Grafton grabs one illness-ridden win

McNabb seals overtime victory at Hartford; Black Hawks get solid contributions from pair of freshmen

GRAFTON’S SAVANNAH JAMES drove to the basket against Homestead in a home loss on Jan. 11. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press staff

The Grafton High School girls’ basketball team made it through a myriad of maladies last week and escaped with a 1-1 mark thanks to an extended victory on the road.

Last Friday, the Black Hawks topped Hartford, 64-61, in overtime, the second straight season Grafton beat the Orioles in extra time and their second straight game with a slew of players out sick.

Junior Grace McNabb scored eight of the team’s 10 points in the extra four minutes, including going 5-for-6 on free throws in the final 68 ticks.

“That was huge in putting that game away,” coach Matt D’Amato said.

The Orioles made a three-pointer to close to 64-61 with 10.8 seconds left and called a timeout. They forced a jump ball on the Hawks’ inbounds pass and had the arrow with 4.3 seconds left.

But an Oriole’s ensuing two-point attempt hit the side of the backboard and the Hawks held on.

Going into overtime, D’Amato said he wanted to run a slow pace and was fine with each team getting three possessions. His team remained patient, unlike during a loss earlier in the week.

The Hawks got the ball and burned a minute off the clock right away. McNabb drained a three-pointer from the top of the key on a pass from Ashley Weir.

Ella Day hit two free throws to make it 59-54, and McNabb’s free throws constituted the rest of the Hawks’ points.

The Hawks had a chance to end it in regulation after the Orioles tied the game at 54 with an inside shot with 1 minute, 10 seconds left. D’Amato said the plan was to run the clock to about 12 seconds and then draw something up.

Sophomore Sarah Aleknavicius sliced in between two defenders with 15 seconds left but couldn’t quite make a layup from the left side.

The Orioles got the rebound, and Day played tough defense to force a miss on an inside shot with 1.8 seconds left. Grafton had possession, but the Orioles intercepted a long pass and missed a desperation heave from beyond half court at the buzzer.

The Hawks held a 24-21 halftime lead and led most of the second half. The Orioles tied the game at 50 with 2:38 left, and again at 52 with 1:33 left.

Aleknavicius had her usually all-around solid game, scoring 15 points on 6-for-12 shooting with five assists and three steals. Senior Ashley Weir had 15 points on 7-for-16 shooting and had five rebounds.

McNabb had 11 points, and Day, on a minutes limit in returning from illness, had nine on 3-for-4 shooting.

D’Amato also praised two freshmen — Abbey Grisar and Marissa Morgan — for several solid minutes.

“They settled our offense down. Our offense looked more like our offense than it had all week,” D’Amato said, adding one of the team’s focuses is “Everybody’s got to be ready.”

For Hartford, which went to 5-4 in the North Shore Conference, Makena Christian had 25 points. Brooke Lazaris had 13, and Kailyn Knudson had 12.

The win came one day after the Hawks had 13 players at practice between the varsity and junior varsity teams due to illnesses. D’Amato said his coaching duties have expanded to checking in with several players daily to see how they’re feeling and telling them not to rush back.

On Jan. 11, the Hawks hosted Homestead in a game between two of the top three teams in the conference with four players missing due to illnesses.

The Hawks committed 23 turnovers, in part due to the Highlanders’ press, in a 77-59 loss, ending a seven-game winning streak.

“We were sloppy. It wasn’t pretty,” D’Amato said.

Grafton was only down, 33-32, at halftime due to hot shooting. That cooled in the second half, but the Hawks improved their ball handling. The defense, D’Amato said, crumbled at the end.

Savannah James scored 15 points for the Hawks on 6-for-13 shooting. Aleknavicius and Emily Grisar each had eight.

For Homestead, Madison Fitzgibbon had 25 points. Natalie Mueller had 14, and Delaney Buzzell had 12.

Grafton, 13-2 overall and 7-2 in the NSC behind 7-1 Cedarburg and 9-0 Homestead, plays at West Bend West (1-8 NSC) on Friday and hosts Port Washington (1-8).



Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login