Shorthanded Port girls dig down to snap losing streak with eye-opening victory over first-place Cedarburg
Most people would regard the Port Washington Piratesâ€™ 35-34 win over first-place Cedarburg last Friday as an upset, but donâ€™t count Port coach Vinnie Murray among them.
â€śWe knew that we could beat them. Weâ€™re finally playing the kind of basketball weâ€™re capable of,â€ť Murray said after watching his team rally to stun the visiting Bulldogs in a hard-fought
North Shore Conference game.
The Pirates, who started the night 0-4 in league play, were underdogs against 4-0 Cedarburg, which had shared the NSC top spot with Nicolet.
But Port, which had lost seven straight times since winning its season opener Nov. 27, found a way to make the big plays down the stretch.
After trailing, 28-24, entering the fourth quarter, Cedarburg rallied to take a 34-33 lead with 14 seconds left. The Pirates missed a shot at the go-ahead basket, but sophomore center
Nicole Ziehm scored on a put-back with five seconds to go to give her team the final edge.
For good measure, Ziehm foiled the Bulldogsâ€™ try at a buzzer-beating winner by deflecting a shot by Carly Lythjohan. It was the last of Ziehmâ€™s seven blocks in the game.
â€śNicole really stepped up for us at the end there,â€ť said Murray, whose team improved to 2-7 overall.
â€śShe did a great job, and several of our other players had big games, too.â€ť
With starting point guard Alyssa Ross sidelined much of the night with foul trouble, the short-handed Pirates needed contributions from most of the eight players they had suited for the game.
Sophomore Kelsey Steffen scored a team-high nine points for Port, and Marly Trier added seven.
The Pirates also got a key fourth-quarter basket from freshman Mikayla Hilton, who finished with six points.
The victory, which Murray said was Portâ€™s first against a team with a winning record in eight years, required the Pirates to overcome a slow start.
The Bulldogs held a 14-3 lead in the second quarter before Port went on a 15-1 run to take an 18-15 lead into halftime. The second half became a dogfight, with neither team able to
grab control until Ziehmâ€™s late heroics.
â€śThis was really, truly a team effort for us,â€ť Murray said. â€śI couldnâ€™t be prouder of the girls.â€ť
Kelly Doedens led Cedarburg (8-3 overall) with 11 points.
Milwaukee Lutheran 40, Port 35 (OT)
The Pirates couldnâ€™t protect a five-point lead in the final minute of regulation and were saddled with a frustrating conference loss at home Jan. 5.
Port led, 30-25, with 45 seconds to play only to have Johnikka Nash pulled the Red Knights even by hitting a two-point basket and a three-pointer to force the extra period.
Lutheran then went on a 10-5 run in the overtime.
â€śIt was very frustrating, a game we should have won,â€ť Murray said. â€śBut I think our girls learned from that game that you have to keep playing to the very end.â€ť
Ross led the Pirates with 14 points.
Nash had 15 points for Lutheran.
Port will continue conference play this Friday when it travels to Homestead (0-5) for a 7:30 p.m. game.