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Bay Port’s D falters in FRCC loss

By William Soquet
SUAMICO – Despite having four players score 15 or more points, the Bay Port boys’ basketball team lost to visiting Sheboygan North 77-71 on Jan. 17.
The game resulted in both Bay Port and Sheboygan North moving to 10-3 overall on the season.
“We just got to do a little bit better of a job on defense,” Bay Port coach Nate Rykal said. “They had kids step up tonight, you got to give those kids some credit.”
The Pirates committed 16 turnovers in the game.
Early turnovers by both teams were indicative of what was to come later in the game, and neither team scored until Mason Cornette sank a mid-range shot for the Pirates with 1:40 played.
Scoring opened up quickly after that, with Sheboygan North taking a 20-15 lead halfway through the first half.
The Golden Raiders sought opportunities on the perimeter and converted on them early, racking up a number of quick baskets.
The Pirates played a contrasting style of basketball that saw them break down the Golden Raiders’ defense en route to easy layups and points in the paint.
The game was tied at 20-20 and 23-23 in the first half until Bay Port claimed four unanswered points at the six-minute mark.
The Pirates didn’t relinquish the lead for the remainder of the half, although Sheboygan North closed the gap to 37-36 at halftime.
Both teams made noticeable halftime adjustments that impacted the flow of the game in the second half.
Sheboygan North began working inside, finding ample layups and free throw opportunities.
Sparked by a couple made shots by Jayden Hackett, Bay Port took more looks from the perimeter. Bay Port held a tight lead until 10:20 to play, when Sheboygan North took a 53-51 lead.
The Pirates committed turnovers on their end of the floor that allowed Sheboygan North to eventually open up a seven-point lead, 60-53, with eight minutes to play.
After a timeout, Bay Port rallied back, closing the gap to a mere two points with six minutes on the clock.
The Pirates methodically picked apart the Golden Raiders’ defense and scored points in a number of ways.
With Sheboygan North holding a one-possession lead with two minutes to go, the game turned into a frenzy.
A turnover on a North inbound was followed by a Bay Port turnover on the ensuing possession, which in turn was followed by yet another North turnover at its end of the floor.
With the score sitting at 72-69 with half a minute to play, the Pirates set up an offensive possession.
What ensued were three straight Bay Port turnovers that turned into six Golden Raiders points, including two turnovers in the final 10 seconds.
That gave Sheboygan North all the insurance it needed, closing out a 77-71 victory.
A.J. Lieuwen led Bay Port with 20 points. Vince Vandervest had 16, including 12 in the first half, while Hackett and Jackson Yanda both chipped in 15.
Brady Olson led Sheboygan North with 20 points, mostly coming on inside baskets. Max Tutas scored 15 between five 2-point field goals and five made free throws.
“Fifty percent (shooting defense) from two, that’s not good enough. We need to play better defense,” Rykal said. “They got to the rim too easily — we’ve got to be tougher.”
Hackett said that the loss does not slow the momentum of the Pirates, which maintained their second-place standing in the Fox River Classic Conference with the loss.
“You just look at it as another game,” Hackett said. “Put it behind us, learn from it, look at the film, get better every day in practice.”
He also echoed his coach’s sentiments, saying that “towards the end, our defensive effort and IQ, being smart with the ball” needed to be improved upon by the Pirates.

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