Third-quarter rally helps Port girls take control in NSC win over Homestead
Opportunity knocked, and the Port Washington girlsâ basketball team answered.
Shaking off the rust of a three-game losing streak, the host Pirates pulled away to secure a 34-29 win over Homestead in a North Shore Conference game last Friday.
âWe played our game the way we are capable,â said Port coach Brian Johnson, whose team combined steady defense and timely scoring to even its NSC record at 1-1.
âOur goal is to keep the game at 40 (points). Weâre excited that we were able to hold a team to 29.â
After a sluggish start by both teams, the Pirates trailed, 12-11, with two minutes left in the second quarter. However, a 5-0 run that included baskets by Hilton and Hanna Strohm and a free throw by Allie Uselding gave Port a 16-12 halftime lead.
Homestead, which started three freshmen and a sophomore, rallied to pull even at 17-17 midway through the third period.
But the Pirates responded with a 13-0 flurry that gave them a 30-17 lead with 6:50 left in the fourth quarter. Mikayla Hiltonâs three-point basket capped the rally.
Hilton, a senior forward, finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds despite often being double-teamed. She also had several assists, including feeds to Strohm, a sophomore who had a game-high 16 points.
âMikayla is a special player. She made a lot of things happen,â Johnson said.
Port saw its lead whittled to 32-27 when Taylor McIlwraith hit a three-pointer with 1:30 to play. However, Hilton made two free throws to help seal the win.
Homestead (0-2) was without senior forward Karley Marotta, its best player, who sustained a knee injury earlier in the week.
The Highlandersâ inexperience showed as they struggled with turnovers and scoring droughts. McIlwraith, a freshman, helped keep them close by scoring 15 points.
In the end, Port made the most of its chances with a roster that has only eight players.
âIt was a big win for us. This gets us back to even in conference,â Johnson said.
âIâm proud of our team. This group never gives up.â
Howards Grove 47, Port Washington 20
The Pirates were no match for a tough nonleague foe in a road loss Dec. 4.
Howards Grove, one of the top teams in the Central Lakeshore Conference, bolted to an 11-3 lead by the end of the first quarter.
The margin reached 24-10 by halftime and 40-15 after three periods.
âHowards Grove did everything right. They fundamentaled us to death,â Johnson said.
Hilton led the Pirates with 11 points and six rebounds.
The Tigers were led by Hayley Rickmeierâs 12 points.
This week, Port (2-3 overall) resumed NSC play against Nicolet on Tuesday and will host Whitefish Bay at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
On Dec. 18, the Pirates will host Milwaukee Messmer in a 7:30 p.m. nonconference game.
SOPHOMORE HANNA STROHM pulled a rebound away from two Homestead players during Port Washingtonâs 34-29 win in a North Shore Conference game
last Friday. Photo by Sam Arendt