Senior Max Koenig scored 19 points, and senior Calvin Peterson had 15 points, and both hit some key free throws down the stretch to lead Baraboo to a 56-52 victory over Portage in a Badger North Conference game at Portage High School on Tuesday night.
With the win, Baraboo (4-16, 1-11) snaps a 40-game conference losing streak and gets revenge for Portage’s 56-45 victory in Baraboo back on Jan. 3.
Portage (2-16, 1-11) got a game-high 22 points from senior Matthew Miles and 11 points from senior Brett Walker, but it wasn’t enough for the Warriors to snap their losing skid, which is now at seven games.
With Baraboo holding a slim lead, Portage committed a pair of costly turnovers in the final 1 minute, 4 seconds of the game. The first turnover came with 1:04 left on the clock and Baraboo leading 50-47. Portage was looking to pull within a point, or even tie the game, but instead didn’t get a shot, as sophomore Isaac Paul couldn’t handle a pass, and the ball sailed out of bounds to the T-Birds.
Peterson would hit a pair of free throws to give Baraboo a 52-47 lead with 56 seconds left, but Portage answered with a layup from Miles that made it 52-49 with 34 seconds to play.
Koenig would make one of two free throws with 30 seconds to go to give the T-Birds a 53-49 lead, but Portage’s second costly turnover followed. On the play, Walker was bringing the ball up the floor when Baraboo senior Graham Langkamp was able to knock the ball away. Walker regained control of the ball, but not his momentum carried back across the half-court stripe for an over-and-back violation that gave the ball back to Baraboo.
Baraboo coach Tyler Fish pointed out the play a key reason his team was able to hold on down the stretch.
“They kind of fumbled one there and Graham Langkamp dove on the ground, and if he doesn’t do that, Brett Walker probably has it easier to go pick it up,” Fish said. “That’s just a hustle play right there. Graham did a great job on Brett tonight.”
After the turnover, Baraboo junior Owen Nachtigal made one of two free throws to make it 54-49 with 20 seconds left. On the other end, Portage missed two 3-point shots before Paul made one for the Warriors, cutting Baraboo’s lead to 54-52 with 6 seconds left. Peterson would then go to the line, where he made both free throws, giving Baraboo a 56-52 lead with 2.4 seconds left, putting Portage on ice.
Baraboo came out of the gates red shot, scoring the first nine points of the game. The Thunderbirds led by as many as eight points in the second half before Portage rallied to take its first lead of the night at 43-42 on a layup from Paul with 6:50 left. Portage would lead one more time, and never by more than one point, as the Thunderbirds always had an answer on the offensive end.
Miles scored 14 of his 22 in the first half, but had to go the bench after picking up his fourth foul with 9:05 to play. The Warriors responded without one of their best players on the floor, as Paul scored seven points during a 9-2 run that saw Portage briefly surge in front. Paul finished with 10 points for Portage.
Fish credited his team’s defense for keeping it in the ball game.
“I thought our defense on Brett Walker was pretty good. He’s a phenomenal player. Even Matthew Miles, he had more than we would have liked, but I thought we really clamped down on Walker and that was the difference from the first game when he had 22,” Fish said. “I thought we were able to contain him a little bit better.”
Portage returns to action on Friday night with a game at Beaver Dam.
Baraboo 29 27 — 56
Portage 25 27 — 52
BARABOO (fg ft-fta pts) — Koenig 7 5-7 19; Langkamp 2 2-2 7; Nachtigal 1 1-2 3; Peterson 5 5-6 15; McReynolds 2 1-1 5; Philipp 2 2-2 7. Totals 19 16-20 56.
PORTAGE — Walker 4 1-2 11; Roberts 2 0-0 5; Paul 4 0-1 10; Miles 7 7-10 22; Sheppard 2 0-0 4. Totals 19 8-13 52.
3-point goals: B 2 (Langkamp 1, Philipp 1), P 6 (Walker 2, Paul 2, Roberts 1, Miles 1). Total fouls: B 11, P 19.
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