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.
â€śWe played our game the way we are capable,â€ť said Port coach Brian Johnson, whose team combined steady defense and timely scoring to even its NSC record at 1-1.
â€śOur goal is to keep the game at 40 (points). Weâ€™re excited that we were able to hold a team to 29.â€ť
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 Hiltonâ€™s 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.
â€śMikayla is a special player. She made a lot of things happen,â€ť 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.
â€śIt was a big win for us. This gets us back to even in conference,â€ť Johnson said.
â€śIâ€™m proud of our team. This group never gives up.â€ť
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.
â€śHowards Grove did everything right. They fundamentaled us to death,â€ť Johnson said.
Hilton led the Pirates with 11 points and six rebounds.
The Tigers were led by Hayley Rickmeierâ€™s 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 Washingtonâ€™s 34-29 win in a North Shore Conference game
last Friday. Photo by Sam Arendt