GBSW gets win down the stretch vs. Notre Dame
By Greg Bates
GREEN BAY – Wanting to ride a little momentum into the postseason, the Green Bay Southwest boys’ basketball team pulled off an important win on Friday night.
The Trojans broke a 49-49 by scoring the next five points and never looked back, beating rival Notre Dame Academy in a Fox River Classic Conference (FRCC) matchup, 58-55.
The win snaps a four-game losing streak by Green Bay Southwest.
“It’s a good win for us,” Southwest coach John Polkowski said. “To get a good win like this late in the season, hopefully you can build momentum off of it. But credit to Notre Dame, it could have gone either way. Things just kind of fell our way at the end.”
When Notre Dame needed to hit shots down the stretch, it couldn’t convert. In the final 3 ½ minutes, the Tritons hit just two shots — both 3-pointers.
“That’s kind of been our thing all year, at times we’ve struggled to shoot it,” Notre Dame coach Brian Bobinski said. “We were 20-some percent from 3, so it’s going to be hard to win basketball games when you don’t make at least a few perimeter shots, especially when they’re paying so much attention to Emmett [Lawton].”
Southwest defenders were fixated on Lawton all night. The conference’s leading scorer still ended up
with a game-high 24 points.
Lawton came into the game just 14 points shy of 1,000 for his career, and he hit that number in style.
The senior hit a step-back 3-pointer as the first-half buzzer sounded to give him his 998th , 999th and 1,000th points. He was congratulated by his teammates, coaches and crowd for hitting the milestone.
Lawton is just the third player in Notre Dame boys’ basketball history to achieve that milestone, joining Ben Bobinski and Chris Mitchell.
“Career goal-wise it was always to lead the team or kind of build the team up to a point where we could win a regional final, because Notre Dame’s never done that, so we’ve got that goal coming up,” Lawton said. “But 1,000 was always kind of in the back of my mind, as you see it on the board and you see my friends — Connor [Pytleski from Green Bay Southwest] just got it a few weeks ago. It means a lot. My teammates gave me some leeway in the first half to do what I needed to do to get past that mental block, and then after that just play basketball.”
Lawton’s buzzer-beating shot gave Notre Dame a 28-27 lead at halftime.
The game stayed tight throughout the second half as Notre Dame (13-10, 9-8 FRCC) led 42-39.
Eventually, it was Southwest (11-12, 9-8 FRCC) that took a three-point lead before a Lawton 3-pointer tied it at 49-49.
Curtis Danforth hit back-to-back layups to put his team up by four points with 1:41 remaining.
After a Southwest free throw, Max Augustine drained a 3-pointer for Notre Dame to make it 54-52 with 39.8 seconds remaining.
Gavin Yang hit 3-for-4 from the free throw line to put the Trojans up five, 57-52.
Lawton drained a 3-pointer 3.9 second left to make it a two-point game. Pytleski hit one free throw, and Lawton got a good look from long range as the buzzer went but the shot narrowly missed.
Polkowski liked how his team played after the game was 49-all.
“Our ball control finally kind of tightened up — we were loose with the ball and turnovers have been a big issue,” Polkowski said. “Gavin Yang is such a big part in that, finding C.J. Danforth on two dump-off passes and really kind of just opening things up for us, not having to constantly seek something out. Having the lead, you have a lot of the control, and then hitting some late free throws to close the gap. I thought him finishing the way he did was the product of why we won.”
Both Green Bay Southwest and Notre Dame will find out their playoff fates on Sunday afternoon when the WIAA releases the brackets.