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Written by MITCH MAERSCH   
Wednesday, 29 November 2017 17:20

Pirates turn to enthusiasm, resilience to offset loss of last year’s talent, leadership

Guard play could rule the day for Port Washington girls’ basketball team this season.
The Pirates started the season with their tallest player at 5 feet, 10 inches in junior forward Kaytlin Kassens.
“She’s very athletic for her size,” Port coach Jakob Wahl said.
In addition to patrolling the post, “she’ll also be a decent player on the perimeter for us, too,” he added.
Port lost several of last season’s players to graduation, most notably standout Amanda Baierl.
Junior guard Lizzie Egan will run the point and get help from junior Katie Erlandson. Both stand 5-4. Senior guard/forward Madalyn Cook will also contribute.
“They’ve been playing really consistent over the past couple of games. I’m looking forward to how they progress,” Wahl said.
Egan and Erlandson are already developing chemistry. Last season, Egan averaged 5.1 points per game, fourth-best on the team, and Erlandson averaged 3.4.
LIZZIE EGAN LEXI HILGART MYA MASSE IMG 5627 (CR)“Our guard play is very good. They’re more comfortable in their second year of varsity basketball,” Wahl said.
The backcourt would have been even stronger, but senior Kate Lemkuil sustained an offseason knee injury and will miss the entire year.
Senior Joy Holzman missed the start of the season due to injury but is expected back this week. That will help create more depth on a team that can use it, given the Pirates are relying on quickness and hustle.
Cook will see some time in the low post, as will whoever happens to be there at any given time.
“A lot of the positions will be interchangeable with where they’re playing,” Wahl said.

Scoring inside will follow the same strategy. “Whoever touches the ball down there will have the opportunity,” Wahl said.
Egan has so far led the Pirates in scoring. In a season-opening loss at Lake Country Lutheran on Nov. 17, Egan totaled 16 points, including going 6-for-8 on free throws.
The Pirates lost, 49-33, but played a stronger second half, only getting outscored 22-19.
On Nov. 21, Port dropped its North Shore Conference opener to Grafton, 39-30.  
The Pirates’ strength at this point in the season has been its defense.
“Our defense has been off to a good start. I’m very pleased it with to date,” Wahl said.
Wahl said he is looking to develop his team beyond physical skills and wins and losses. “Come with a great attitude, play with great effort and let the result take care of itself,” he said.
“They’re a really good group. We’re going to keep practicing as hard as we can. I’m confident in their abilities.”
Season goals consist of constant improvement and how to build the culture of the program. Wahl said the Pirates aren’t talking about their opponents, but rather what they can do as a group itself.
“We’re taking everything day by day and we’re seeing improvement each and every day, whether it’s in practice or out here at the games. That’s all we can really focus on, every rep, every possession, every game, getting better,” Wahl said.
“They just go to work every day. That’s the expectation.”
So far, Wahl likes what he sees.
“I think our girls are doing an awesome job of what it’s going to take each and every day to be successful. So I couldn’t be more proud of where we’re at right now.”

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