Pirates down No. 1 ranked Stevens Point
BY RICH PALZEWIC
Melinda Palzewic photos
SUAMICO – For the second year in a row, the Bay Port boys’ basketball team upended No. 1 ranked Stevens Point Area Senior High (SPASH). And for the second year in a row, Point was without one of the best players in the state in Joey Hauser.
In Hauser’s absence, the Pirates posted a 76-66 non-conference with over the Panthers in a battle of two of the top teams in the state at Bay Port High School on Dec. 1.
“We were all hugely disappointed about it,” said Bay Port head coach Nate Rykal about Hauser’s absence. “Most people would say ‘oh good, you don’t have to play him,’ but we want to play the best. I feel bad for Joey because I know he wanted to play. I didn’t find out until towards the end of JV game that he wasn’t playing.”
Hauser, a 6-foot-8 senior who is a Marquette University recruit, was out with an ankle injury. He also missed the Pirates’ game last year in Point with a similar injury.
After opening the season ranked No. 8 in the state, the Pirates improved to 2-0 with the win, while SPASH dropped to 1-1. The Panthers have won three consecutive WIAA D1 state championships.
“I still think we can play a ton better,” Rykal said. “I was glad with how many guys contributed – we played nine players – but we just need to be in better control with the ball and be able to close games out better. We started to let them back in late like we did in the first game of the season (against Appleton West).”
Bay Port’s Jack Plumb poured in 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting and pulled down seven rebounds, while Cade Johnson and Cordell Tinch added 14 and 13 points respectively.
Point’s Drew Blair torched the nets for a game-high 32, but the Pirates forced the Northwest Missouri State recruit to earn his points on 11-of-23 shooting from the floor. Blair also pulled down a team-high nine rebounds and had three steals. He scored 37 in the Panthers’ opening-game overtime win over Rhinelander.
“Obviously it hurt not having Joey in there, but I thought we battled hard and played a tough game,” said Blair. “The atmosphere was great and we looked forward to coming here and playing.”
With SPASH leading 29-27 late in the first half, the Pirates ended with a 14-5 run to go up 41-34 at the intermission. Senior reserve guard Carson Schroeder hit a big three with time running down for the Pirates to give the team some momentum heading into the locker room.
The Panthers opened the second half with a quick 7-0 burst before the 6-foot-8 Plumb began to take over. Plumb scored 12 of Bay Port’s next 18 points to restore order and bump the lead back up to 60-49 halfway through the half.
Point got to within 70-64 late in the game, but Plumb made a pair of free throws, which were then followed by Tinch and Johnson baskets to seal the game.
“I thought I had a pretty good game,” said Plumb, who will be playing football for the University of Iowa next year. “It was a fun atmosphere to be in. It was a little disappointing to have Hauser out because we wanted to see how we matched up with them at full strength, but I thought we played a good game as a team.”
Point – 34, 32 – 66
Bay Port – 41, 35 – 76
SPASH: Blair 32, Mueller 10, Erdman 9, Vollendorf 8, Cullen 5, Hofmeister 2.
Bay Port: Plumb 26, Johnson 14, Tinch 13, Phillips 8, Nagel 8, Schroeder 5, Krause 2.