Bay girls NSC hopes take hit as offense struggles in 23-20 loss to Cedarburg
Dukes now two games back of Bulldogs
Whitefish Bay - Friday evening's girls basketball game between Whitefish Bay and the visiting Bulldogs from Cedarburg was just as close as expected, with the Bulldogs coming out on top, but no one expected the relatively low 23-20 score.
"Both of our teams at times were looking to run our offense, and run it through, so we knew it was going to be a low scoring game, but I didn't expect it to be this low," Cedarburg head coach Dave Ross said.
Coach Greg Capper from Whitefish Bay agreed.
"Last year we won a game at Grafton, 26-23. That was the lowest scoring game that I've been a part of until this one."
With the victory, Cedarburg stretched its lead in the North Shore Conference to an all-important two games as the Bulldogs are now 8-1 in league and 12-3 overall. Meanwhile, Bay, a tri-champion in the NSC a year ago, fell into a tie for second with Nicolet at 6-3 in conference contests. Both teams are also 9-7 overall.
The Blue Dukes would have pulled into a tie for the conference lead with a win.
And the opportunities were there for Bay as the final few minutes of the fourth quarter were nerve-wracking for both teams, and were as close and defensive as the entire game had been.
Cedarburg's Kylee Marks, who led the game with nine points, was fouled midway through the fourth quarter after freshman Allie Barber fed the ball to her inside. She scored one of her two free throws to give Cedarburg a 22-17 lead.
Paige Kerwin and Maya Jonas of Bay both scored a free throw each to cut Cedarburg's lead to three with less than a minute to go. The theme of making one free throw and missing the other continued as first Cedarburg's only senior, Tori Riechers, and then Bay's Kerwin, each scored a free throw, making the score 23-20.
With four seconds to go in the game, Cedarburg failed to inbound the ball securely, and the Blue Dukes had a chance to tie on the Bulldogs' side of the court, but a last-second 3-point attempt didn't fall for the Dukes, and Cedarburg hung on for the win.
Capper observed, "Our defense was good enough, our rebounding was good enough, but our ball security stunk, and taking and making good shots was not good either, so that's why we feel we lost the game."
Travels, you can't have; double dribbles, you can't have; you can't throw passes away. Good teams have a minimum of three people who can score on a regular basis, and tonight we didn't have that."
Ross had similar observations.
"Early, I thought that we missed a lot of shots that were fairly easy shots. They were open shots but they just didn't fall, but as the game wore on, they were actually working the ball because the game was close and that's Whitefish Bay's style. They're going to try to control the game and we actually were doing the same thing so there weren't as many shots going up."
Defense and failed shots were the themes of the game. Both teams implemented a full-court press during the game, and by the end of the second quarter, there had been at least half a dozen shots from both teams that went in and out of the hoop, but while offense was struggling, both defenses were impressive.
Bay's Abi Harper had a number of steals and interceptions throughout the game, and in the third quarter, Cedarburg's freshman standout Allie Barber stood squarely in the Blue Dukes' way. Midway through the third quarter, she came up with a big block and was subsequently fouled on the other end. She was the only player of the night to sink both of her free throws.
"When Allie's in there, she cleans everything up," Ross said. "She blocked shots, and was a huge factor in the game. She had four or five blocks that were two feet away from baskets. She saved us ten points."
"It was all about defense," Barber said. "It was a very low scoring game so we had to keep our cool and keep playing good defense and Whitefish Bay played good defense, too."
Bay will look to keep its NSC hopes alive this week with a pair of home games against Milwaukee Lutheran (held Tuesday) and against Port Washington at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
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