Trojans’ frontcourt powers past Jaguars
By Murray Gleffe
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Southwest boys’ basketball team scored 44 points in the paint and outlasted the Ashwaubenon Jaguars, 69-58, in a WIAA Division 2 regional semifinal game played at Southwest High School March 1.
With the victory, the Trojans will host West De Pere in the regional finals March 2.
“We really got some deep looks to Will (Pytleski) early, and he finished around the basket tonight,” said Southwest head coach John Polkowski. “We’ve had to reinvent ourselves a bit since Lucas (Stieber) went out. Cam (Baade), Javonn (Bynum) and Nick (Howard) gave us some real good production.”
Stieber, who was averaging about 13 points per game, injured his hip in a Feb.11 game against Bay Port and hasn’t played since.
Pytleski led the Trojans with 23 points, while point guard Ty Melchert added 12.
The Jaguars, who ended their season at 7-17, were led by Kyle Krueger’s 18 points.
Southwest jumped out to an early 16-8 lead thanks in large part to perimeter-to-post feeds in which the Trojans converted.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars had open looks around the rim but couldn’t get their shots to fall.
“It wasn’t the start we were looking for,” said Ashwaubenon head coach Chris Karcz. “Against a good team on the road, it’s hard when you have a deficit that quick.”
Ashwaubenon fought back to trail 23-20 after Matt Imig and Marcus Wagner converted on back-to-back baskets.
Southwest extended its lead to 12 at halftime by going on a 12-3 run the final 6 minutes.
During that time, the Jaguars went 1-10 from the field and turned it over three times.
“Despite having to play a lot of minutes, our starters held up well,” added Polkowski.
Southwest extended its margin to 18 points after Melchert scooped in a left-handed layup off the glass and Howard muscled his way to the tin.
“I want to take advantage of every opportunity I get,” said Howard. “I played aggressive around the basket today, and it paid off. We’re short handed with some injuries, so I do whatever it takes for the team to get the win.”
With under 6 minutes left and the Trojans still holding on to a double-digit lead, the Jaguars made one final push, scoring nine of the game’s next 11 points to trim the lead to 60-52 with 4:12 remaining.
However, Southwest knocked down 9-of-11 free throws to clinch the victory.
“I look for it (tomorrow’s matchup with the Phantoms) to be a very physical game in the paint,” Polkowski said. “They like to get up and down. We will have to limit their transition points.”
Ashwaubenon: 23, 35—58
Green Bay Southwest: 35, 34—69
Jaguars: Krueger 18, Morgan 14, Imig 13, Wagner 6, Wendorf 4, Tomashek 2, Hansford 1.
Trojans: Pytleski 23, Melchert 12, Stieber 11, Landry 10, Howard 8, Bynum 5.