Pirates’ balanced scoring offsets Waukesha North’s stop-Gasser approach in defensive tussle to start season
It was a tough way to start the season, but members of the Port Washington boys’ basketball team aren’t complaining.
Withstanding a shaky third quarter, the Pirates emerged with a 45-34 victory over Waukesha North in a nonconference game last Saturday at Carroll College.
“It was a good win, with a lot of guys contributing,” said Port coach John Bunyan, whose team jumped to a 9-4 lead in the first quarter and never trailed despite a determined rally by the Northstars.
“Waukesha North tried to slow the game down, which kept the score low, but we still pushed the ball pretty well.”
Port stretched its advantage to 20-8 by halftime before the Northstars used a 16-10 scoring run in the third period to pull within 30-24.
North’s rally was aided by a pair of technical fouls called on Port — one for a player hanging on the rim and another for a substitution violation — that gave it four free throws.
Senior guard Josh Gasser, the Pirates’ top player, struggled on an off night and finished with just four points. The Northstars double-teamed him throughout the game and forced other Port players to pick up the scoring slack, Bunyan said.
Gasser came through in other ways, however, contributing team highs with 12 rebounds and eight assists.
“It was Josh’s first full game in six months since his ankle injury, so his shot was off,” Bunyan said. “He was a little frustrated, but it was more important that other people stepped up for us.”
Bunyan said Gasser was called for one of his team’s technical fouls when he grabbed the rim to avoid falling during a collision as he attempted a shot.
Forwards Cory Steinmetz and Shane Kennedy led the Pirates with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Bunyan also singled out the play of Luke Schueller (six points) and Zach Schultz (five).
The Northstars made the most of their free-throw opportunities, hitting 17 of 18 attempts. However, they struggled mightily from the field, shooting only 21%, including a 1-for-20 effort on three-point tries.
Port made just one of five three-point attempts but was 46% overall from the field (17 of 37). Most of the Pirates’ field goals came on layups or short-range shots.
“We played pretty well for our first game of the season,” Bunyan said. “It was a tough, physical game, and we came away with a win, which was the most important thing.”
The Pirates will tackle another nonconference challenge Friday, Dec. 4, when they travel to Milwaukee South High School to play Lake Geneva Badger in the annual Terry Porter Classic. Tipoff is 4:45 p.m.