game-high 29 points.

“We do that all the time in practice so guys have a lot of confidence doing that,” he said of the free thro  ws.

The Pirates went 34-for-45 at the line, scoring half their points from 15 feet away.

This game finally started differently for the Pirates, who had struggled out of the gates lately. Port took a 9-0 lead in the first two and a half minutes, igniting the student section.

Lilly scored seven of those points on a three-pointer, two-pointer and two free throws.

The Pirates were driving inside and finding the open player.

“I came out hot. My teammates knew where to get the ball,” Lilly said.

“When it all boils down to it, we just played for each other.”

The Spartans, however, bounced back to tie the game at 9 and again later at 15. An 11-5 Port run made it 26-20 at the break.

The Spartans battled to tie the game at 34 with just less than 10 minutes to play.

Tamai McKoy-Jackson hit a shot inside to give Port a 36-34 lead and Lilly later made a shot while being fouled to make it 38-34, after which he missed his only free throw on the night.

But the Pirates never gave up the lead. Payton Lambrecht later drove the lane and made a shot inside to make it 46-40, and, after a McKoy-Jackson free throw, Patrick Lippe made a shot while being fouled and jubilantly laid on the floor for a few seconds, riling up his team and the crowd before teammates helped him up and congratulated him. He missed the free throw but Port had a 49-40 lead with 4 minutes, 21 seconds left and the game never got closer than eight from there.

The Pirates defended their home court for the second time this year and swept West.

“Obviously, we’re going through a little bit of a tough season, so this one means a lot to us. It kind of gets us back on track, gets guys’ confidence back up,” Lilly said.

McKoy-Jackson had 11 points. Lippe had seven, and Aedan Egan had six.

Aaron Tennis scored 26 points for West and Brad Weber had 20.

Port on Feb. 4 lost at Nicolet, 84-44. Lilly had 18 points and Noah Melka had eight.

For Nicolet, Kobe Johnson had 30 and James Graham had 27.

Port was to play at Cedarburg on Tuesday (9-4 NSC), host rival Grafton (9-3) on Friday and play at Homestead (7-6) on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Grafton has win to remember, loss to forget

The three-year drought against Homestead came to a close on Feb. 4 at Grafton. The Hawks won, 64-58, behind their inside forces.

Brock Heffner scored 20 points on 7-for-12 shooting and had six rebounds and three assists. J.P. Benzschawel had 17 points and four rebounds.

In the second half, “Brock was able to impose his will. I thought he was the difference in the game,” Grafton coach Damon James said.

The Hawks nearly stopped the streak earlier this year but lost, 59-50, in overtime on the road on Dec. 10.

“That’s a long time in between getting a victory over Homestead,” James said.

Declan Ciurlik scored 31 points.

“Ciurlik was lights out that night. He kept them active,” James said.

Grafton’s Alex Huibregtse had 10 points and nine rebounds. Tyler Tsui had nine points and three assists.

The Hawks followed that up with a 72-33 stinker at Whitefish Bay last Friday.

“We didn’t hit shots at all, went 2-for-19 on threes — that’s awful. We shot 31% from the floor — that’s awful,” James said.

“On top of that, they (Blue Dukes) were making shots.”

It was 32-17 at halftime and things didn’t improve for the Hawks.

Benzschawel had 10 points. Huibregtse had nine.

Blue Duke Jayden Jackson had 24 points and Kieran Heller had 20. Nine players scored.

The Hawks, 9-4 in the NSC, were to play at Hartford (3-10) on Tuesday, at Port on Friday and host Slinger on Tuesday. The Owls beat the Hawks in Slinger on Jan. 7, 57-56, when a Grafton buzzer-beater missed.

 

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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