Pirates turn back Trojans on emotional senior night
By Rich Palzewic
SUAMICO – There was more than a basketball game played Feb. 14 at Bay Port High School.
The five Bay Port seniors – Alaina Abel, McKenzie Johnson, Raegan McIntyre, Emma Nagel and Mady Draak – were honored on their home court for what they’ve accomplished in their careers.
Nagel, an all-stater who has missed most of the season with a torn posterior cruciate ligament in her right knee, suited up for the Pirates (20-1 overall, 16-1 Fox River Classic Conference) and was allowed to score the first two points of the game against Green Bay Southwest (13-7, 9-7).
After Arizona State commit Jaddan Simmons was also allowed to score a bucket on the other end of the floor for the Trojans, Nagel came out of the game.
The two head coaches, Bay Port’s Kati Coleman and Southwest’s Berri West, both agreed Nagel should score the first points of the game.
“Kati asked if I wanted to play tonight to end my basketball career,” said Nagel, who is a Division I soccer commit to Drake University. “It was nice because I knew when my last basketball game would be – it meant a lot to step on the court one last time.”
Nagel didn’t need surgery but won’t play again this season.
“I’d like to thank Southwest for allowing me to do this,” Nagel continued. “It’s not how a normal basketball game starts, but I respect them a lot. It was good closure for me.”
Nagel said she is optimistic about playing soccer this spring.
“The recovery is going well,” she said. “I’m done with therapy and now strengthening the muscles around my knee. There’s a good chance I’ll be on the soccer field this spring – I’m not done yet.”
With the 59-41 victory over the Trojans, the Pirates won their third consecutive FRCC title.
“Everyone was emotional,” said Coleman. “It brought back memories of what could have been. I’m glad Berri agreed to let it happen.”
West, in her first year as head coach at Southwest, said Nagel deserved the opportunity to suit up one last time.
“I’ve seen situations like this before,” she said. “I was all for it. I told my seniors, ‘You would know how this would feel.’ It was a huge thing for Emma to score a final bucket.”
Southwest jumped out to a 12-5 advantage 5 minutes into the game, but the Pirates went on a 13-0 run to grab an 18-12 lead.
Bay Port led 28-17 at the break with the help of Johnson’s 12, first-half points.
“A win after a tough loss is always nice,” Coleman said. “We still have a long way to go, though. We have things we need to continue to work on.”
Bay Port saw its perfect record end Jan. 11 in a 43-36 loss to Notre Dame Academy.
The Pirates began the second half with an 11-2 surge to put the game away.
“We had a nice start,” West said. “Our offense isn’t working so well when we are in foul trouble. We didn’t have the greatest night shooting the ball, but it ultimately comes down to our defense. Bay Port has some great shooters on its team. It wasn’t the game we wanted to play, but hopefully, we can learn things from it.”
Simmons led the Trojans with 15 points.
Johnson scored 17 for Bay Port, while Emma Krueger added 12.
Draak had a strong game with her 11 points and 13 rebounds.
“This senior class is special – there’s no denying that,” said Coleman. “I’ve been blessed to coach this group. As one dad has always told me, ‘Let the horses run.’ They make it easy and will be missed.”