Pirates hold on to defeat Trojans
By Murray Gleffe
SUAMICO — During the regular season, when the Bay Port boys’ basketball team played Green Bay Southwest, it got its best shot.
The first two games were decided by one possession.
This go-around was no different as the No. 2-seeded Pirates hung on to defeat the No. 3 Trojans 70-63 in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal game Feb. 19 at Bay Port High School.
“It’s about guys who can make shots for Southwest,” said Nate Rykal, Bay Port head coach. “They hit from anywhere on the court and can string together points in a flash. We had built enough of a lead where we were able to hang on and get the victory.”
Bay Port advanced to take on No. 1 De Pere tonight, Feb. 20, in the regional finals.
De Pere was a 75-50 winner over Green Bay East in the other regional semifinal game.
Gunnar DeCleene led the Pirates with 20 points, while Owen Stieber finished with a game-high 25 points for the Trojans.
Bay Port jumped out to a quick six-point lead, but Southwest countered with a spurt of its own to go up 15-12 on the road.
The Pirates then got caught fire from the outside, as DeCleene and Brock Freeman started making jump shots in succession to grab a 28-19 lead with 5:27 left until the break.
“Brock brings the energy to practice and games,” said Rykal. “When his shot is falling, he’s a complete player. Defensively, he is spot-on each time down the floor.”
Bay Port took a 38-27 lead into halftime and took its biggest lead of the game, 60-45, after Nate Forystek made a spin move and connected on a layup with 7:59 remaining.
Each time it looked as though the Pirates were going to run away with the contest, Southwest connected on a basket to stay within reach.
The Trojans had one last run in them, as they went on a 12-2 surge over four minutes – fueled by three triples from Stieber and a Javonnee Szymanski bucket in the lane, which cut the lead to 62-57 with about three minutes remaining.
“The one thing about this year’s team is we’ve never backed down,” said John Polkowski, Southwest head coach. “Our press helped turn the momentum back in our direction, but we couldn’t execute the way we would have liked down the stretch on offense.”
It was the closest the Trojans got the rest of the game, as Bay Port scored its final eight points from the charity line.
“We know each other well,” Rykal said about De Pere. “It’s going to be a dog fight. We’re right there. We have to make sure (Johnny) Kinziger doesn’t go off. We gave up 72 and 79 points against them in the two earlier meetings, and we have to be better defensively as a collective bunch to come out on top.”
Southwest: 27, 36 — 63
Bay Port: 38, 32 — 70
Trojans: Stieber 25, Pytleski 13, Szymanski 11, Bruley 6, Bohn 3, Danforth 2, Foster 2, Schoonover-Vivians 1.
Pirates: DeCleene 20, Freeman 15, Forystek 13, Lieuwen 10, Harris 5, Preston 3, Zeidler 2, Jacques 2.