Written by Steve Ostermann
Wednesday, 06 January 2010 17:43
Team cruises by Escanaba on way back into NSC playFacing an unfamiliar opponent during the distractions of a holiday break has thrown more than a few basketball teams for a loop.
The Port Washington High School boysâ€™ squad didnâ€™t stumble into the pitfall, though, when it hosted Escanaba, Mich., in an unusual nonconference game Dec. 29.
Zipping ahead early, the Pirates glided to a 67-40 win that gave everyone plenty of playing time.
â€śWe didnâ€™t know the level of competition we would face from the Upper Peninsula, but we responded well,â€ť Port coach John Bunyan said. â€śIt was a good win, and we got a lot of kids in the game.â€ť
The contest, which marked the first time teams from the schools faced each other in any sport, was scheduled to helpÂ both squads fill out their nonconference schedules.Â Â Â Â
Escanaba, which plays in the five-team Great Northern U.P. Conference, made the 4-1/2-hour bus ride south for a pair of games wrapped around a one-night stay at the Country Inn & Suites in Port. After losing to University School, 52-50, on Dec. 28, the Eskymos brought a 4-2 record into their contest against the Pirates.
Port broke to a 22-12 lead in the first quarter and held a 40-28 edge at halftime before turning the game into a rout.
Turning up the defensive heat, the Pirates went on a 16-4 run in the third period and held Escanaba to just 12 points for the second half.
Ten Port players scored in the game, led by senior guard Josh Gasserâ€™s 19 points in limited court time. Cory Steinmetz had 10 points, and Kyle Rismeyer added eight.
Quinn Wakefield, a senior forward, paced the Eskymos with 12 points.
The win was the Piratesâ€™ third straight and improved their season record to 7-1.
Bunyan said the highlight of the night for his team was a determined second-half performance.
â€śAt halftime, we talked about improving our defense,â€ť he said. â€śWe didnâ€™t move our feet and werenâ€™t real active in the first half.
â€śThey really stepped it up and played a lot better the rest of the game.â€ť
The Pirates resumed North Shore Conference play this week, starting with a game against Milwaukee Lutheran on Tuesday. On Friday, they will travel to Cedarburg for
a 7:30 p.m. contest.
â€śWe need to start focusing on conference games now,â€ť said Bunyan, whose team started the week tied for second place in the NSC race with a 2-1 mark.
â€śWe have an important stretch coming up and need to improve each week.â€ť
JOSH GASSER (center), teammate Cory Steinmetz and the rest of the Port Washington boysâ€™ squad had little trouble overpowering Escanaba for a nonconference win. Photo by Sam Arendt