Streak busters: Bay Port one win away from state
BY RICH PALZEWIC
KIMBERLY – The Bay Port girls’ basketball team is one win away from reaching the WIAA D1 state tournament after a 54-38 victory over Hamilton March 1 at Kimberly High School.
The sectional semi win over the Chargers sets up a showdown with No. 1 seed Arrowhead (23-2) March 3 at Sheboygan North High School. A win would send the No. 2 seeded Pirates (20-5) to the state tournament for the first time since 2000.
“It’s exciting,” said Bay Port head coach Kati Coleman, who understandably couldn’t erase the smile off her face after the win. “(Assistant coach) Dennis (Gladwell) came in after the game and said this team is the streak breakers. We broke the conference streak, the sectionals streak and (Hamilton) had a 13-game winning streak that we broke. We just need to continue moving on. I still think we can play better, though.”
The Pirates won their first-ever Fox River Classic Conference title – and first overall title since 2004 when they were a part of the Bay – and made it to sectionals for the first time since 2008 after a regional finals win over Kettle Moraine Feb. 24.
The Pirates played a superb defensive game in forcing 23 Chargers’ turnovers and holding them to a 33 percent night from the floor (15-of-46). In comparison, Bay Port had 17 turnovers and shot 44 percent (19-43).
“We are a good defensive team,” Coleman said. “Before the season I thought we would score a lot of our points from our defense. We can also score in the half-court, but a win like this shows how bad the girls wanted it and how competitive they are.”
Emma Nagel led Bay Port with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Mady Draak chipped in with 12. Alaina Abel and Reagan McIntyre added eight points each.
Hamilton jumped out to a quick 5-2 lead, but Bay Port quickly changed the momentum shortly thereafter and never trailed again. The Pirates ended the first half with a 25-9 surge to take a 27-14 lead into the break. Draak had 10 points in the first 18 minutes, while Nagel had six. McKenzie Johnson had a big three near the end of the half to give Bay Port that 13-point cushion.
The Chargers came out fired up to begin the second half and cut the deficit to 27-20 after they scored the first six points. The Pirates’ Peyton Coughlin stopped the bleeding with a jumper as part of 6-0 Bay Port run, only to see Hamilton cut it back down to seven (37-30). Senior Sofia Draghicchio hit a big three to bump the lead back to 10 and the Pirates were never threatened again, ending the game by outscoring the Chargers 14-6 over the last eight minutes of the contest.
Draak went down with a left ankle injury at the 16:29 mark of the second half and had to be helped off the court. A few minutes later she could be seen getting her ankle taped, but re-entered with 8:14 remaining and scored another bucket as part of her big night.
“I haven’t watched a ton of tape on Arrowhead, but they are big,” added Coleman. “I seriously think there’s something in the water down there – every year they just reload. They have a couple of girls on the inside that can do some damage and they have a handful of girls that can literally walk across half court and shoot it. It won’t be easy – they are very well coached and disciplined. We will have to have an almost error-free game on Saturday.”
Hamilton: 14, 24 – 38
Bay Port: 27, 27 – 54
BP: Nagel 13, Draak 12, Abel 8, Johnson 5, McIntyre 8, Krause 1, Draghicchio 5, Coughlin 2.