Pirates sink Panthers’ playoff cruise

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


KOLLIN NEILS of Plymouth is fouled by Port Washington’s Darius Will on a follow-up shot in Thursday night’s sectional basketball semifinal game. Plymouth’s Eric Nygaard and Port Washington’s Sam Weiland look on. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley KOLLIN NEILS of Plymouth is fouled by Port Washington’s Darius Will on a follow-up shot in Thursday night’s sectional basketball semifinal game. Plymouth’s Eric Nygaard and Port Washington’s Sam Weiland look on. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley SHEBOYGAN – Plymouth was unable to get on track on offense and defense consistently and it proved costly as Port Washington ended the Panthers’ stellar season with a 66-54 win in the Division 2 boys sectional basketball semifinals Thursday night at Sheboygan South.

The Pirates attacked the vaunted PHS defense with a strong inside/outside game, played an aggressive defense and hit the offensive glass hard. Port Washington, a No. 1 seed, led most of the game as the No. 2-seeded Panthers were able to only put together a few runs.

Port Washington, which beat PHS, 63-48, in the regular season, lost in the sectional finals Saturday afternoon to West De Pere, 59-40, in a battle for a state berth. The Pirates finished 15-11.


PLYMOUTH’S STUDENT SECTION cheers for the Panthers in Thursday night’s sectional basketball game versus Port Washington. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley PLYMOUTH’S STUDENT SECTION cheers for the Panthers in Thursday night’s sectional basketball game versus Port Washington. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley The Panthers, who had an 11- game winning streak snapped, ended their season at 21-4.

“Port Washington played a really well-played game. They rose to the occasion well and hit some tough shots,” said Panther head coach Jason Duff.

“They were a little bit scrappier than us, getting the loose balls. The effort was there for us. We didn’t get in a groove on offense but a lot had to do with Port Washington.”

The Panthers shot only 28 percent (15 of 54) from the field while the Pirates hit an excellent 53 percent (20 of 38), keyed by very good ball movement and motion on offense. PHS, only 5 of 23 from three-point range, missed several open shots and didn’t score very much in transition which has been a staple in their offense all season.


TOM JANKOWSKI of Plymouth looks to pass while being guarded by Port Washington’s Nic Schueller (24) during Thursday night’s sectional basketball game. The Panthers’ Zac Cain watches. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley TOM JANKOWSKI of Plymouth looks to pass while being guarded by Port Washington’s Nic Schueller (24) during Thursday night’s sectional basketball game. The Panthers’ Zac Cain watches. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley The Pirates were also outstanding at the foul line – making 20 of 23 free throws (87 percent), compared to Plymouth’s 19-25 (76 percent).

The Pirates pounded the offensive board with 11 rebounds, including six follow-up baskets. PHS had several second-chance opportunities, especially in the first half, due to strong offensive rebounding but didn’t convert very many into points.

PHS used a 5-0 spurt to take a 22-19 lead with 4:52 left in the second quarter. Kollin Neils sank a three-pointer, followed by Collin Denzin’s two free throws. This was the last time the Panthers had the lead.


ZAC CAIN, Plymouth forward, tries to score inside against Port Washington’s Al’Tavius Jackson during Thursday night’s sectional basketball semifinals. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley ZAC CAIN, Plymouth forward, tries to score inside against Port Washington’s Al’Tavius Jackson during Thursday night’s sectional basketball semifinals. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley The Pirates outscored PHS 15-5 the remainder of the second period to seize a 34-27 halftime lead. Junior guard Matthew Kirmse ignited the run with nine points, including two treys. Kirmse finished the night with a game-high 23 points, keyed by four three-point goals.

Al’Tavius Jackson’s layup off an inbounds pass at the buzzer gave Port Washington its sevenpoint halftime lead.

PHS cut the Pirates’ lead to 36- 34 with a 7-2 run in the first minute of the fourth quarter. Senior forward Tom Jankowski fueled the rally with five points on a threepoint play, followed by two free throws.

The Pirates answered with an 8-2 tear which boosted their lead to 44-36 at the 3:05 mark in the third period. Kirmse drained a three-pointer and then hit a rebound basket, followed by Sam Weiland’s three-ball.

Port Washington led 48-40 through three quarters after Weiland’s tip-in for a follow-up bucket at the buzzer.

The Panthers fell behind 52-42 with 5:30 left after Kirmse’s layup but they made a charge again – outscoring the Pirates 8-2 to close to within 54-50 with 2:45 left. Neils led the way with four points on a driving layup and a rebound basket. Jankowski’s trey climaxed the rally.

PHS was unable to get any closer than four the rest of the game. Plymouth pressed and trapped most of the final period but the Pirates handled it pretty well. Port Washington scored its final 12 points at the foul line to keep PHS at bay.

“They’re a really good team and we’re fortunate to get a crack at the sectional finals,” said Pirate head coach Brian Hebein.

“We finally matched their intensity in the first half and were able to knock down free throws at the end. We gave up 13 offensive rebounds in the first half and were lucky to be up seven.

“When we started stepping through their traps, we were able to get the ball inside. We stayed active [on offense]. On defense, we stayed in our gaps and closed out on their three-point shooters,” Hebein said.

Neils, a senior guard, led PHS in scoring with 21 points and Jankowski tallied 17. Zac Cain had a team-high seven rebounds before having to leave the court with a leg injury with 2:04 left.

Neils and Eric Nygaard paced PHS in steals with two each. Nygaard fouled out with 2:06 left. Collin Denzin had a team-high three assists.

Hebein thought Kirmse really stepped up on offense. Kirmse had just nine points in the first meeting this season with PHS.

“We didn’t do a good job of keeping the ball in front of us [on defense] which led to dump-offs and open threes,” Duff noted.

“Early in the game, we were able to get good shots but they didn’t fall.

“One game doesn’t define a season. I’m obviously proud of them. It [loss] hurts. It’s tough but you move on,” said Duff.

PORT WASHINGTON 66

PLYMOUTH 54

Score by Quarters

Port Washington...12 22 14 18 66
Plymouth…............10 17 13 14 54

Port Washington scoring: Sam Weiland 10, Al’Tavius Jackson 15, Matthew Kirmse 23, Patrick McDonald 14, Darius Will 4. Three-point goals: Weiland 2, Kirmse 4.

Plymouth scoring: Kollin Neils 21, Zac Cain 4, Brady Grapentine 2, Collin Denzin 5, Tom Jankowski 17, Eric Nygaard 5. Three-point goals: Neils 3, Denzin 1, Jankowski 1.

Field goals: Port Washington 20- 38, 53%; Plymouth 15-54, 28%. Free throws: Port Washington 20-23, 87%; Plymouth 19-25, 76%.

Rebounds: Port Washington 25, Plymouth 26. Turnovers: Port Washi_ ngton 16, Plymouth 11.


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