A fast 10-0 start helped the Cedarburg girls basketball team take early control of its Feb. 3 game against Port Washington.
The Bulldogs enjoyed that type of start so much, they did it again at the beginning of the second half, outscoring the Pirates, 16-6, to blow open the game and go on their way to a 53-37 victory.
Kalli Murphy led the early charge, scoring 6 points in the 10-0 run and getting herself started toward a 16-point night.
"We went with some early offense," coach Dave Ross said, "and we really were looking for Murph over and over and over, so we were able to get her pinned down in some real good situations."
Port coach Jake Wahl said the early deficit created problems for his team.
"We got off to a slow start," he said, "and that makes a difference. It took us a while to get into the flow of things. We've got to start better and get into the game right away. We get off to a good start, we should play well down the stretch."
Ross hits 3s
Port's top scorer, Amanda Baierl, picked up two quick fouls and had to leave the game. The Bulldogs took full advantage, with Kennedy Ross nailing a pair of 3-point field goals to open up a 22-8 advantage.
Coach Ross said the 3-pointers by his daughter were all part of the plan.
"Sooner or later, the defense will have to adjust (to Murphy inside), and then we'll have our feet set for 3s," he said. "We got touches to Murph inside, and that allowed Kennedy wide-open 3s."
Baierl came back in the game, and Port immediately steadied. She scored 8 points late in the first half to help the Pirates trim the deficit to 28-19, but then Murphy came up with a big play.
Cedarburg took possession with about 30 seconds left and worked the ball around the perimeter. Ross finally took a 3-pointer from the corner with three seconds remaining and missed, but Murphy grabbed the rebound and put in a shot at the buzzer for a 30-19 lead.
"She (Murphy) was on the other side of the basket, which she should be, and put the ball in," coach Ross said. 'I've been on the other side of that, and it is crippling for the other team."
Cedarburg then opened the second half on another scoring run, which looked similar to that of the first half.
First, Murphy went to work inside for 6 quick points with a pair of putbacks; then Morgan Wallace started to hit from the outside. She connected on back-to-back 3-point shots and three treys overall to help the Bulldogs jump out to a 51-30 lead.
"In the second half, we went inside, and Morgan was wide open," the coach said. "She got her feet set, and good things happen."
Murphy finished with 12 rebounds and three steals in addition to her 16 points. Wallace added 15 points and three steals, Ross 10 points and Shannyn Block 8 points before going out with an injury.
For Port, Baierl wound up with 19 points, but no one else scored more than 5 points.
"That's what we've been seeing from her the last couple of years, and that's what we expect from her," Wahl said.
CHS tops Lutheran
Earlier last week, Cedarburg beat Milwaukee Lutheran, 75-44, behind 17 points from Murphy, 13 by Quinn Prom and 11 by Ross. The Bulldogs hit on eight 3-point shots and 22 of 28 free throws and put 12 players in the scorebook.
Port dropped a 49-41 game to Whitefish Bay despite 13 points from Katie Lemkuil and 11 by Baierl. The Pirates hit just 1-of-6 at the line to 23-of-37 for Bay.
The Bulldogs take on North Shore Conference leader Germantown at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, at home. The game would have been for first place until Cedarburg fell to Homestead on Feb. 6.
Port will meet Grafton at 5:45 p.m. Friday in the first game of a girls-boys doubleheader at home. The Pirates then challenge Kettle Moraine Lutheran at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, also at home.