Settling in

Veteran Grafton girls finding their game in two straight victories
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

Outside shooting and defensive intensity helped lead the Grafton High School girls’ basketball team to two North Shore Conference victories last week.

Last Friday, the Black Hawks knocked off pesky West Bend East on the road, 66-43.

Senior Lexi Hilgart led the Hawks with 19 points, going 7-for-12 from the field, including 4-for-7 on three-pointers.

“It was nice to see Lexi get that confidence in her shot. She got that rhythm in this game. It was nice to see her smile coming back to the bench,” coach Matt D’Amato said.

Senior Julia Place added 14 on 6-for-11 shooting, including two three-pointers.

“Julia is incredibly consistent. She takes smart shots, high-percentage shots and she has great form,” D’Amato said.

 Senior point guard Mya Masse scored 11 points in going 5-for-6 from the field. D’Amato said she stopped several Suns’ runs in the second half by driving to the basket when the opportunity arose.

“She showed senior leadership in settling things down,” he said.

After a slow start in the first couple of minutes, the Hawks used a big first-half run, something like 23-2, to jump out to a 35-13 halftime lead, D’amato said.

“Lexi Hilgart and Mya Masse did a really good job getting deflections and steals,” he said.

Down low against the Suns’ strong and physical post play, Ella Day stood out, although it won’t show up in statistics.

“She definitely worked hard down there,” D’Amato said.

The Hawks had an assist on every basket in the first half — “phenomenal ball movement,” D’Amato said.

In the second half, the Suns came back.

“They were applying pressure and it gave us a lot of trouble,” D’Amato said.

The Hawks eventually regained their momentum, figured out how to break the press and hit their free throws down the stretch.

“It showed a lot of good mental strength on our team,” D’Amato said.

On Dec. 3 at home, the Hawks jumped out to a 33-17 halftime lead against rival Cedarburg on the way to a 58-38 victory.

“The press worked early. We got a lot of deflections and steals,” D’Amato said.

Six Hawks scored at least six points and nobody had more than nine.

“We wanted to make sure that we had an up-tempo game, and there were some players who stepped up to the challenge defensively. They brought some aggressive play to that side of the ball,” D’Amato said.

D’Amato praised Halena Gehrke for her work on both ends of the floor. Her focus on defense was to guard Claire Diener and nobody else.

“She really embraced the role and it was a great defensive effort,” D’Amato said.

Diener scored a game-high 15 points but only shot 3-for-11 on three-pointers.

Gehrke scored six points on 3-for-7 from the field and added eight rebounds

Ellie Grisar scored nine, going 3-for-4 on three-pointers. Allison Garncarz and Place each had eight. Masse scored seven with a team-high four assists and Hilgart scored five.

“Everybody on the team is capable of scoring and scoring in bunches. It’s a nice problem to have. It’s getting them to feel comfortable shooting,” D’Amato said.

The Hawks, 2-1 in the North Shore Conference and 3-1 overall, were scheduled to host Homestead (2-1) on Tuesday, play at Whitefish Bay (1-2) on Friday and host Hartford on Tuesday, Dec. 17

 

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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