Strong start helps Pirates overcome shaky stretches of play against Lutheran; Grafton struggles in pair of NSC losses
The Port Washington girls’ basketball team didn’t dominate play against Milwaukee Lutheran last Friday night but still managed to control things.
Racing to a 9-0 lead, coach Brian Johnson’s squad never trailed on the way to a 42-30 win in North Shore Conference play and received a solid shot of confidence in the process.
“It was ragged at times, but we’re young and not used to playing with a lead,” Johnson said.
“But we’ll take it. I’m proud of the effort the girls put in.”
The win was the third in the last four games for the Pirates, who improved to 3-4 overall and 2-2 in the conference.
Junior Brianna Ahner and Hannah Strohm each scored 11 points to lead Port, which held a 13-8 lead after one quarter and a 26-19 edge at intermission. Strohm, a forward, had nine points in the first half, and Ahner, a guard, had seven in the second half.
Solid defense kept the Pirates ahead throughout the second half, when their lead reached 13 points. Lutheran (0-4 in NSC play) managed just 11 points in the last two quarters, including seven by Ashley Folker. The freshman guard finished with a team-high 11 points.
Port shot just 48% at the free-throw line (10 for 21) but made five of its first six foul shots to help build an early lead.
Johnson said his team, which has no seniors and seven freshmen, continues to improve.
“Any time we can score 40 points and hold a team to 30, that’s one of our goals,” he said. “We’re still learning, but we’re doing some things better each week.”
Germantown 65, Grafton 37
A slow start against a fast-breaking foe was a bad combination for the Black Hawks in a North Shore Conference road loss last Friday.
First-place Germantown raced to a 23-11 lead by the end of the first quarter and held a 39-18 advantage at halftime.
Besides having trouble slowing the home team, Grafton couldn’t muster enough offense to stay in contention. Freshman Rachel Schmitz led the Black Hawks with nine points, and Gillian Waskiewicz and Zoie Bauer each had six.
Germantown, which improved to 4-0 in the league and 6-1 overall, was sparked by Taylor Higgenbotham’s 18 points.
The loss was the Black Hawks’ fourth straight and left them at 1-4 in NSC play and 3-4 overall.
Whitefish Bay 51, Grafton 26
There was no second-half rally for the host Hawks in a conference loss Dec. 17.
After trailing, 28-18, at intermission, Grafton scored only eight points the rest of the game.
Bauer and Kayla Borden each had six points for the Hawks.
Bay was led by Maya Jonas with 19 points, and Ashley Reed added 12.
Cedarburg 68, Port Washington 23
The Pirates were no match for the host team’s high-scoring offense in an NSC game Dec. 17.
Cedarburg bolted to a 22-8 lead in the first quarter and stretched the margin to 50-15 by halftime.
Port was held to eight points or fewer in each period.
Ahner paced the Pirates with eight points.
Eleven Cedarburg players scored, led by Kendall Lynch with 16 points.
This Friday and Saturday, Port and Grafton will both participate in holiday tournaments.
The Pirates will play in the Manitowoc Invitational, starting with a 2:15 p.m. game Friday against Oconto.
Grafton will play in the Milwaukee Vincent tournament, starting at 5 p.m. Friday.
On Dec. 30, the Hawks will travel to Cudahy for a 7 p.m. nonconference game.
Image Information: TIGHT DEFENSE by Milwaukee Lutheran didn’t stop Port Washington guard Brianna Ahner from getting off a shot in a North Shore Conference game Friday. Ahner scored 11 points to help the Pirates win. Photo by Sam Arendt