Written by Steve Ostermann
Wednesday, 09 February 2011 18:16
EMILY SCHREINER of Grafton tried to dribble past Nicolet’s Brittany Fair during a North Shorte Conference game Friday. Nicolet took control early on the way to a 53-30 victory.
Photo by Sam Arendt
First-place Knights make Hawks pay for miscues early and often in lopsided victory
Underdogs don’t have any time to relax, at least not without paying a price.
For the Grafton girls’ basketball team, the price last Friday was a disappointing home loss to high-powered Nicolet, which rolled to a 53-30 win.
Although the host Black Hawks had won their two previous North Shore Conference games with impressive defensive efforts, they didn’t have any answers — or much spark — against the first-place, state-ranked Knights.
After Grafton scored the first basket of the night, Nicolet went on a 16-1 run during the rest of the opening quarter. When the Knights scored the first nine points of the second period, the margin reached 25-3.
Abbey Benzschawel’s three-pointer with 3 minutes, 42 seconds left in the half gave the Hawks their second field goal of the game and helped fuel a comeback that pulled them within 29-14 by halftime. But Nicolet ended the suspense by scoring the first nine points of the third quarter.
Besides keeping the Knights in control on the way to their ninth NSC win in as many tries, the pattern frustrated Grafton coach Bob Maronde.
“I was very disappointed with our effort,” he said. “A point of emphasis with us is that we maintain our intensity and our focus, and we didn’t do that.
“We weren’t reacting and we weren’t communicating. I think we’re better than that, but we didn’t show it.”
Grafton, whose conference record fell to 4-5, trailed by as many as 30 points in the fourth quarter against one of the state’s top Division 1 teams.
Nicolet showed its perimeter and front-line strengths with a balanced scoring attack led by guard Ashley Green’s 14 points. Guard Brittany Fair and 6-foot-5-inch center Alex Cohen added 12 and 11 points, respectively.
The Hawks, who had only nine field goals, got a team-high nine points from Hannah Eichler.
Grafton was scheduled to face two more tough tests this week, taking on teams tied for second place in the conference race.
After playing Cedarburg in a makeup game Tuesday, the Hawks will travel to Whitefish Bay on Friday for a 7:30 p.m. contest.