PORT WASHINGTON’S Shane Kennedy powered his way inside for two of his 11 points in Saturday’s come-from-behind win over Plymouth. The senior forward’s biggest basket came on a last-second shot that gave the Pirates a 48-47 victory.
Photo by Sam Arendt
Kennedy’s heart-stopping basket at buzzer caps gritty comeback that sends Port boys to sectional
Shane Kennedy took one on the chin but refused to stay down for the count last Saturday night.
After being sidelined following a collision that left him bloodied in a WIAA Division 2 regional title game, the senior forward returned to rescue the Port Washington boys’ basketball team in a 48-47 thriller against Plymouth.
Port, which trailed nearly the entire game, faced a 47-46 deficit with 8.3 seconds left. Given one last shot at a comeback win after a Plymouth turnover, the Pirates ran a play from the left sideline.
Kennedy took an inbounds pass from Sawyer Mosley, couldn’t find an open teammate and dribbled into the lane for a 12-foot jumper.
His shot curled over the rim and dropped through net as the buzzer sounded.
Pandemonium reigned as Kennedy and his teammates were engulfed by a wave of frenzied Port fans who rushed the court in the West Bend Field House to celebrate a championship and a trip to the sectional round.
The shot “felt awesome,” Kennedy said amid the revelry.
“The play was actually designed for me to get the ball back to Sawyer, but he was covered, so I had to do something. It felt good when it left my hand.”
Kennedy’s clutch touch capped a wild rally by the Pirates, who for much of the game appeared headed for a season-ending loss. They trailed, 36-29, entering the fourth quarter, thanks in large part to Plymouth’s scrappy backcourt.
After trailing, 36-25, late in the third period, Port went on a 14-3 rally fueled by seven points from Mosley and drew even at 39-39 with less than three minutes to play. But Plymouth countered with a run of its own and held a 46-43 edge with 55 seconds left.
After Mosley nailed a three-point shot to retie the score, Plymouth ran the clock down to set up a potential game-winner. Freshman guard Kollin Neils, who led the Panthers with 12 points, drew a foul on a drive and made the first of two free throws with 12 seconds left.
Neils missed his second attempt, and Plymouth grabbed the rebound. However, when a scramble for the ball ensued, an errant pass deflected off a Panthers player and crossed the half-court line, leading to an over-and-back violation.
That set the stage for a Port timeout, where coach John Bunyan and his staff drew up their team’s most memorable play of the season to date.
“I was really proud of the way our players came back from 10 points down,” Bunyan said. “They never gave up.
“Plymouth gave us a lot of trouble with their guards, who really played well. They were really quick and drew a lot of fouls from us.”
Plymouth had plenty of chances at the free-throw line, led by Neils, who went 6-for-8 there. However, the Panthers aided Port’s rally by missing nine foul shots in the second half.
Mosley, a junior guard, helped the Pirates cash in by scoring 10 of his game-high 16 points in the second half.
“Sometimes we start out slow and we have to find a way to light the fire,” Mosley said.
Kennedy finished with 11 points despite sustaining a cut under his chin in a collision with a Plymouth player midway through the third quarter. After trading his blood-stained jersey for one from a teammate, he returned with a heavily bandaged chin and scored seven points in the final period.
The win advanced the Pirates (12-11) into a sectional semifinal game against Beaver Dam this Friday at the Brown County Arena in Ashwaubenon (see related story).
Port Washington 46, Cedarburg 31
A slow start failed to derail the Pirates on their way to a regional semifinal win at home last Friday.
Port misfired early and trailed, 13-10, after one quarter but stepped up its defense in the second period. After Jake Borgardt hit a three-point shot that put the Bulldogs ahead, 16-10, they failed to score in the final 6:35 of the half.
The Pirates used a 10-0 run to take a 20-16 lead into intermission and padded the margin to 29-21 after three periods. Cedarburg never got any closer.
Kennedy led Port with 13 points, and Joey Burbach added 11.
“We talked at halftime about playing tougher defense,” Bunyan said. “We got in foul trouble early in the game by getting out of position, but we made some adjustments and played a lot better after that.”
Guard Matt Johnson scored a game-high 15 points for Cedarburg, which also got 13 from Borgardt. However, the only other Bulldog to score was Stephen Fischer with four points.
Borgardt had all eight of his team’s points in the second and third quarters.
Cedarburg finished the season 7-17.