Knights rough up Whitefish Bay
In archrival basketball matchup, Nicolet comes away with 42-38 victory
With both coming off of disappointing losses on Dec. 7, the Nicolet and Whitefish Bay boys basketball teams both needed wins in a big way when the area rivals matched up on Friday.
It was the visiting youthful and hungry Knights that came away with the "W" as they pulled out a gritty, messy, defensive-minded 42-38 decision over the Blue Dukes.
"We're definitely pleased to come out of here with a win," said Nicolet coach Paul Hepp, whose team lost for the first time this season on Dec. 7 to Kenosha Bradford. "It wasn't a pretty thing. Both teams turned the ball over to one another on a regular basis. We had the lead for most of the game but they (the Blue Dukes) kept battling.
"So we'll take it and run."
The win pushed the Knights to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the North Shore, while the Blue Dukes, who also fell to Wauwatosa East, 64-46, on Dec. 7, are a disappointing 1-4 and 0-1, respectively. They had entered the season as one of the favorites in the NSC.
"We have a young backcourt yet and it's going to take time (for them to develop)," said Bay coach Kevin Lazovik. "They have to know that they'll see competition like this all the time (in the North Shore)."
It had to be disappointing for Lazovik to see how the Nicolet game ended.
Nicolet had bolted to a 22-11 lead in the first half. The Knights had control most of the second half with a six- to eight-point advantage, but the Blue Dukes got it down to one with about three minutes to go. The Knights' Corey Smith hit two free throws to punch the lead back up to three.
Later still, Christian Griggs-Williams hit one of two tosses for Nicolet to keep the advantage at three. It was then the Blue Dukes' chances took a big hit as they missed two free throws and the Knights were subsequently able to hang on.
Griggs-Williams led a balanced Nicolet effort with 12 points, while Raheem Lemons had 11 and Smith 10. Bay was paced by Cal Ehrke and Jamie Schneck with 14 points apiece.
Hepp said that his young team has a long ways to go, but noted that this was a good step forward.
"We'll always take a conference road game win, especially against an archrival," he said. "Those kinds of wins are always special."
DEC. 7 RESULTS
Ken. Bradford 54, Nicolet 49: The overtime loss in the Knights' home opener was bitter as the Red Devils outscored Nicolet 11-6 in the extra session. The game went back-and-forth as Smith had 17 and Lemons, 12. Nicolet will host Grafton at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
"You never want to lose two games in a row in a week," said Hepp. "So to come back and find a way to win on Friday was big."
Wauwatosa East 64, Whitefish Bay 46: The Blue Dukes held a 37-35 lead midway through the third quarter before the host Red Raiders went on a 17-0 run to take the lead for good. Tight, halfcourt defensive pressure forced Bay into over 20 turnovers. Schneck had 13 points to lead Bay. The Blue Dukes will visit Port Washington on Friday.
"We did not respond well when they picked up the defensive pressure," Lazovik said. "We'll have to work on that and I'll have to do a better job of preparing them for those kind of situations."
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