It wasn’t easy, but the Grafton girls’ basketball team managed to right the ship last week.
After losing three of their previous five games, the Black Hawks prevailed in a pair of North Shore Conference contests, including a hard-fought, 47-35 victory over Port Washington on Friday.
Despite the comfortable final margin, host Grafton had to scrap to subdue the Pirates, who stayed within striking distance until the final five minutes.
Port rallied to take a brief lead early in the second half and trailed by only 35-29 with six minutes left.
However, an 8-4 run allowed the Hawks to take control.
“We had to grind it out against Port. They played hard against us,” said Grafton coach Steve Reinhardt, whose team improved to 9-4 in NSC play and 17-4 overall.
“The first time we faced Port, they played us hard, and we didn’t expect anything less this time.”
Guard Hannah Belanger and Katie Hunt helped Grafton hold off the upset-minded Pirates. Belanger, a freshman, scored a game-high 23 points, and Hunt, a senior, added 14.
Belanger hit five three-point baskets, including three in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Port slipped to 4-9 in the conference despite a determined effort led by forward Amanda Baierl. The 6-foot junior anchored her team’s front with 18 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.
Five other Pirates scored, led by guard Allie Uselding with five points.