Panthers’ rally falls shy in sectional semis

by Matt Kraus
Review Correspondent


CADE KNAUS, Plymouth guard, attempts to score as Nicolet’s Jeremy Ninham (middle) and Jack Brahm defend in Thursday’s sectional basketball game. Plymouth’s Brandon Keller (left) and Mason Guell watch. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke CADE KNAUS, Plymouth guard, attempts to score as Nicolet’s Jeremy Ninham (middle) and Jack Brahm defend in Thursday’s sectional basketball game. Plymouth’s Brandon Keller (left) and Mason Guell watch. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke SHEBOYGAN – After overcoming 10-point deficits in the first and second halves of Thursday night’s Division 2 boys sectional basketball matchup with the No. 3- seeded Nicolet Knights, the fourth-seeded Plymouth Panthers were down only 60-58 with 44 seconds remaining.

The Panthers were only able to manage a basket from Brandon Keller, and Nicolet went 6-for-7 from the free-throw line as the Knights held on for a 67-60 semifinal victory.

“We were in a good position being down by two with 40 seconds to go but we committed two turnovers and they were able to score,” said Panther head coach Tim Schultz.

The Panthers season ended with a 16-9 record.


BRANDON KELLER of Plymouth tries to score against Nicolet’s Jacob Polan in Thursday’s sectional basketball game. Nicolet’s Jamari Sibley (14) looks on. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke BRANDON KELLER of Plymouth tries to score against Nicolet’s Jacob Polan in Thursday’s sectional basketball game. Nicolet’s Jamari Sibley (14) looks on. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke The Knights lost 69-59 to Kaukauna, ranked No. 1 in the final wissports.net Coaches Poll of the season, in a sectional final Saturday afternoon. Nicolet finished 16-10.

With 4:45 remaining in the game, the Knights tripled-teamed Cade Knaus in the backcourt, forcing a steal and resulting in a lay-up by Knights’ senior forward Jack Brahm, giving the Knights a 56-46 lead.

The Panthers weren’t able to convert on the offensive end but Cooper Gosse picked up a steal, and Cole Booth responded with a lay-up and free throw for a threepoint play which cut Nicolet’s lead to 56-49.

Two possessions later, Adam Smith came up with a steal and got the ball to Mason Guell for a Panthers’ layup and a five-point deficit at 56-51.


THE PLYMOUTH STUDENT section cheers on the Panthers at Thursday’s sectional basketball game versus Nicolet. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke THE PLYMOUTH STUDENT section cheers on the Panthers at Thursday’s sectional basketball game versus Nicolet. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke Nicolet made one free throw with 1:51 remaining and Cade Knaus followed with two free throws, cutting the deficit to 57-53.

The Knights went 3 of 6 from the free-throw line before Guell scored on a drive to hoop and drew a foul. His free throw cut the Nicolet lead to 60-56.

The Panthers’ full-court press forced a five second call on the inbound attempt, and Knaus responded with a layup to make it 60-58 with 44 seconds remaining.

Knaus led the Panthers with 20 points. Guell grabbed a team-high nine rebounds and, along with Booth, dished out a team-leading six assists. Booth and Knaus led in steals with two each.

“As usual, Mason Guell had a good game. He had nine points, nine rebounds [seven offensive] and six assists,”said Schultz.

The Panthers scored first and held a 4-1 lead two minutes into the game.

The Knights took the lead at 5-4 with 14:50 remaining in the first half and slowly built the lead to the 25-15 advantage with 3:42 to play.

Booth started the Panthers’ comeback with a two free throws. Knaus added a three-point play on a drive to the hoop and a free throw to cut the lead to five.

Later, Booth’s penetration allowed him to find an open Guell, who spun to the hoop and scored to cut the lead to 25-22 with a minute to go.

The Knights grabbed two offensive rebounds on their next possession before Booth picked the Knights’ ball handler clean.

As he laid on the floor, Booth found Guell, who in turn dished to Smith for a layup which shaved the Knights’ lead to 25-24.

Nicolet senior guard Jeremy Ninham responded with a drive to the hoop for a basket as the buzzer sounded.

Jamari Sibley a 6-foot, 9-inch sophomore forward, led Nicolet in scoring with 24 points and rebounds with seven.

“Cole Booth played well on the defensive end, forcing their guards to work hard,” said Schultz.

“In the first half we gave up too many easy drives but we corrected that in the second and didn’t give up as many.

“As a team we had to get used to their size. At times their advantage gave them opportunities for put-backs.”


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