Struggling program is turning the corner

Last week’s 66-63 comeback win over Cedar Grove-Belgium for the Port Washington High School girls’ basketball team did more than build confidence in a recovering program.

It moved the Pirates to 2-1 — their first winning record at any point in the season since 2012, when they opened with a win over University School of Milwaukee.

After three seasons of one win each and no victories last year, the tide is starting to turn.

The momentum is particularly special for Kayla Johnson, the team’s only senior, who hasn’t experienced multiple wins in her career. Most losses haven’t even been close.

“This was definitely the most exciting. It was a close game pretty much the whole time. It was pretty exciting to see everyone put as much effort into the game as they did to help bring out the win,” she said. “This definitely gives us a lot of confidence for the entire season.”

Coach Jakob Wahl has seen the few highs and many lows at the helm the past decade. An inconsistent youth program was detrimental to the team’s development, but that has solidified, and this season’s freshmen are showing the progress of regular instruction and play.

“It’s early on but the girls are coming together and they’re playing their certain roles as far as they can and we’ll kind of let the results take care of themselves from there,” Wahl said.

The Pirates may still take some lumps as the freshmen continue to develop, but Port is becoming competitive, and that’s a positive.

• In other Port hoops’ news, it was good to see the boys earn a North Shore Conference victory after going 0-18 in the league last season. The losing streak doesn’t go beyond that. Port beat Hartford, 81-79, in its last NSC game on Feb. 27, 2020.
• The first Cedar Grove-Belgium boys’ game was met with a fan clan dressed to the nines last Friday that cheered on a Rockets’ victory over Random Lake.

The players noticed.

“It was nice to have fans back. It was nice to have the student section there, get people cheering for you in a loud gym. It’s fun again,” senior Sam Peiffer said.

“For our first home game, no Covid, fans in the stands. It’s good to see. It was exciting,” coach Derek Wimmer said.

Good to see indeed. Keep attending and keep cheering.

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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.

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