Bay Port’s Deland Phillips battles Pulaski’s Pierce Narges for a loose ball in the Pirates’ 30-28 win Feb. 16. Bay Port won its second consecutive FRCC title with the victory.
BY RICH PALZEWIC
SUAMICO – Bay Port reserve guard Lucas LaMue saved his best overall performance of the year for when the Pirates needed it most.
LaMue’s two three-pointers and big steal in the second half helped No. 9 ranked Bay Port pull out a 30-28 Fox River Classic Conference victory over the Pulaski Red Raiders Feb. 16.
With the low-scoring win, the Pirates (17-3 overall, 15-2 FRCC) guaranteed themselves the FRCC title for the second year in a row with one game left to play Feb. 22 at Green Bay Notre Dame.
“I expected a game in the 60s,” said Bay Port head coach Nate Rykal. “It was unbelievable. Yeah, Pulaski slowed it down a little bit, but both teams play really good defense, and that makes it hard to score. For teams to shoot 40 percent (Pulaski) and 33 percent (Bay Port), and not have anyone in double figures in scoring, that’s unreal. Lucas comes off the bench to hit those two three-pointers and he’s our leading scorer. Everyone on this team has a role and you’re going to need somebody during the tough times – tonight we found out we needed Lucas and (Ian) Melchior. Those guys came up huge and played so tough.”
Despite seeing limited action this year, LaMue and Melchior were in the game at the end during crunch time.
“I had to keep them in the game,” Rykal said. “They proved they belonged out there and played really good defense.”
The Pirates started the game by missing their first eight shots, but Pulaski (16-4, 13-4) didn’t score the first points of the night until six minutes into the game. Things didn’t get much better from there, as both teams struggled mightily to score. Bay Port shot just 22 percent (4-of-18) from the field during the first half.
“We were awful,” said Rykal about his team’s start. “We rushed some things and made some bad decisions. It feels great to come back and win – it’s kind of the opposite of our game there (Jan. 16) when we were ahead the whole game and they came back to win it.”
The Pirates lost that game in Pulaski 47-46 in overtime, as the Red Raiders led for just the last 2.7 seconds of the contest.
Despite its poor shooting percentage in the first half, Bay Port found itself down just 19-11 at the break. When Pulaski went ahead 25-15 with 12 minutes remaining, that’s when the Pirates began their comeback. They’d go on to outscore the Red Raiders 15-3 the rest of the way.
After a Jack Plumb basket pulled Bay Port to within eight, LaMue hit his back-to-back three’s to cut the deficit to 27-23. Another Plumb basket and a big three from Melchior gave the Pirates their first lead of the game (28-27) with 6:05 remaining.
Melchior and Cordell Tinch each hit a single free throw for the final margin, but it wasn’t without some excitement down the stretch.
Plumb took an offensive charge with 9.2 seconds left to play, before Tinch missed the back end of his bonus situation with 7.7 left. The Raiders dribbled to half court and called timeout with just under four seconds remaining. A Trevor Stiede desperation shot at the buzzer wasn’t close, sending the Bay Port student body rushing onto the floor with excitement.
“We showed some great toughness down the stretch,” said Rykal. “You can just never give up. We made big plays when we needed them.”
Rykal is expecting a No. 1 seed in the upcoming sectional bracket that will be released Sunday.
In the meantime, Bay Port will travel to No. 2 ranked Sun Prairie (19-1) Feb. 17 in a game that was moved from early in the season because the Cardinals played in the state football championships.
Notes: The 11 seniors – Tinch, Deland Phillips, Cade Johnson, Alec Nagel, Plumb, Danny King, Melchior, Garrett Mooren, Carson Schroeder, LaMue and Isaac Krause – were honored before the game in a senior-night tribute. Senior managers Malcolm Jerks and Brett Fuglestad were also honored.
Pulaski: 19, 9 – 28
Bay Port: 11, 19 – 30
PUL: Egnarski 6, Narges 5, Stiede 6, Hendricks 2, Lukasik 9; 3-pt: Narges 1, Stiede 1; FG: 10-25 (40%); FT: 6-8 (75%).
BP: Tinch 5, Johnson 4, Nagel 5, Plumb 4, Melchior 4, Schroeder 2, LaMue 6; 3-pt: Nagel 1, Melchior 1, LaMue 2; FG: 9-27 (33%); FT: 8-13 (62%).