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Blue Dukes girls get defensive and earn share of North Shore lead

Port, Lutheran no match for Bay's intensity

Dec. 17, 2012

Whitefish Bay - Style points, shmile points.

In the eyes of Whitefish Bay girls basketball coach Greg Capper, the two wins the short-handed Blue Dukes pulled out last week to stay in a three-way tie for the North Shore Conference lead, were things of beauty.

"Defense is everything in girls basketball," he said, "because sometimes scoring is hard. There are great players out there who will occasionally put up some numbers on you, but you still have to play defense, rebound and take care of the ball to win.

"Admittedly, we haven't spent a lot of time on shooting practice, but we have allowed the kids to look at good shots and take them. Eventually, our offense will catch up with our defense."

But for the time being, Capper will take the results that he is getting, as the Blue Dukes stifled Milwaukee Lutheran, 43-17, on Dec. 11 and then did essentially the same thing in a 41-16 triumph over Port Washington on Friday.

With the victories, Bay improved to 3-1 in North Shore play, good for a tie with Nicolet and Cedarburg for the NSC lead and 4-4 overall. They have an important league game at home Friday against Grafton (2-2 in league) and then entertain powerful village rival Dominican at 5 p.m. Saturday in their final preholiday contest.

Capper knows what game he's putting emphasis on.

"Our conference title will come down to the last couple of weeks," he said, "because on any given night, most of the teams can come into your place and beat you badly if you're not careful."

Capper is still optimistic that at some point during the stretch run, he will have returning All-Suburban center Maya Jonas back. Jonas has been working very hard at recovering from spring knee surgery. No one is putting any rush on her recovery though, Capper noted.

"But she has been just relentless in her rehabilitation work," he said.

Almost as relentless as the Bay defense. The Blue Dukes actually scored in double digits in all four quarters against Port on Friday, as it was 10-3 at the quarter and 20-6 at the half.

The Pirates were never able to make the Blue Dukes sweat, as Ava Stock had 11 points and Paige Kerwin 10, and Ashley Reed six. Stock hit two 3-pointers during her effort.

"Our defense was up to snuff again," Capper said. "All of our kids understand their roles and how hard they have to play on every possession. Coachability and listening skills are real strengths of this team. We're working hard to compete and win games."

It was much the same story in the Lutheran contest as Bay got out to a 10-4 lead at the quarter and 18-7 at the half. It took a 20-8 run in the fourth to make Capper really comfortable, however.

"In the fourth, we figured out that some really good defense can generate some offense," he said. "We're getting closer and closer (to getting better offensively)."

Stock had a huge night with 21 points including five 3-pointers as Jamie Talbert contributed nine.

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