Home » Sports » Bay Port earns redemption vs. Notre Dame

Bay Port earns redemption vs. Notre Dame

By Greg Bates
SUAMICO – The Notre Dame Academy-Bay Port boys’ basketball rivalry was turned up an extra notch when NDA won its record third consecutive game in the series with a buzzer-beating shot on Jan. 31.
Just 10 days later, the two programs were back in the gym to play again.
Notre Dame was looking for back-to-back season sweeps, while Bay Port was looking for redemption after that recent late-second loss.
Bay Port broke a 45-45 tie midway through the second half when it went on a 19-7 run. The Pirates never looked back, scoring a 76-63 victory at home in a key Fox River Classic Conference (FRCC) game on Feb. 10.
“Huge win, especially coming off that heartbreaker last game,” Bay Port senior Vince Vandervest said.
“We were out for blood with them and came out and performed.”
Down one point with about 2 seconds remaining in overtime, Notre Dame star Emmett Lawton hit a game-winning 3-pointer to pull off the win on Jan. 31.
“Couldn’t stop thinking about that,” Vandervest said. “Right in my face at the end — can’t forget it.”
Bay Port coach Nate Rykal had a similar thought as Vandervest about that tough loss.
“I hate to say it, but a little redemption for us,” Rykal said. “I think we kind of blew that game and that’s a game I think we kind of gave to them. They earned it with a shot at the end there, but we did a lot of things wrong that cost us that game, but we’ve learned from that and played a lot better tonight. A loss like that on a positive note gets you to pay attention, and guys have paid attention. We’re doing things the right way and hopefully that will help us down the stretch, taking a tough loss like that.”
Bay Port played a solid game against Notre Dame, having an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2-to-1 at 19 assists to 10 turnovers. The Pirates also hit 56% (27-for-48) of their shots from the field and were 15-for- 17 (88.2%) from the free throw line.
All those key stats added up to a victory that meant Bay Port securely moved into third place in the FRCC standings with three conference games remaining.
Bay Port had four players in double figures with Blake Buchinger pouring in 15 points off the bench. The junior guard was 5-for-7 from the field, hitting three critical 3-pointers. It was Buchinger’s third straight game in double figures.
“He’s really starting to step it up, and it’s good to see that,” Rykal said. “Now we had a guy like Jayden [Hackett] who averages 19, didn’t score tonight, that’s crazy. AJ [Lieuwen] steps up and has 24 and youhave Vince with 14, 15 for Buchinger and 15 for Maddox Cornette. It’s good to get contributions from some other people.
“I think we played really good team basketball tonight. I think we shared it, moved it well and there were a couple times in the first half, maybe four or five possessions, where we had what we call ‘hero ball’ where we just try to make a play on our own — when we do that, we’re not as good.”
Buchinger came up big when he was needed the most.
Notre Dame (11-9, 8-7 FRCC) erased a nine-point halftime deficit by outscoring Bay Port (14-6, 10-5 FRCC) 18-9 the first eight minutes of the second half.
At 45-45, Buchinger drained a pair of 3-pointers to go along with a layup and a putback basket.
Vandervest added a basket and Lieuwen hit a 3-pointer to push the Pirates’ lead to 64-52 with 5:07 left in the game.
During that stretch to pull away, Rykal noted he saw a lot of toughness from his players.
“I think we rebounded the ball well in that stretch and took care of it and got good shots,” Rykal said. “We got the good shots that we wanted in those stretches and did not force anything. We didn’t force the issue, it was just, hey, we take what was there.”
The Tritons cut their deficit to nine points, but Lieuwen iced the game with a three-point play with 2:29 on the clock.
Lawton scored a game-high 26 points in the loss as Notre Dame shot 50% (24-for-48) from the field.
Andrew Rader added 15 points on 6-for-7 shooting and Henry Weber scored 11 points.
The Tritons missed the inside of play of forward Ethan Wall-Atim, who sat out after suffering a foot injury in his team’s game on Feb. 5.
“Ethan can certainly help us scoring wise, but honestly, he’s such a difference-maker for us defensively and rebounding,” Bobinski said. “He’s averaging over 10 rebounds a game, and we had trouble rebounding. We gave up some big offensive rebounds in the second half.”
Bay Port has just four regular-season games remaining, three against teams with losing records. The final game is at Sheboygan North, which is sitting in second place in the conference standings.
That game will be a nice playoff test for Rykal’s guys.
“For us, it will be a big deal as far as mentally,” Rykal said. “It’s basically a playoff game. If we win that, we finish either tied for second or if they lose to somebody else, too. They’re two games ahead of us right now, and they’ll be one if they lose to De Pere and then we need to beat them to tie them for second.”

Facebook Comments
Scroll to Top