Pirates win nail biter to open season
BY RICH PALZEWIC
SUAMICO – Despite falling behind by an early 12-2 margin, the Bay Port girls’ basketball scrapped its way back to a 73-70 non-conference win over Luxemburg-Casco on Nov. 17 at Bay Port High School.
Nine different players scored for the Pirates, who were led by Alaina Abel’s 15 and Emma Nagel’s 14. Nagel was also a monster on the boards with her 14 rebounds.
“I’m very happy,” said Bay Port head coach Kati Coleman. “It’s nice to see what we were capable of knowing we still have a lot of room to grow. A slow start is never what I want – I want the other coach calling the first timeout because they were down, not us. We had a few missed assignments and I think some of the girls underestimated (Luxemburg-Casco’s Cassie) Schiltz.”
The UWGB recruit Schiltz poured in 30 points for the Spartans, including four three-pointers. She had several makes that were a good five feet beyond the three-point arc.
After the Pirates fell behind by 10 early on, they closed the half by outscoring Luxemburg-Casco 32-23 the rest of the way to trail by just one at the break. Then Bay Port opened the second half with an 8-0 run to bump the lead to 49-40 at the 12:28 mark.
Leading 61-51 with seven minutes to go, LC went on a 14-2 surge to go up by two with just over three minutes remaining, but the Pirates hit their free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Just as Coleman said before the season, the young Pirates used their pressure defense and transition offense to get steals and easy baskets.
“They did a pretty good job of pressuring the ball, at times too aggressive,” Coleman said about her team, who had 26 fouls on the night. “I don’t like that LC was in the double bonus will 11 minutes left in the game. I never want to tell a girl to not be so aggressive.”
McKenzie Johnson (9), Grace Krause (8), Mady Draak (8), Reagan McIntyre (5), Nela Merxauerova (5), Sofia Draghicchio (5) and Peyton Coughlin (4) all scored for Bay Port.
Merxauerova, a senior foreign exchange student from the Czech Republic, had an impressive opening game with her slashing style to the lane.
“Nela is good,” Coleman added. “We’re working on the language barrier but once she starts understanding the offense, and what we’re doing, she will do good things.”
The Pirates committed 24 turnovers of their own but forced 23 from the Spartans.
Luxemburg-Casco- 35, 35 – 70
Bay Port – 34, 39 – 73
Note: Click here to check out the senior spotlight for Grace Van Egeren.