Despite abbreviated playoff run, Panthers have special memories of season

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH — While the Plymouth Panthers’ playoff run ended earlier than they had hoped, they take away many fond memories of what was a very successful boys basketball season.

“Our ultimate goal was to go to state but we accomplished a lot of goals,” said Panther standout senior guard Kollin Neils.

“It was definitely a big accomplishment to go undefeated in the conference. We came up a little short [in the playoffs] but still had a successful season. It sucks that it’s over but we had a lot fun this season.”

The Panthers won the Eastern Wisconsin Conference title with a 14-0 record – the first time a team has gone unbeaten in the league since PHS did it in the 2007-08 season. PHS finished 21-4 overall this past season, including a Division 2 regional title. The Panthers fell to Port Washington in the sectional semifi- nals Thursday, 66-54.

“It was the kind of game where they [Port Washington] shot well and we didn’t. We definitely worked hard but everything wasn’t clicking. It wasn’t one of our greatest performances,” said Neils.

“Port Washington definitely played a good game and hit big shots. They were a solid defensive team. It kind of sucks because we were coming off the win over West Bend East which was one of our best games of the season and we thought that it would carry over.”

The Panthers clobbered East, 71-48, in a regional final.

“It’s going to be tough not playing with this team. It’s a group we’ve grown up with [playing together] since third grade. We had a great year and I have a ton of great memories,” said Neils.

Panther head coach Jason Duff has special memories of his team.

“The thing I will remember most about the season are the relationships. It was a tight-knit group. I’ll remember how much we cared for each other and how whatever we experienced, high, lows, you name it, we experienced it together,” said Duff.

“I’m proud of how we competed and how we represented this school and this community.”

Neils thought the Panthers’ teamwork and chemistry were keys to the team’s success.

“We had good chemistry. It’s a great group of guys,” Neils said.

“We’ve been playing together so long that when we get in a groove and start playing well together, everything starts to click.

“We know each other’s tendencies. We all have our roles and that is definitely a key to our success,” said Neils.

“No one cares about stats. It didn’t matter who was scoring. We were unselfish. We were always making the extra pass to the guy who was open.”

Duff and Neils, on behalf of the team, appreciated the fan support shown all season.

“The fans did a really good job always cheering and getting us fired up. We had great fan support,” Neils said.

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