BY RICH PALZEWIC
SUAMICO – What a difference a night makes.
After the Bay Port boys’ basketball team slogged its way to a 60-39 WIAA D1 regional semifinal victory over Green Bay Preble March 2, the next night versus Menomonee Falls was the polar opposite.
The No. 1 seeded Pirates (20-4) survived 15 three-pointers from the No. 9 Indians (11-13) in posting a 90-74 victory to win the regional title at Bay Port High School.
The two teams ran up-and-down the floor all night, giving the big crowd their money’s worth. In the victory over the Hornets the night before, Preble routinely took 60-90 seconds off the clock with each possession.
In the regional final win, the teams combined for 108 shots, 49 of which were three-point attempts.
“Two very different games,” said Bay Port head coach Nate Rykal. “I expected that type of game, but I didn’t expect them to shoot the lights out like they did – especially in the first half. I was very proud of my team for hanging tough and fighting back.”
Not to be outdone, the Pirates had nine threes of their own on 16 attempts (56 percent), while Falls shot 33 times from beyond the arc. Bay Port shot a robust 65 percent from the floor overall while holding the Indians to 42 percent.
Payton Malone, a senior guard for Menomonee, had 24 points in the first half on six trifectas but would add just a lone field goal in the second half.
“I don’t even really know who that guy was,” laughed Rykal about Malone. “I couldn’t believe how well he shot it. We started the game in a zone and then switched to man late in the first half. I knew it would be tough for them to shoot that well all game, but give them a lot of credit – they fought hard.”
Fatigue may have been a factor. Both teams subbed freely, but the Pirates were able to relax more in their semifinal win, while the Indians ran hard in a 104-85 win over De Pere the night before.
In a back-and-forth first half, Jack Plumb – who ended with 14 points – put up a dozen points to keep the Pirates close. The game was tied at 44 going into intermission.
Menomonee jumped out to a 56-48 lead a few minutes into the second half, but that’s when Bay Port mounted its comeback.
The Pirates went on a 32-7 run to turn an eight-point deficit into a 17-point lead. Cordell Tinch, who ended with 11 points, took over after the break to get the crowd and his team fired up.
“I just wanted to bring the energy,” said Tinch, who also added nine rebounds, six assists, two blocks and two steals. “I didn’t get a whole lot of points, but when Jack went out with his fourth foul (with 6:15 remaining in the game) I needed to step up. I could feel the energy with the crowd and that made me play better.”
Tinch added a thunderous dunk late in the game that added to his season total of 33. The University of Minnesota recruit (football, track) had five slams the night before against Preble.
Deland Phillips led Bay Port with 19 points on 6-of-7 shooting, while Alec Nagel added 17. Cade Johnson chipped in with 10. It was the first time all season that the Pirates had five players in double figures.
Bay Port also got solid minutes off the bench from Ian Melchior (8 points), Carson Schroeder (6) and Garrett Mooren (5). Melchior drained a pair of threes, while Schroeder hit all three of his shot attempts.
The Pirates out-rebounded the Indians by a comfortable 36-20 margin but had more turnovers (16 to 11).
Bay Port will play No. 5 Hamilton (15-9) at Manitowoc Lincoln High School Thursday, March 8, in the sectional semis. The winner of that game will play the winner of Arrowhead/Kettle Moraine March 10 at Sheboygan South High School for the right to go to state.
Menomonee Falls: 44, 30 – 74
Bay Port: 44, 46 – 90
MF: Allen 7, Frisk 3, Malone 26, Siebert 9, Brooks 4, D. Sanicki 5, S. Sanicki 6, Price 2, Heckman 2, Siebert 10; 3-pt: Allen 1, Frisk 1, Malone 6, Siebert 3, D. Sanicki 1, S. Sanicki 2, Siebert 1.
BP: Tinch 11, Phillips 19, Johnson 10, Nagel 17, Plumb 14, Melchior 8, Mooren 5, Schroeder 6; 3-pt: Tinch 1, Phillips 1, Johnson 1, Nagel 3, Melchior 2, Mooren 1.