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Written by Steve Ostermann   
Wednesday, 23 December 2009 16:34

Hard-fought win over Waupun leaves Port boys smiling one night after frustrating NSC loss to Bay

There’s nothing like a hard-fought win over a highly regarded foe to ease the sting of a tough loss.

One night after struggling to find the hoop in a frustrating road defeat, the Port Washington boys’ basketball team got back on target last Saturday in the Converse Eastbay Classic at the Al McGuire Center in Milwaukee.

Jumping ahead early and withstanding a second-half charge by Waupun, the Pirates secured a 73-67 win in a battle of state-ranked Division 2 teams.

“We were pretty bummed out about the way we played Friday (at Whitefish Bay), so we really wanted to get back on the court and turn things around,” said Port coach John Bunyan, whose team improved to 5-1 overall.

“Waupun has a really good team and was 7-0 coming in, but we had a size advantage on them and were able to get the ball inside.”

The Pirates’ edge in size especially paid off in the second half.

In building a 32-27 lead by halftime, Port had only three free throws. However, they cashed in at the line the rest of the way and finished 24-for-30 for the game.

Senior guard Josh Gasser led the way with a 25-point performance that included a 13-for-14 effort at the foul line. After a quiet start, he scored 21 points in the second half.

The Pirates’ balanced offense also included 36 points from its starting front line — 14 by Shane Kennedy and 11 apiece by Cory Steinmetz and Zach Schultz.

Port maintained a 54-49 lead after three quarters and held off the Warriors down the stretch.

Waupun was powered by senior guard Austin Armga, who scored a game-high 31 points.

“Armga is a very good player, and we tried several different guys on him,” Bunyan said. “We had a little more balanced offense, which helped make the difference.”

Whitefish Bay 62, Port Washington 48

A cold-shooting performance in the face of an active Bay defense saddled the Pirates with a tough North Shore Conference loss last Friday.

Port shot just 20% from the field, including a 1-for-19 effort from three-point range, and was unable to keep pace with the Blue Dukes.

“It was a very frustrating night,” Bunyan said. “Bay shot well, and we just couldn’t make a bucket when we needed to.”

Bay, which drew even with Port in the NSC race at 2-1, pulled away from a 9-9 tie after one quarter with a 20-11 run in the second period.

The Pirates closed to within 43-36 after three quarters, but the Dukes took control with a 19-12 edge in the final eight minutes.

Gasser led the Pirates with 18 points, and Steinmetz added 13. However, the Dukes offset those efforts with a game-high 21 points by Ron Patten and 18 from John Johnston.

Both teams trail first-place Homestead (3-0) by one game in the conference standings.

Port Washington 62, Nicolet 47

A strong second quarter allowed the Pirates to overcome a slow start and secure a conference win at home Dec. 15.

The Knights held a 15-13 lead after the first eight minutes, but Port outscored them by 12 points in the second period to take a 34-24 lead into halftime and never trailed again.

Gasser scored a game-high 26 points, including four three-point baskets.

Steinmetz and Zach Schultz added 13 and 11 points, respectively.

Nicolet was led by 14 points from Myles Henry.

The Pirates resumed play Tuesday against Brookfield Academy.

On Dec. 29, Port will host Escanaba (Mich.) in a 7:30 p.m. nonconference game.

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