BY RICH PALZEWIC
SUAMICO – It might sound cliché, but the Bay Port boys’ basketball team is taking their upcoming postseason journey one game at a time.
Although the main goal is to get back to the state tournament for the first time since 2009, the Pirates (18-4) need to look back just a year ago when they lost in the sectional semis as proof they can’t look too far ahead.
The No. 1 seeded Pirates will kick off the WIAA D1 playoffs by hosting No. 17 Green Bay Preble Friday, March 2, at Bay Port High School in a 7:00 game.
“We have been telling the guys not to look too far ahead,” said Bay Port head coach Nate Rykal. “We were hoping for a state run last year and it didn’t turn out like we had hoped, so we can use that as a teaching tool this year. We need to take it one game at a time.”
In 2017 the Pirates lost an 85-75 game to Arrowhead to end their season. The Warhawks eventually made it all the way to the D1 state finals before losing to Stevens Point.
If Bay Port can manage to beat Preble they would host No. 8 De Pere or No. 9 Menomonee Falls March 3 in the regional finals. The Pirates were 4-0 during the regular season against Fox River Classic Conference rivals Preble and De Pere, but the two games against the Redbirds were relatively close – at least for parts of the game.
“In our opener we will have to play a conference team for the third time this season,” Rykal added. “If we win that one a potential game with De Pere would be another third game against a conference opponent. De Pere is playing good basketball right now.”
The Redbirds are 4-1 in their last five games, which includes an impressive win over Green Bay Notre Dame. Their only loss in that five-game stretch was to Pulaski by a single point (50-49).
Rykal noted that Menomonee Falls lost its best player to an injury and is 1-8 in their last nine games since.
Beyond that, Bay Port’s toughest challenge could once again be from No. 2 seed Arrowhead, who is ranked No. 8 in the state and has won 9 of its last 10 games. The Warhawks and Pirates would meet in the sectional finals at Sheboygan South (March 10) if things got that far.
Jack Plumb, who scored his 1,000th career point Feb. 22 and was the named the FRCC player of the year, leads Bay Port with a 14.5 points-per-game average. The Iowa football recruit is also pulling down almost nine rebounds a contest. University of Minnesota recruit (football, track) Cordell Tinch is scoring at a 13.1 clip, while Deland Phillips (8.6), Alec Nagel (8.0), Cade Johnson (7.0), Carson Schroeder (4.6), Lucas LaMue (4.2) Danny King (4.0), Garrett Mooren (3.9) and Ian Melchior (3.3) all can be counted on any given night to add scoring and solid defense.