Pirates’ season ends one game short of state
Bay Port’s Alaina Abel (left) and Grace Krause play defense in the Pirates’ 49-34 loss to Arrowhead in the WIAA D1 sectional finals March 3 at Sheboygan North High School.
BY RICH PALZEWIC
SHEBOYGAN – The Bay Port girls’ basketball team saw its magical run toward the state tournament finally end.
The Pirates couldn’t keep up in a 49-34 loss to No. 2 state ranked Arrowhead in the WIAA D1 sectional finals March 3 at Sheboygan North High School.
Bay Port (20-6) was looking to get back to the state tournament for the first time since 2000.
“I told the girls they can’t look at this last game and remember this as their season,” said Bay Port head coach Kati Coleman. “Unfortunately you always remember your last game. Being one game away from state, these girls will always remember this and use it as motivation for next season. State will always be their goal.”
Bay Port couldn’t overcome a slow start in which it had 13 first-half turnovers. Despite that, the Pirates trailed by just seven at the break (25-18). Bay Port would end the game with 25 turnovers total.
Mady Draak – coming off a left ankle sprain in the sectional semis – had seven points in the first 18 minutes, but picked up her third foul late in the opening half, and eventually fouled out.
The Warhawks (24-2) ended the half with a 5-0 burst in the last two minutes.
“We have been up-and-down with our turnovers all year,” Coleman said. “We play a fast-paced game, so you’re going to get some turnovers with that. I just think game jitters with young kids played a factor.”
Arrowhead began the second half with a 16-4 spurt to take a 41-22 lead, only to see Bay Port go on its own 8-0 to cut the deficit to 11. Emma Nagel scored six during the surge, but the Warhawks regained control from there.
Draak had 11 points and eight rebounds, while Nagel added 10 points.
Despite the loss, the future looks bright for the Pirates, as all five starters – Nagel, Alaina Abel, Draak, McKenzie Johnson and Grace Krause – will be back next season. Add in Reagan McIntyre, Peyton Coughlin, other members of the varsity team and some younger talent from the JV squad, and Bay Port should be right back at this point – or further – again next season.
“You try to just take in the moment,” Coleman said. “The seniors are such a special group to me – they were freshmen during my first season. I’m going to miss them, but I am excited for the future.”
The seniors are Grace Van Egeren, Sofia Draghicchio, Alexis Tingley, Taz Smith and manager Amber Dreier.
The Pirates won their first-ever FRCC title – and first title since 2004 as members of the Bay Conference – and first regional title since 2008. Bay Port was picked to finish seventh in the preseason conference poll, so doubters were plenty.
Was Coleman surprised her team got this far?
“In some of the games we played this season I’d say, yes, I was surprised me made it this far,” she added. “But knowing the girls and what we had, I wasn’t surprised at all.”
Bay Port: 18, 16 – 34
Arrowhead: 25, 24 – 49
BP: Draak 11, Nagel 10, Coughlin 2, Arbour 2, Abel 2, Johnson 5, Krause 2.