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Pirates finish fast in victory over Tritons

By Rich Palzewic
Sports Editor

SUAMICO – The Bay Port girls’ basketball team started its game with Green Bay Notre Dame slowly but ended it with a flurry in a 57-41 Fox River Classic Conference victory Jan. 18 at Bay Port High School.

With the Pirates (15-0 overall, 11-0 FRCC) leading just 36-33 with six minutes remaining, they finished with a 21-7 surge to turn a close game into a comfortable win.

“Notre Dame is always hard to play,” said Bay Port head coach Kati Coleman. “Sara gets her girls to play hard. She has an expectation and she’s a proven winner. You never know what they will throw at you. We called a time out (with six minutes remaining) and said it’s our time. We needed to get buckets and stops, and that’s what we did.”

Bay Port’s Emma Nagel had her most complete game of the season in scoring 16 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. She also added six steals and three blocks.

“I got so many steals because my teammates had such good ball pressure,” said Nagel. “I had the easy part of stealing the ball. There’s no doubt that Notre Dame is a good team, but I think when we Bay Port defense, we are a tough team to beat.”

The 6-foot junior also impressed Notre Dame head coach Sara Rohde.

“Nagel does everything,” said Rohde, whose team fell to 7-8 overall and 6-5 in the FRCC. “I think her and (Alaina) Abel are the keys to their team. Emma wants the ball and goes and gets it. She always makes a play for them and anticipates really well. She’s a tough matchup for teams because she does so many things well. She’s a good player.”

With the game tied at 14 late in the first half, the Pirates ended the first 18 minutes with a 12-3 run to turn the tie into a 26-17 halftime lead.

Abel (12), McKenzie Johnson (8) and Mady Draak (8) also had solid offensive games for Bay Port, which saw eight players hit the scoring column.

Sammy Opichka led the Tritons with 12 points, while Georgia Gregoire added 11.

“It was a three-point game with six minutes to go,” added Rohde. “We need to figure out how to finish those games. Bay Port is a really tough and a balanced team – they are physical and out-rebounded us. We can’t give up 14 second-half chance points. We didn’t take care of the ball at the end and obviously broke down on defense. We’ve been playing better as of late, but we have things to work on.”

The Pirates are in uncharted waters as a program, but according to Coleman, the girls are taking it all in stride.

“I don’t think they are feeling any pressure,” added Coleman. “This group as a whole has won a lot of games. They know what it’s like to win and they know what it’s like to lose. And I can tell you – I think they hate losing more than they love winning.”

Box score

Notre Dame: 17, 24 – 41
Bay Port: 26, 31 – 57

Notre Dame: Sammy Opichka 12, Georgia Gregoire 11, Emily Cribben 6, Charley Apple 5, Sarah Hardwick 4, Maggie Gallagher 2, Ashley Lemens 1.

Bay Port: Emma Nagel 16, Alaina Abel 12, Mady Draak 8, McKenzie Johnson 8, Peyton Coughlin 4, Emma Krueger 3, Grace Krause 3, Reagan McIntyre 3.


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