Bay Port wins elusive regional title
BY RICH PALZEWIC
SUAMICO – It may have taken the Bay Port girls’ basketball team 10 years, but it was worth the wait.
The Pirates’ 64-38 victory over Kettle Moraine Feb. 24 at Bay Port High School secured their first WIAA D1 regional title since 2008.
The No. 2 seeded Pirates (19-5) moved on to sectionals where they will play No. 3 Hamilton Thursday, March 1, at Kimberly High School. Hamilton beat Sheboygan North, 47-33.
“I’m pretty emotional,” said Bay Port head coach Kati Coleman, whose team had lost in the regional finals each of the last three years prior. “When I see people cry, I’ll almost always cry. What I can tell you is that it’s so much nicer to leave that locker room with a room full of smiles than tears. I’m also excited to spend another week with these girls. I think we did a lot of good things tonight. The scary this is, I don’t think we have tapped into our full potential yet.”
The Pirates took a quick 5-0 lead 50 seconds into the game on a three by Alaina Abel and a Mady Draak bucket after a steal. Leading just 11-10 seven minutes in, Bay Port outscored the Lasers 18-11 the rest of the way to take a 29-21 lead into the break.
Abel poured in 10 points in the opening 18 minutes, while McKenzie Johnson – who was celebrating her birthday – had seven in the first half. Reagan McIntyre – who finished with seven points and nine rebounds – came up huge defensively with her aggressive style and tenacious work on the boards.
“Reagan played the best game I’ve seen her ever play,” added Coleman. “The funny thing – when the girls play that well that becomes my expectation. She is a special kid. She’s not looking to be the leading scorer – she doesn’t have to fill that stat line – but she’ll get the 50/50 balls, get deflections and do the things that don’t get recognized in the paper. She knows her role and she played it to a T tonight.”
Like the previous night, a big second half propelled the Pirates to a comfortable margin of victory, where they led start to finish.
Abel finished with 14, while Johnson added 12. Mady Draak and Emma Nagel scored 10, and 9 points respectively. Draak and Nagel each had a game-high 10 rebounds for Bay Port, who out-rebounded the Lasers by a 44-17 margin.
The Pirates shot 47 percent (28-60) compared to Kettle Moraine’s 31 percent (13-42).
The regional crown comes on the heels of Bay Port winning its first-ever Fox River Classic Conference title and first title overall since 2004 when they were members of the Bay Conference.
Note: The FRCC came into existence during the 2007-08 school year.
Kettle Moraine: 21, 17 – 38
Bay Port: 29, 35 – 64
BP: Abel 14, Nagel 9, Coughlin 6, Draak 10, Krause 2, Johnson 12, McIntyre 7, Nolle 2, Kitslaar 2; 3-pt: Abel 1, Johnson 1.
Check back soon for the full game report …