After being held to a season-low 19 points in a December loss at Whitefish Bay, the Grafton girlsâ€™ basketball team had to wait nearly two months for a shot at payback.
Although the Black Hawks didnâ€™t exactly burn up the scoreboard, they regained their shooting touch enough to scorch Bay, 43-37, in a North Shore Conference rematch last Friday.
Grafton never trailed but had to withstand a fourth-quarter rally by the Blue Dukes that pulled them within one point with five minutes left.
Junior forward Amanda Hunt went 7-for-8 at the free-throw line in the final period to help seal the victory.
â€śWe didnâ€™t turn the ball over like we did in the first game against them, and that was a big difference,â€ť said Grafton coach Steve Reinhardt, whose team improved its conference record to 7-5.
â€śWe also stepped up defensively and didnâ€™t give up many open shots.â€ť
The Hawks, who were coming off a two-point loss at Nicolet the previous Friday, held a 22-13 lead at halftime and took a 28-25 edge into the fourth quarter.
After the Dukes cut the margin to 30-29, Grafton responded with a decisive charge. Hunt made a pair of free throws and, following a Bay turnover, guard Haley Orlowski hit a three-point shot that put the Hawks up, 35-29, with 4:42 left.
Bay never got closer than four points the rest of the way.
Orlowski finished with a game-high 16 points after going scoreless against Nicolet. Hunt had only one basket but contributed 13 points, including an 11-for-13 effort on foul shots.
â€śThey both had big games for us,â€ť Reinhardt said.
â€śI told Haley she had to score. She stepped up and took advantage of her opportunities.â€ť
Bay, which fell to 8-4 and into a three-way tie for second place in NSC play, was led by Maya Jonas with 12 points. The junior forward had eight fourth-quarter points.
â€śEvery win is big, but this should give us a bit of confidence,â€ť Reinhardt said.
â€śOther than beating Cedarburg (in the conference opener Nov. 30), we hadnâ€™t had a signature win. We finally got one.â€ť
Grafton was scheduled to play a pair of home games this week, starting against Hartford on Tuesday. On Friday, the Hawks will face Milwaukee Lutheran at 7:30 p.m.
Image Information: GUARD HALEY ORLOWSKI scored a game-high 16 points in Graftonâ€™s 43-37 win over Whitefish Bay last Friday. Photo by Sam Arendt