BY RICH PALZEWIC
SUAMICO – Tied at 25 with Pulaski at halftime, Bay Port girls’ basketball player Mady Draak took over in the first few minutes after intermission.
Draak’s 12 consecutive points to begin the half helped the Pirates topple the Red Raiders in a 72-55 Fox River Classic Conference game Jan. 5 at Bay Port High School.
The scoring burst by the 6-foot sophomore was part of her 17 total points on the evening – all of which came in the second half.
Coupled with De Pere’s dramatic 51-50 win over Green Bay Notre Dame, the Pirates (9-3 overall, 6-2 FRCC) sit just one game behind the Tritons and a half game behind De Pere for the conference lead.
“Mady is so unselfish,” said Bay Port head coach Kati Coleman. “It’s like we had to tell her ‘it’s okay to score when there’s one or two girls guarding you.’ She has a nice touch around the rim and she’s long. Now I’m going to challenge her to rebound the basketball more. She’s a quiet kid, so I love to see her fist pump and let out a little scream when she makes (a basket) and gets fouled.”
Another sophomore, McKenzie Johnson, kept the Pirates in the game in the first 18 minutes with her 11 points. In a back-and-forth first half, Bay Port led 23-19 before Pulaski ended with a 6-2 run to tie the game at the break.
The Pirates outscored their FRCC rival by a whopping 47 to 30 margin in the second half to win going away.
“We played very well in the second half,” added Coleman. “The girls have to believe they have great potential. I think once they all see that and start believing it, you’ll see good things come from them.”
Johnson ended with 15 points in a very balanced attack by Bay Port, as Reagan McIntyre (13), Alaina Abel (11) and Emma Nagel (10) all scored in double digits as well.
A huge improvement since the early season has been how the Pirates have cut down their turnovers. Bay Port had only 14 on the evening, while forcing 25 Pulaski giveaways. The Pirates had 16 steals as a team.
The biggest discrepancy in the game came at the charity stripe, where Bay Port shot 28 more free throws than the Raiders. The Pirates were 26-37, while Pulaski was a perfect 9-for-9. Draak made all seven of her attempts.
Foreign exchange student Nela Merxauerova (Czech Republic) went down with an ankle injury during the game and needed help from teammates to make it to the locker room. Merxauerova could be seen icing her left ankle from the bench during the second half.
The Pirates held all-conference player Emily Higgins to 13 points, while Madison Winter and Katelyn Brockman both had 11 for the Raiders.
Bay Port will host Green Bay Preble in another FRCC game Friday, Jan. 12, at 7:00.
Pulaski: 25, 30 – 55
Bay Port: 25, 47 – 72