McNabb Jr. named one of the league’s best

Grafton’s Guerrero Hernandez Jr., Port’s Davis and Esselmann honored by NSC


Ozaukee Press staff

The cup of high-end skill and hard work runneth over on the Grafton and Port Washington high schools boys’ basketball teams this season.

Grafton’s two star guards, junior Michael McNabb Jr. and sophomore Juan Guerrero Hernandez Jr., have received offers from Division 1 colleges and were named all-state honorable mentions by the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association after putting in a highlight reel season of dunks, deft dashes to the hole and defensive prowess.

McNabb led the North Shore Conference in scoring with 23.7 points per game and, despite standing 6 feet, 4 inches tall in a league with much bigger players, led the NSC in rebounding with 10.3 per game.

“That’s just a testament to him broadening his game,” coach Damon James said of McNabb’s rebounding.

McNabb led the Black Hawks in steals with 2.4 per game and was second in assists with three per game.

McNabb was named to the NSC first team and was close to being chosen as Player of the Year, James said.

“He’s just a one-of-a-kind young man that has a spirit about him that’s going to make him successful in life. He does everything you ask. He’s working hard. He’s first in the gym, and it shows statistically,” he said.

McNabb already eclipsed 1,000 points and has a chance as a senior to break the school’s all-time scoring record.

“It’s very realistic and it would be an outstanding honor for him,” James said.

McNabb is a threat to drain shots from the outside and is dynamic in slicing to the basket around multiple defenders.

McNabb shot 199-for-339 (58.7%) from the field and 26-for-81 (32.1%) on three-pointers.

He was also named to the academic all-state team, which “clearly shows he’s taking care of business on and off the court,” James said.

Guerrero Hernandez upped his game from being a standout freshman to one of the best players in the conference and was nearly named to the NSC first team.

“I thought he was just as deserving,” James said.

He averaged 18.6 points per game — tied for fifth in the conference — was second on the Hawks with 6.1 rebounds per game, first with 3.1 assists and second with 1.5 steals per game.

“I think he’s one of the most improved players in the conference and in the state. From freshman to sophomore year was a complete testament to the work he put in off the court. I’m expecting even more next year and the year after,” James said.

Guerrero Hernandez shot 138-for-222 (62.2%) and went 41-for-105 (39%) on three-pointers. Like McNabb, he can drive to the basket while eluding the defense and elevating.

“His shot got tremendously better, and his ability to stretch the floor,” James said.

“Thirty-seven percent on threes — compared to freshman campaign (26.1%),  he has put in the work to improve his craft.”

The pair helped Grafton to a 10-8 record in the NSC, tied for fourth and one game from third place, and a 13-12 mark overall, both improvements from the year before.

James is thrilled to have his dynamic duo back next season.

“You’re talking about great young men. They’re a pleasure to coach. I’m just extremely fortunate to have these guys in our program,” he said.

Port Washington had its own prominent pair that set school records.

Senior guard Kenyon Davis was second in the NSC with 22.6 points per game. He led the Pirates with 2.2 steals per game, was third with 3.7 rebounds per game and fourth in assists with 2.2 per game.

He set the single-season record for points with 579, breaking former University of Wisconsin-Madison star Josh Gasser’s 550, broke the single-season mark of 190 field goals made with 221 and tied the school record with seven steals in a game.

“I thought Kenyon — and some other coaches did too — was very close to being a first-teamer,” coach Brian Hebein said.

Despite being the focal point of every opponent’s defensive game plan, Davis scored in double figures every game of the season, which Hebein called “pretty amazing.”

Davis earned a starting spot around late December 2021 and flourished from there. He scored 942 points in two years, ninth most in school history.

“He just kind of took over, hit the ground running and kept getting better and better.”

Davis was often the recipient of passes or the leader on Port’s fast break. In the half-court offense, he could hit from the outside or knife his way into the lane for short-range buckets. He shot 214-for-432 (49.5%) and was 60-for-169 (35.5%) on three-pointers.
Senior guard Matt Esslemann started the season a little slowly after a deep football playoff run that had him playing offense and defense banged up his body, but he turned it on midway through the season and was named to the NSC third team.

“He probably could have used about three weeks just to rest,” Hebein said.

Esselmann averaged 17.4 points per game, seventh in the NSC. He shot 150-for-324 (46.3%) and was 54-for-154 on three-pointers (35.1%). He was second on the team in rebounds with 5.4, assists with three and steals with 2.1.

He had a 13-game stretch when he scored at least 12 points, highlighted by a school record 47 points in a 98-83 win over NSC co-champ Nicolet, breaking Gasser’s mark of 43.

“His second half of the season was just very impressive,” Hebein said.

Esselmann, who only stands 6-1, broke the single-season school record for blocks with 46 and blocks per game with 2.1, breaking Matt Williams’ record.

“He’s got a knack to jump as high as he needs and really good timing,” Hebein said.

“Watching Matt and Kenyon do their thing, especially that last half of the season, was pretty incredible,” Hebein said.

Port finished 6-12 and in eighth place in the NSC and 11-15 overall. The Pirates set records for most points in a season with 1,765, breaking the mark of 1,574, most three-pointers in a season with 200 (185) and tied for the most charges taken with 50.

Senior Ryan Burmesch’s 60 offensive rebounds broke Gasser’s mark of 53.

Among a few single-game records  were points with 98 (97) and points in a half with 53 (50).

“It was a good year, a fun year,” Hebein said.



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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.

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