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Written by STEVE OSTERMANN   
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 18:38

Mistake-marred loss to Howards Grove continues skid that reaches six games


This week’s holiday break may be just what the doctor ordered for the Port Washington girls’ basketball team.

At least coach Brian Johnson hopes so.PORT WASHINGTON’S Caity Tydrick dribbled past Alexis Lindstrom of Howards Grove during a nonconference game last week. Tydrick scored a team-high 11 points, but Lindstrom helped lead her squad to a win and scored her 1,000th career point in the process.             Photo by Sam Arendt

After watching the Lady Pirates struggle to their sixth straight defeat Dec. 22 — a 49-35 loss to Howards Grove — Johnson was frank about his team’s shortcomings.

“We’re not playing with focus. We’re not getting into any flow in the game,” he said.

“It comes down to pulling together and playing as a team. It has to get better.”

In the Pirates’ defense, getting better was a tall task against undefeated Howards Grove, a Central Lakeshore Conference power. The Tigers, who are among the state’s top Division 4 teams, arrived for the nonconference game armed with a spirited fan following and added incentive.

Howards Grove guard Alexis Lindstrom started the night needing seven points to reach the 1,000-point career mark. The senior accomplished that goal with a pair of free throws in the closing seconds of the first half — setting off a celebration and giving the Tigers a 26-17 lead at intermission.

One of the few highlights for Port was a brief third-quarter rally. After falling behind, 28-17, the Pirates scored seven straight points — including five by center Nicole Ziehm — and pulled within 28-24 with four minutes left.

However, the Tigers regained control by ending the quarter with a 10-4 run and were never seriously threatened again.

Strong backcourt play throughout the game fueled the Tigers, who got 36 points from guards Karyssa Gallenberger (13), Lindstrom (12) and Brianna Morgan (11).  

Howards Grove, which improved to 7-0, stayed in control by regularly drawing contact from a Port defense that was often a step slow and out of position. The Pirates were whistled for 24 fouls, leading to a 17-for-27 effort at the line by the Tigers.

“That’s one of our problems,” Johnson said. “We didn’t move our feet, and we didn’t help each other out on defense.”

Although Port and Howards Grove each had 14 field goals, the Pirates were only 7-for-17 on foul shots and had no three-pointers to the Tigers’ four.

The offensive spark for Port (2-6) came from Ziehm and guard Caity Tydrick, who each had 11 points. However, the Pirates struggled with turnovers and missed shots in failing to reach 40 points for the seventh time in eight games.

Johnson said he’s challenging his senior-led team to embark on a quick self-improvement course.

“At some point, they’re going to have to step up and make a commitment to play better,” he said. “I believe they can.”

Whitefish Bay 44, Port Washington 23

A slow start and slower second half saddled the Pirates with a North Shore Conference loss at home Dec. 20.

After falling behind, 10-7, by the end of the first quarter, Port saw Bay go on an 17-8 run that stretched the margin to 12 points by halftime.

The Pirates scored only eight points the rest of the way.

Tydrick had nine points to lead Port, which fell to 0-4 in NSC play.

Bay (4-0) got 13 points from Lyndsey Agnew.   

The Pirates will return to the court Friday, Jan. 6, with a 7:30 p.m. league game at home against Germantown.

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