Port’s Davis starts the season with the hot hand

By MITCH MAERSCH

Ozaukee Press staff

The only Port Washington High School boys’ basketball player who earned all-conference honors last season picked up right where he left off this year and then some.

Senior guard Kenyon Davis scored 58 points combined in the Pirates’ first two games.

Port lost its opener, 74-67, to Howards Grove, then beat Kewaskum 71-58. Davis scored 37 points against Kewaskum, second most in school history in one game, coach Brian Hebein said. Davis shot 12-for-18 from the field, made six three-pointers and went 4-for-5 on free throws.

“He was all over,” Hebein said.

Davis was named to the North Shore Conference third team last season.

“I think he felt he should have been higher. He’s got something to prove this year,” Hebein said.

He averaged 14.9 points per game, fifth in the NSC,  shot 46.8% from the field and 48.9% on three-pointers. He was eighth in the NSC in steals with 1.7 per game. He led Port in assists with 1.6 per game and steals with 1.7 per game.

Davis is playing point guard to start the season due to injuries. Junior Ben Fritsch injured an ankle in Port’s final football game of the season on Nov. 4 and isn’t back yet. Senior guard Nate Uselding injured a knee during football season and is rehabbing well, but Hebein said he is taking it slowly.

“I don’t want him reinjuring it and losing his baseball season,” he said.

Sophomore guards Kyle Uselding and Josh Arnold are also recovering from injuries.

Other leading returning players include wing player Matt Esselmann, who was second on the team in scoring at 11.3 points per game last season, and post player Ryan Burmesch, who led the team with last year 5.6 rebounds per game and scored 6.3 points per game. He’s Port’s tallest player at 6 feet, 4 inches.

Key players lost to graduation are Mikey Ross (9.1 points per game), Patrick Lippe (5.3 points per game), Aedan Egan (7.1 points per game) and Brady Fleischmann (3.7 rebounds).

Hebein brought up a couple of freshmen and gave them varsity experience in last weekend’s pair of games. He said he was happy to see Cal Loose score 17 points and make five three-pointers against Howards Grove.

“It was fun to see him out there as a freshman just not being overwhelmed by a varsity game and going out there and performing,” he said.

Grady Karrels took on tough defensive assignments and racked up five blocks against the Tigers.

Hebein also praised senior guard Noah Doherty, who scored eight points and played  well in the first two games. Doherty was on the floor late in the Kewaskum game when the Indians made a run.

“It’s an opportunity for him to keep performing and keep working hard in practice and stay in the rotation,” Hebein said.

Against the Tigers, Davis and Loose handled the scoring, along with Burmesch, who netted 14 points. Esselmann had eight.

Against the Indians, Esselmann had 14 points and five steals behind Davis’ big night. Karrels had six. Loose and Doherty each had five.

Esselmann’s value goes beyond offense, Hebein said.

“He’s a guy that you can put on an athletic player and count on him to lock down defensively,” he said.

Hebein also likes the play of Parker Vanden Heuvel, though people won’t see his contributions on paper.

“He boxes out, fights through screens and recovers,” he said. “He does a lot of things to open up the offense as well.”

Hebein is pleased with his team’s offense so far, averaging 69 points per game.

“We think we’re at our best when we’re able to push the basketball in transition and drive and kick out for threes,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll get teams in the bonus and knock down our free throws.”

Port is coming off of a 4-21 season. The Pirates were last in the NSC at 2-16, but 12 of the losses were by seven points or less.

“We’re trying to turn those into wins this year and finish in the upper half of the conference,” Hebein said.

Port opens NSC play at West Bend East on Friday, Dec. 1, and plays at Grafton on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

ν Grafton hosts West Bend West on Friday, Dec. 1, Milwaukee Lutheran at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, and Port on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

ν Ozaukee played at Oostburg on Tuesday, hosts St. Mary Catholic on Friday and plays at Mishicot on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

ν Cedar Grove-Belgium hosted Sheboygan Christian on Tuesday, plays at Random Lake on Friday at hosts Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

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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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