Pirates beat Jaguars despite Guarascio’s big night
Bay Port’s Deland Phillips is fouled by Ashwaubenon’s Kenneth Brooks. Phillips had 18 points in the Pirates’ 92-69 victory Feb. 13.
BY RICH PALZEWIC
ASHWAUBENON – Bay Port’s balanced scoring and deep bench helped offset a monster night from Ashwaubenon’s Anthony Guarascio.
Three Pirates scored in double figures in the team’s 92-69 Fox River Classic Conference basketball victory over the Jaguars Feb. 13 at Ashwaubenon High School.
Jack Plumb (19), Deland Phillips (18) and Alec Nagel (16) all scored in double digits for No. 9 ranked Bay Port (16-3 overall, 14-2 FRCC), while Ian Melchior – who started for an injured Cordell Tinch – and Garrett Mooren added nine points apiece.
Guarascio poured in 35 points to lead all scorers. The 6-foot-4 senior was an impressive 14-of-20 from the field overall, including 6-of-10 from three-point land. He had 23 of his points by halftime and also added 12 rebounds.
“We had some really good balance and that was the difference in the game,” said Bay Port head coach Nate Rykal. “Guarascio came into the game shooting 29 percent on three-pointers, but he always seems to go off against us. We just had a little more depth and balance – Jack and Deland combined to offset Anthony, but then we had a nice game from Nagel and the other guys off the bench. It gave us a nice lift. That’s who we are – a group that really relies on one another.”
Those “other” guys from the Pirates’ bench combined for 26 points, including six each from Carson Schroeder and Danny King. Mooren and King both had a pair of three’s for Bay Port, who shot an impressive 64 percent overall (34-of-53) from the field. The Jaguars also had a good night from the floor in draining 60 percent of their shots.
With the Pirates clinging to a 17-14 lead six minutes into the game, Plumb already had 9 points and Guarascio 10. Thanks to Mooren and King both hitting big three’s in the opening half, Bay Port took a 43-37 lead into intermission.
“I lived around the Bay Port area growing up, so whenever I get to play against them it gets me energized,” said Guarascio. “I came out shooting well and my teammates were setting good screens for me. I got a little tired in the second half, but I just stayed in there and played hard.”
The Pirates’ depth wore down a much smaller Ashwaubenon team in the second half, outscoring them by a 49-32 margin. Guarascio logged just under 35 minutes on the night.
Evan Wood and Griffin Baierl added 11 and 9 points respectively for the Jaguars, who dropped to 3-17 overall and 3-13 in the FRCC.
Tinch sat out the game after injuring his left ankle in Bay Port’s 62-48 victory over Preble Feb. 9, but according to Rykal has a good chance to play Friday, Feb. 16, when the Pirates take on No. 10 ranked Pulaski (D2) at home.
“The plan was to sit Cordell out in this one so then he could practice later in the week and hopefully play against Pulaski,” Rykal added. “He’s done a good job of taking care of it – we just want him healthy. We want to win a conference title, but he won’t play until he’s ready to go.”
Tinch is second on the team in scoring behind Plumb with his 13.6 points-per-game average and has 26 dunks on the season.
Speaking of the game Friday against the Red Raiders, the Pirates will come in with a one game lead in the FRCC with two to play. If Bay Port can win, they will capture the conference title outright for the second straight season. The last time the two teams played Jan. 16, Pulaski led for only 2.7 seconds of the contest in a 47-46 overtime victory.
“We want to get them back,” Rykal said about their FRCC rival. “It’s a game we let slip away and it’s a game we feel we should have won. We want to prove it to them. They can use it as bulletin board material if they want, but we want to kick them in the rear – and you can put that in the paper. We owe them one.”
Bay Port: 43, 49 – 92
Ashwaubenon: 37, 32 – 69
BP: Phillips 18, Melchior 9, Johnson 4, Nagel 16, Plumb 19, Plummer 2, King 6, Mooren 9, Schroeder 6, Coogan 2, Kozak 1; 3-pt: Phillips 1, Melchior 1, Nagel 1, King 2, Mooren 2; FG: 34-53 (64%); FT: 17-24 (71%).
ASH: Cox 2, Baierl 9, Wood 11, Guarascio 35, Brooks 8, Krueger 4; 3-pt: Baierl 1, Wood 3, Guarascio 6; FG: 28-47 (60%); FT: 3-10 (30%).