Written by STEVE OSTERMANN
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 18:36
After strong start, Port boys hang on to edge Cedarburg for NSC win that snaps five-game skid
Cedarburg’s Dave Shepard launched a desperation three-pointer that fell short at the buzzer, and the Port Washington boys’ basketball team breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Make that a “well, it’s about time” sigh — the kind you would expect from a squad that just snapped a five-game losing streak.COACH JOHN BUNYAN emphasized a point with his players during a timeout in Port Washington’s game against Cedarburg last Friday. Photo by Sam Arendt
“We just needed a win,” Port coach John Bunyan said after seeing the host Pirates hold off Cedarburg, 40-38, in a ragged North Shore Conference game last Friday.
“Offensively, we missed a lot of shots and had some scoring lulls. But we also played some tough defense, which helped us win it.”
Port, which evened its NSC record at 3-3 and won for the first time since Dec. 16, couldn’t get its offense on track but never trailed. The Pirates led by as many as 11 points — at 21-10 late in the first half — only to have Cedarburg (1-5) hang around long enough to make things interesting.
Shepard, a senior forward, carried most of the offensive load for the Bulldogs. He scored eight of his team-high 19 points in the third quarter when Cedarburg cut a 21-12 halftime deficit to 28-24.
The Pirates pulled away again in the final period and owned a 38-33 lead when Zach Hauser made two free throws with 1:17 to play. However, Shepard drilled a three-pointer to lead another rally that pulled Cedarburg within 39-38 with 12 seconds left.
After Joey Burbach made one of two foul shots to give Port a 40-38 edge, Cedarburg had to go the length of the court with eight seconds to play. Port used two quick fouls to force the Bulldogs to inbound the ball twice more before Shepard’s 28-foot shot at the horn came up well short.
The Pirates could have won the game more easily if they had gotten in sync offensively. Missed layups and turnovers helped fuel Cedarburg comebacks. Shepard was the only player to score in double figures for the Bulldogs, but they also got two key second-half baskets from Stephen Sakmar, who finished with eight points.
Burbach helped Port survive with a 17-point effort that included a trio of three-point baskets and six points in the final period.
“It’s still a work in progress,” Bunyan said of his team’s offense. “The thing I’m really proud of is our defense, which is keeping us in games.”
The win evened Port’s overall record at 7-7 after a 6-2 start.
West Bend West 62, Port Washington 59
A 28-point effort by Burbach wasn’t enough to spare the Pirates a nonconference road loss Jan. 20.
Burbach kept the Pirates in the fight after they trailed, 28-26, at halftime and fell behind, 48-41, entering the final period. He finished 12-for-18 at the free-throw line, where Port shot just 67% (24 of 36).
The Pirates outscored West, 18-14, in the fourth quarter to close within striking distance.
Besides Burbach’s effort, Port got 12 points from guard Eric Graf.
West was led by Jack Meurer, whose 23 points including five three-point baskets.
This Friday, the Pirates will resume conference play with a 7:30 p.m. home game against Grafton.