The Portage boys basketball team started fast, but couldn’t last.
Portage scored the game’s first eight points, but visiting Waunakee rallied to tie the game at 11, and then used a 14-0 run to close the first half on its way to a 65-44 victory in a Badger North Conference game Tuesday night.
Portage (4-7, 2-4 Badger North), got another big night from senior Eli Considine, who led all scorers with 28 points, but only two other Portage players reached the scoring column. Senior Connor Levander chipped in with 12 points for Portage, but senior Kaden Lehman, with a 3-pointer and a free throw, was the only other player to put the ball in the basket for the hometown Warriors.
Waunakee (8-3, 4-2) had 10 different players score, including three in double figures. Zach Deering, a 6-foot-6 senior wing, caused trouble for Portage inside on his way to a team-high 14 points. Waunakee also got 10 points apiece from senior Trey Fancher and sopohomore Casey Fischer.
The start of the game couldn’t have gone any better for Portage. Levander’s pull-up jumper followed by two layups from Considine gave Portage a quick 6-0 lead. Levander then made it 8-0 when he scored on a drive through the lane with just over 3 minutes gone by.
Waunakee finally got on the board when Fancher scored on his own putback with 14:15 left in the first half. That allowed Waunakee to set up its full-court pressure, which gave Portage fits.
Waunakee scored five points in about a six-second span, first getting a three-point play from freshman Andrew Keller just moments before Deering stole the inbounds pass and scored a quick layup to cut Portage’s lead to 9-7.
Waunakee used a 10-0 run to take a 22-13 lead with 6:00 left in the first half, but Portage kept things close. A 3-pointer by Considine cut the Waunakee lead to 24-21 with 3:40 left in the half, but that would be Portage’s final points of the half.
Waunakee took control of the game for good by outscoring Portage 14-0 over the final 2:55 of the half, allowing the defending conference champions to take a 38-21 lead into the break. The big run began with three straight buckets down low by 6-5 senior Josh Cash, and then continued with back-to-back 3-pointers by Fischer.
Portage tried to reel Waunakee back in, scoring the first four points of the second half on buckets from Considine and Levander to make it 38-25, but Waunakee answered with a 7-0 run to go up 45-25, and Portage was never able to threaten the rest of the way.
The road doesn’t get any easier for Portage, as it plays host to Badger North front-runner Mount Horeb on Thursday before hitting the road to play at Tomah next Tuesday.
Waunakee 38 27 — 65
Portage 21 23 — 44
WAUNAKEE — Cash 4 0-0 8, Block 2 1-1 5, Knatz 1 0-0 3, Deering 5 4-10 14, Fancher 5 0-1 10, Johnson 2 1-2 5, Fischer 3 2-2 10, Keller 2 2-4 6, May 1 0-0 2, Nelson 1 0-0 2. Totals 28 10-20 65.
PORTAGE — Levander 5 2-4 12, Considine 9 7-11 28, Lehman 1 1-2 4. Totals 15 10-18 44.
3-point goals — W 3 (Knatz 1, Fischer 2), POR 4 (Considine 3, Lehman 1). Total fouls — W 17, POR 18. Fouled out — Miles.