Ashwaubenon wins rematch over Bay Port
By Rich Palzewic
SUAMICO – This time around, things were different for the Ashwaubenon boys’ basketball team.
After seeing Bay Port beat them on their home floor earlier in the season, the Jaguars returned the favor Jan. 29 with a 75-66 victory over the Pirates at Bay Port High School.
Matt Imig and Marcus Tomashek combined for 51 points and seven 3-pointers for Ashwaubenon (12-5), which won its eighth consecutive game after starting the season 4-5.
“When Bay Port (11-4) beat us at our place earlier this season, it played lots harder than us,” said Mark Tomashek, Ashwaubenon head coach. “This was a revenge game, and we came ready to play. My guys answered the bell and played smart.”
With the game tied 20-20, the Jaguars went on a 13-0 run in the last few minutes of the first half to take a 33-20 lead.
Imig hit four threes in the opening 18 minutes and finished with a game-high 26 points.
“During warm-ups, I was feeling good,” Imig said. “Ultimately, it’s a credit to my teammates getting me the ball, and I happened to make the shots. This was a great win for us.”
Coach Tomashek said he was also impressed by the junior Imig.
“Matt shot the ball well,” he said. “He did a great job handling Bay Port’s pressure and stayed with it. He’s worked hard on that aspect of his game.”
Bay Port’s AJ Lieuwen had a trio of threes in the first half, while Brock Freeman had a pair.
The Pirates had as many 3-pointers (five total) before intermission as they had two-point field goals in trailing 36-25 at the break.
“Our intensity was good, but Ashwaubenon does a nice job of penetrating and shooting the ball,” said Bay Port head coach Nate Rykal. Every time we made a play, they responded. When we played at their gym earlier in the season, I think we wanted it more. They wanted it more in this one.”
Bay Port’s Nate Forystek, who scored 20 points in the first game, scored the first two points of the second half – his only points of the night.
“Ashwaubenon did a nice job of doubling Nate, and we didn’t respond well,” Rykal said. “We didn’t handle their switches on defense. There were also a few times we chucked up some threes when we should have thrown it into Nate.”
After the Pirates got to within 41-29 early in the second half, the Jaguars scored seven straight points to go up 48-29, which equaled their largest lead of the game.
Leading 69-50, Bay Port ended the game with a 16-6 surge to close the final margin.
“We also had great energy from the bench,” said Tomashek. “It’s huge when we can come to Bay Port – a school twice our size – and play them toe-to-toe. It’s a huge win for the program and the community.”
It marked the second time this season Ashwaubenon got a victory in a rematch game over a top opponent.
Besides flipping the switch on the Pirates, the Jaguars did the same against De Pere – lost the first game and then came back to win the second.
“It was the exact opposite last season,” Tomashek said. “We beat both of those teams first last year and lost the second time around. Hopefully, the aggressive streak we’re on will continue and we play with this energy.”
Kyle Krueger added 11 points for Ashwaubenon, while Lieuwen and Gunnar DeCleene scored 20 and 16 points, respectively, for the Pirates.