Kalli Murphy came up big on the offensive end and Elaina LaMacchia and others on the defensive end for the Cedarburg girls basketball team in a 51-39 victory over Grafton on Jan. 13.

Murphy scored 21 points and pulled down seven rebounds, seemingly making big plays every time they were needed.

LaMacchia led the defensive effort against Grafton's Hannah Belanger, who finished with 16 points but was not able to dominate as she had in some previous games.

"We played a little diamond-and-one (defense)," Cedarburg coach Dave Ross said. "We couldn't have Belanger get 31, and she still made some incredible shots. She's such a good player that really, you have to have two players on her, which we had most of the time."

Tough defense

LaMacchia shadowed Belanger for much of the game. She only scored 2 points, but appropriately, they came off one of her two steals.

"She's a Division 1 athlete," Ross said of LaMacchia. "A couple of times, she jumped some passes, and nobody was going to catch her. I like having that type of player who isn't really concerned about scoring a bunch of points but rather doing all the dirty work. She's a nice player."

Grafton coach Mike Grzesiak praised Cedarburg's defense but also thought his team could have done better offensively.

"I just think we didn't execute on the offensive end as we had prepared for the last few days," he said. "We had a pretty good game plan in, but we just didn't execute it. They played tough defense; I'll give Cedarburg credit for that. Did they frustrate us? I don't think so."

Murphy scored 7 early points to put Cedarburg up 14-11; then Belanger netted two free throws to make it a 1-point game.

Cedarburg closed the first half on an 8-point run, with Shannyn Block hitting four free throws, Kennedy Ross a basket and Murphy a shot off an assist from Ross, to go up 22-13.

Morgan Wallace scored 6 quick points on a driving three-point play and a 3-pointer from the corner to give her team a 31-18 advantage.

Grafton used a pair of 3-pointers from freshman Mya Masse to come within 33-29.

" We have a young team," Grzesiak said, "and I told the kids everyone needs to be an offensive threat and to be able to shoot and score, and they are starting to figure that out now, but they need to do it on a more consistent basis."

Ross netted a 3-pointer to build the Bulldogs' lead, and later, Murphy scored on a driving shot off an inbounds pass, was fouled and hit the free throw for a 43-32 lead.

"We were trying to get her to establish post position and feed her," coach Ross said. "She really finished well tonight. I thought she had a really nice game."

Belanger hit a 3-pointer to trim the margin to 8 points, but Grafton came no closer the rest of the way.

Good balance

Block finished with 10 points and six rebounds; Ross with 9 points, three assists and two steals; and Wallace 7 points. For Grafton, Lexi Hilgart tallied 8 points and Masse 6 points.

Cedarburg (5-1 in the North Shore Conference and 9-4 overall going into this week) plays at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, at Homestead.

Grafton (2-4, 6-5) takes on Whitefish Bay at 7:15 p.m. Friday at home and visits West Bend East at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24.