BY RICH PALZEWIC
SUAMICO – Halfway through the Fox River Classic Conference season, the Bay Port girls’ basketball team is right where they belong – at the top.
The Pirates jumped out to a 19-1 lead en route to a 56-30 FRCC win over the Preble Hornets Jan. 12 at Bay Port High School.
Coupled with De Pere’s blowout loss at Pulaski, Bay Port (10-4 overall, 7-2 FRCC) is now tied with Notre Dame for the top spot in the FRCC. The Pirates were picked seventh in the preseason coaches’ poll.
“I’m happy where we are,” said Bay Port head coach Kati Coleman. “Obviously I knew the girls were better than seventh in the conference and so did they. Games aren’t going to get any easier. Teams are beating other teams every night. I’d love to say that the team that wins conference is only going to have two losses, but it could easily be three or four.”
McKenzie Johnson led the Pirates with 12 points, with Mady Draak chipping in with 10. Emma Nagel and Reagan McIntyre each added eight points.
Draak began the game with a pair of easy buckets and Bay Port was off and running. Just over halfway through the first half, the Pirates had an 18-point lead. It would pretty much maintain that margin all the way to intermission, leading 29-8 at the break. McIntyre scored all eight of her points in the opening 18 minutes.
“We came out on fire on the defensive and offensive ends,” added Coleman. “I was very happy with the way they started. We did have a small time where we dropped the intensity, but overall we did well. We do need to take care of the ball. We had 18 turnovers and that’s way too many for my liking.”
The Pirates did an excellent job of making the extra pass all evening – especially in the paint – which led to a number of easy baskets.
After the slow start by Preble (5-7, 3-7), the Hornets were outscored just 37-29 the rest of the way.
All 12 players in uniform for Bay Port played, with foreign exchange student Nela Merxauerova still sitting out with an ankle sprain.
Grace Krause pulled down eight rebounds. Draak and Nagel had seven apiece. The Pirates out-rebounded the Hornets by a 38-20 margin.
A big discrepancy came at the free-throw line – Bay Port shot 16-of-20 (80 percent), while Preble was just 3-of-6.
The Pirates return to action Tuesday, Jan. 16, when they host Green Bay Southwest (8-5, 6-3) in another FRCC game.
Preble: 8, 22 – 30
Bay Port: 29, 27 – 56
BP: Coughlin 3, Arbour 2, A. Tingley 3, Abel 6, McIntyre 8, Johnson 12, Nagel 8, Draak 10, Draghicchio 4.