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Strong defense keyed the Port Washington girls basketball team to two impressive North Shore Conference victories last week.

The Pirates downed Milwaukee Lutheran, 60-41, on Dec. 2 and stifled Nicolet, 49-10, on Nov. 29 to improve to 2-4 overall.

They had allowed an average of 62.5 points in the four previous contests.

"We went back to defense in practices last week," coach Jake Wahl said. "We really focused on it."

Port jumped in front of Nicolet 23-4 after one half and then held the Knights to 6 points in the second half.

Amanda Baierl paced the offense with 15 points, followed by Kate Lemkuil with 9 points and Karley Lehtikangas with 8 points.

In the victory over Lutheran, the Pirates held the Red Knights to 16 first-half points in taking control at 34-16.

Baierl again led the way with 19 points but had plenty of help. Lizzie Egan tallied 10 points, Lehtikangas 9 and Lemkuil and Ann Nuedling each 8 points for the Pirates, who hit 23 of 34 free throws.

Wahl was happy to see the balance on offense.

"Amanda did a good chunk of the scoring in previous years," he said, "but if we are to be as successful as we want to be and compete with teams, we need more balanced scoring."

Wahl said the sweep gives his team confidence that if it plays well, it can play with anyone.

Port next plays at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, at Whitefish Bay and then takes on Cedarburg at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13, at home.

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