The seniors, left to right: Amber Dreier, Tyniqua Smith, Sofia Draghicchio, Alexis Tingley and Grace Van Egeren.
BY RICH PALZEWIC
SUAMICO – This night belonged to the seniors.
On an emotional evening for basketball, the five seniors on the Bay Port girls’ team – Alexis Tingley, Grace Van Egeren, Sofia Draghicchio, Tyniqua Smith and manager Amber Dreier – were honored after the Pirates’ disposed of the Manitowoc Lincoln Ships in a 76-34 victory Jan. 30 at Bay Port High School
The Fox River Classic Conference victory pushed the Pirates (14-3 overall, 11-2 FRCC) to the top of the league standings after No. 7 ranked Notre Dame (13-4, 10-3) shockingly lost to Green Bay Preble. With five FRCC games left to play, Bay Port is looking to win its first conference title since 2004 when they were members of the Bay Conference.
“It’s always emotional when you realize an era is coming to an end,” said Bay Port head coach Kati Coleman, who thanked the seniors and parents after the game for their years of service to the program. “This group of girls is something special. Each one has their own journey – they couldn’t be more different. I’m so blessed to have been able to coach them this year.”
The five seniors started the game, with Van Egeren making the first bucket of the night off a Dreier assist. Van Egeren has missed the entire season thus far after tearing the ACL in her left knee on July 23 of last year.
Tingley (10), Draghicchio (5) and Smith (2) all found the scoring column as well.
As for the game itself, the Pirates led 33-21 after a sloppy first half, but came out of the gates fast after intermission with a 24-4 run to put the game away.
“Very sloppy,” added Coleman about the first 18 minutes. “We couldn’t really get into a groove. Manitowoc out-hustled us and got into our heads. We could have played a lot better. There’s no reason they should have had 21 points in the first half and then to score 10 points in a three-minute span – that can’t happen. It’s only going to get tougher from here on out and we have to come with our best foot forward.”
Both Emma Nagel and Mady Draak had huge nights for Bay Port, as Nagel pumped in 19 points and hauled down 11 rebounds, while Draak also had a double-double with her 12 points and 10 boards.
Like Tingley, McKenzie Johnson had 10 points, with Alaina Abel chipping in with nine. Grace Krause added five rebounds and five assists.
Bay Port had nearly twice as many rebounds as the Ships (41-22) and half as many turnovers (14-24).
The Pirates have a key FRCC matchup Saturday, Feb. 3, when they host De Pere (11-6, 9-5) in a 7:00 game.