PORTAGE — While the Baraboo girls basketball team hasn’t struggled to score this year, it has had a hard time stopping teams.
That was again the case Tuesday night, as the T-Birds were unable to halt rival Portage in a 70-52 loss in a Badger North Conference game at Portage High School. What sunk the Thunderbirds was a 26-11 over the final 7 minutes, 20 seconds of the first half as the Warriors seized control.
The two teams traded punches in the early going as the T-Birds largest lead stretched to five, while the Warriors biggest advantage was two. Baraboo (1-8, 1-5 Badger North) took an 18-14 lead on a free throw by junior Haley Hannagan but it was the last lead it had all night.
Portage (3-8, 2-4) countered with its long run, started by an 8-0 surge. After a floater by junior MacKenzie Roth, senior Hanne Anderson knotted things at 18 with a long jumper with 6 minutes, 35 seconds left. Roth, who poured in a game-high 24 points, put the Warriors in front for good with back-to-back steals and layups for a 22-18 lead.
Baraboo stopped the bleeding with a pair of free throws by junior Lexy Johnson, only for the Warriors to counter with eight straight points, including 3-pointers by junior Morgan Bisch and sophomore McKena Yelk, for a 30-20 lead.
Johnson, who scored 15 points for the T-Birds, again looked to stop the bleeding with a pair of layups sandwiched between a Roth 3-pointer to make it 33-24 with 3:30 remaining before the Warriors took a 40-29 lead into the break.
Trailing by 11, Baraboo quickly got the lead down to single-digits with 14:10 left to play on a layup by Johnson.
GALLERY: Portage vs. Baraboo girls basketball
Photos of the Portage and Baraboo girls basketball teams squaring off in a Badger North Conference game on Thursday, Dec. 21 at Portage High School. The Warriors used a 26-11 run late in the first half to seize control and knock off the rival Thunderbirds 70-52.
The Warriors quickly extended the lead back out to 15 however as Roth continued to roll from behind the arc. The guard, who entered the night averaging 9.5 points per game, canned another 3 and Bisch added one of her own to push the Portage advantage back to 15 at 50-35 with 13 minutes remaining.
Portage added another six straight points, capped by a pair of free throws by Yelk, to go up 56-35 with 10:25 remaining. The T-Birds furiously tried to cut back into the Warriors lead as low as 14 at 66-52 in the waning minutes but it was too little too late.
While the T-Birds outshot the Warriors 35 to 11 at the free throw line, Baraboo was unable to take advantage, shooting just 21 of 35 from the charity stripe. Portage on the other hand, was 9-of-11 and thrived behind the arc, canning 11 3-pointers.
Roth was the main beneficiary, sinking five, while Bisch, who scored 13, added three. Junior Lia Kieck scored a team-high 16 points while Johnson added 15 to lead the T-Birds. Junior Haley Hannagan also reached double figures, chipping in 11 for Baraboo, but only two other players scored, combining for 10 points.
PORTAGE 70, BARABOO 52
Baraboo 29 23 — 52
Portage 40 30 — 70
BARABOO — Kieck 3 8-10 16, Hannagan 3 5-8 11, L. Johnson 2 0-1 5, Stuckey 0, A. Johnson 4 6-11 15, Moon 1 2-3 5. Totals 13 21-35 52.
PORTAGE — Anderson 3 0-0 6, Roth 9 1-2 24, Wilson 2 0-0 4, Bisch 4 2-2 13, Shortreed 1 0-0 2, Yelk 2 6-6 11, Brandner 1 0-1 2, Bretsch 3 0-0 8. Totals 25 9-11 70.
3-point goals — BAR 5 (Kieck 2, L. Johnson 1, A. Johnson 1, Moon 1), POR 11 (Roth 5, Bisch 3, Yelk 1, Bretsch 2). Total fouls — BAR 14, POR 24. Fouled out — POR (Brandner).