Bay Port survives in overtime; advances to sectional finals
By Rich Palzewic
SCHOFIELD – For the third season in a row, the Bay Port girls’ basketball team is heading to the WIAA Division 1 sectional finals.
Trailing by a point with 7.2 seconds remaining in regulation, Bay Port’s Emma Krueger hit one of two free throws to tie the game, before the No. 1-seeded Pirates beat No. 5 Stevens Point in overtime, 47-38.
The Pirates outscored the Panthers in extra time, 10-1.
“It feels good,” said Bay Port head coach Kati Coleman, whose team improved to 23-2 overall. “It seemed we couldn’t buy a basket to save our life, but we chipped away and made it work when we needed to.”
Bay Port advanced to the sectional finals Saturday, March 7, where it will face No. 2 Kimberly (20-4) at Green Bay West High School with a trip to state on the line.
The sectional final was originally scheduled to be played at Kimberly, but WIAA rules say a participating team cannot host a sectional game.
The Papermakers defeated Green Bay Preble in the other sectional semifinal, 62-55.
“Kimberly is always a challenge,” said Coleman. “They will be out for blood. We need to play our game and one possession at a time. They don’t do anything crazy. We’ll rest up, watch the film and be ready for Saturday.”
The Pirates defeated the Papermakers in the state semifinals a season ago.
Against Point, the Pirates shot only 27 percent (17-of-63) from the field and 3-of-24 from beyond the three-point line.
Bay Port held Leah Earnest, a Division I commit to Valparaiso University, to 19 points.
She came into the contest averaging 28.2 points and 14 rebounds per game but fouled out at the end of regulation.
“Earnest is a player you’re not going to keep under 10 points,” Coleman said. “You have to keep her contained and make her work to get her points.”
Halfway through the second half, Bay Port held a 32-24 lead, but the Panthers jumped ahead 37-36 with under 15 seconds remaining in the game.
Krueger, who ended with 12 points, drove the lane on the ensuing possession and was fouled by Earnest.
The sophomore guard missed the first free throw but made the second.
With Earnest on the bench for overtime, Bay Port’s Alaina Abel scored five points to help seal the win.
The Pirates held a 22-21 lead at halftime.
Abel, Raegan McIntyre and McKenzie Johnson all ended with nine points, while Mady Draak was the only other Bay Port player to score with her eight points.
McIntyre grabbed 11 rebounds, while Krueger pulled down 10.
Abel added five steals and five assists.
“It’s cool to be back in the sectional finals,” said McIntyre. “We didn’t want this to be our last game. In overtime, it helped Earnest was out, but we showed good energy. It will be a good game with Kimberly, and we are excited to play a team we played at state last season. It’ll be a big challenge for us.”