MEMBERS OF THE Port Washington boys’ basketball team formed a somber group on the bench during the final seconds of a season-ending loss to Seymour in a WIAA Division 2 sectional title game last Saturday. Photo by Sam Arendt
Perennial power Seymour derails Port boys’ dream in sectional championship game
There was no mystery in the challenge facing the Port Washington boys’ basketball team last Saturday night at the Brown County Arena.
By pulling the plug on a perennial powerhouse foe, the Pirates would book their first trip to the WIAA Division 2 state tournament since 2007.
But the problem for Port was an uncooperative Seymour team, which muscled its way to a 60-42 victory in a sectional final.
The win gave the Thunder its ninth sectional title since 2000 and dashed the upset hopes of the Pirates in their season finale.
“They were big inside,” Port coach John Bunyan said of the Thunder, who for most of the game controlled the backboards and disrupted the Pirates’ interior offense.
For one quarter, the Pirates (13-12) continued their postseason resurgence and clung to an 8-6 lead. However, Seymour (23-3) wasted no time taking charge in the second period.
“We tried to match their physicality but got called for some fouls early. To their credit, they also hit some big shots.”
With Port forwards Kyle Rismeyer and Shane Kennedy both on the bench with two personal fouls, the Thunder asserted themselves at both ends of the court.
Forward Calahan Skogman fueled a Seymour rally by scoring 13 points in the second quarter, and his team took a 26-19 lead into halftime. After la ayup by Sawyer Mosley pulled the Pirates into a 13-13 tie, they managed only two baskets the rest of the period.
Port stayed in the fight by pulling within 30-26 on a three-point play by Rismeyer early in the third quarter. Rismeyer scored seven of his team-high 11 points in the period.
But the Thunder closed the quarter with an 11-6 run that gave them a 41-32 edge heading into the final period.
LUKE SCHUELLER soared past Seymour ’s Phil Romback for a layup in Saturday’s sectional championship game. Photo by Sam ArendtAlthough Port cut the margin to 45-39 on a three-point play by Kennedy with 3:52 left, Seymour again had an answer.
Responding with a 9-0 run, the Thunder built an insurmountable 54-41 lead. They scored their last eight points at the free-throw line when the Pirates repeatedly fouled to stop the clock.
Despite his team’s second-quarter problems, Bunyan said he remained confident of its comeback ability. The previous night, the Pirates faced the same halftime deficit before rallying to defeat Beaver Dam.
“We felt pretty good at halftime,” he said. “Our guys were playing hard, and we thought we would get more calls in the second half.
“We had our shots, but we missed a bunch of layups and free throws, and that hurt us.”
The foul discrepancy was one of the biggest obstacles for Port, which was whistled for 24 personals to Seymour’s 12. Rismeyer and Mosley both fouled out.
Bunyan wasn’t about to blame the officials for the outcome, though. There was another, more important factor.
“Seymour is a very good team. They’ve got a good program with a great tradition,” he said.
The Thunder were led by Skogman and Troy Rottier with 15 points apiece. Center Phil Romback added 13 points.
Besides Rismeyer’s effort, Port got eight points from Mosley and seven from Luke Schueller.
The Pirates’ late-season resurgence left Bunyan smiling — and looking forward to next season.
“I’m extremely proud of our kids,” he said. “Our goal was to get to state, and we came up one game short.
“We learned as the season went on, got hot at the end and won some great games.”
Port will lose five players to graduation — Kennedy, Schueller, Joe McIlree, Marcus Lackovic and Alex Sparr.