Port, Grafton boys struggle vs. NSC foes

By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

The Port Washington High School boys’ basketball team came all the way back from a double-digit deficit to tie rival Cedarburg on the road on Dec. 14.

“Basically, it came down to a 90-second game,” coach Brian Hebein said.

The Pirates missed a shot, and the Bulldogs scored to take the lead. Port had to play the foul game to try to recover.

“To their credit, they stuck their free throws down the stretch,” Hebein said.

The Bulldogs pulled out a 62-55 win.

Guard Patrick Lippe had 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting. Guard Matt Esselmann scored 13, and guard Kenyon Davis had 12 off the bench. Forward Ryan Burmesch had eight and guard Nate Uselding had six.

“We did a nice job in the second half of battling back. We were much better on our efficiency,” Hebein said, adding the team hit five of six three-pointers.

“We started playing much better defense. We were much more active, started getting some tips and some baskets.”

The Achilles Heel, he said, was the free throw line. Port went 10-for-20.

Guard Matt Doman had 17 points and guard Zack Brown had 16 for Cedarburg.

Last Friday at home against Homestead, the favorite to win the North Shore Conference, Port lost, 86-59.

“They came out and shell shocked us right away,” Hebein said. “They started with five of six shots that were made threes.”

Port got into a running game whose pace triggered a couple of bad decisions.

The Highlanders held a 42-28 halftime lead.

One bright spot was Aedan Egan, who returned from a fractured shooting hand to pour in 20 points, going 6-for-8 on three-pointers.

“That was awesome. What a boost off the bench,” Hebein said, also praising Davis’ 12 points off the bench.

Ben Fritsch played a few minutes while coming back from a knee injury, and Port hopes to get Mikey Ross back to practice in January after he suffered a torn ACL last season, Hebein said.

Adam Riese and Solomon Garrison each scored 20 points for Homestead, and Tim Franks had 19.

Port, 1-4 in the North Shore Conference and 1-6 overall, was to visit Whitefish Bay (4-1 NSC) on Tuesday, host HOPE Christian (8-0)on Tuesday, Dec. 28, and host an opponent yet to be determined on Wednesday, Dec. 29, in a holiday tournament.

Grafton drops two conference games

Following an emotional week with two wins over rivals and a tight nonconference victory, the Grafton hit a rough patch.

The Black Hawks on Dec. 14 lost, 56-47, at Whitefish Bay and last Friday lost, 72-58, at home to Nicolet, dropping to 3-2 in the NSC.

“Both of the losses are ‘us losses,’” coach Damon James said. “We are not doing the things that were making us successful in the first three games.”

Against the Blue Dukes, the Hawks struggled against the 2-2-1 full-court press that falls back to a 2-3 zone.

“That contributed to us being down early,” James said.

The Hawks were behind, 31-16, at halftime.

The Blue Dukes’ slow pace on offense controlled the game.

“Our turnover-to-assist ratio was extremely high and that’s never a good recipe for winning,” James said.

The Hawks had 13 assists and 12 turnovers.

Sophomore guard Michael McNabb, Jr., led the team with 15 points and had six rebounds. Freshman point guard Juan Guerrero Hernandez, Jr., had 14 points and senior guard Johnathan Blaubach had 11.

Ryan Carew and Kamarion Ivory each had 16 points for the Blue Dukes. Jayden Guyton had 10.

At home against Nicolet last Friday, the Hawks fell behind, 12-3, early. They were down, 38-29, at halftime.

“The last three games we were down by double digits in the first five minutes,” James said. “We’re just spotting teams 10 points right off the bat. That’s not good enough.”

McNabb carried the offense, scoring 32 points on 6-for-10 shooting, 4-for-9 on three-pointers and 8-for-9 on free throws.

Junior guard Chase Norton had 12 points, and Guerrero Hernandez had seven.

The Hawks, 3-2 in the North Shore Conference and 4-3 overall, were to play at West Bend East (3-2 NSC) on Tuesday. They play Burlington (2-2) on Wednesday, Dec. 29, and Racine Lutheran (3-4) on Thursday, Dec. 30, in the Go Sports American Classic at Carthage College.

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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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