Late Bay 3-pointer puts crimp in Germantown girls' NSC plans
Hawks fall to third in league standings
The first words out of Whitefish By girls basketball coach Greg Capper's mouth following the Blue Dukes' dramatic 58-57 road win over host Germantown Friday night were this:
"That's exactly the way we drew it up."
And returning NOW All-Suburban center and author of the winning baseline 3-pointer with two seconds to go Maya Jonas, mostly agreed with her coach's assessment.
"It was actually to look for anyone that was open," she said of the play that began with just 8.9 seconds to go and Germantown up 57-55. "... And when I let it go I thought it was way short and then (when it went in) I went 'Oh my.' and thought we can't let them pick up the ball and score!"
Germantown could only get off a rushed halfcourt heave at the buzzer.
Bay guard Ava Stock, who inbounded the ball to Jonas, never had a doubt.
"We can always count on Maya," she said with a laugh.
And the rest of the Blue Dukes are now happy that is the case because Jonas was actually playing only her third game of the season for Bay (6-2 in the North Shore and 9-6 overall) after undergoing knee surgery back in May.
And because of Jonas' work and because of her return, the Blue Dukes now have a critical North Shore win that keeps them just a game back of North Shore leader Cedarburg (7-1, 10-3), which was a winner over Grafton on Friday. Meanwhile, Germantown fell to 5-3 and 11-4 overall.
Having had their seven-game winning streak broken, the Warhawks will be at home against Grafton on Friday and visit league-leader Cedarburg on Jan. 29.
"... We just wanted to give ourselves a chance," Capper said, "and we wanted it in the hands in one of our best three outside shooters (including Stock and Jonas). I tell you, these kids worked so hard in preparation for this game. It meant a lot that they could absorb the energy and handle the hoopla."
The game was a stark turn of events from an early season rout the Blue Dukes had visited upon Germantown and was a vast offensive improvement for Bay from Jan. 11 when border rival Nicolet held it to just 24 points in Jonas' return.
For Warhawks coach Matt Stuve it was a frustrating turn of events. His team had trailed the Blue Dukes since early in the first quarter by as much as 11 before eventually tying the game at 55 on Taylor Higginbotham's 3-pointer with 2 minutes to go.
Both teams subsequently squandered attempts to take the lead, until the Warhawks' Courtney Mehring hit one-of-two free throws with 47 seconds left. Bay then missed three close-in shots before Higginbotham made one-of-two free throws with 13 seconds to go to give Germantown a 57-55 advantage.
"We kept attacking and attacking," Germantown coach Matt Stuve said, "but if we hit a few more free throws we could have had a four-point lead (down those final seconds) and that's a lot easier to defend than a two-point advantage.
"We just opened the door for them a little bit."
Stock and Jonas were happy to step through that door.
Germantown would hit only 10-of-17 free throws on the night as opposed to seven of 10 for Bay.
The Warhawks were led by Mehring with 16 points as Higginbotham had 14 points, all in the second half, and Bridget Kelley seven.
"It would have been human nature to hang our heads after being down for so long," Stuve said, "but the kids kept fighting back even as the margin grew wider.
"And I can't say enough about the play of Taylor (Higginbotham) in the second half. She just put us on her back. She just willed us back and was the best player of the floor.
"... If we play with that fourth-quarter intensity like we did tonight all the time, we'll be hard to beat."
Capper, Jonas and company would like to keep that same status for themselves. The Blue Dukes were led by forward Ashley Reed with 19 points, while Abi Harper had 11, Paige Kerwin 10 and Jamie Talbert and Jonas six each.
"You've got to be careful about poking your head out of the foxhole," said Capper of his team's narrow escape, "because this conference is just so tough right now."
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