Shawano falls to Phantoms for 2nd time

Hawks make rematch harder for West De Pere to capture

Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Shawano Community High School senior Kaden Richards goes up for a basket during the first half of of Tuesday’s game against West De Pere.

Shawano kept battling back and closed an 11-point gap in the final 33 seconds against West De Pere, but ultimately dropped the Bay Conference contest 70-65 on Tuesday at home.

The five-point loss was an improvement from the Jan. 9 contest between the two, in which the Hawks lost 71-50.

Trailing by 10 with under two minutes to play, Shawano junior Alex Mueller converted a 4-point play after being fouled while hitting a 3-pointer. The Phantoms (11-9, 8-4 Bay) had four opportunities at the line and knocked down 5-of-8 free throws to create an 11-point advantage.

Sophomore Nick Sherman answered with a putback and consecutive 3-pointer and Mueller made a basket under the hoop to level the score 69-65 with 7 seconds left. West De Pere’s Kody Eisch got to the line again and hit one more free throw to seal the Phantoms’ victory.

The Hawks’ (8-11, 4-8 Bay) grit was on display throughout the entire matchup, with a starting defense that held the Phantoms to just four points in the opening 6 ½ minutes. Atty Wagner sank a pair of threes to give Shawano an early lead before losing it to the Phantoms midway through the first half.

Down 27-21 to start the second half, Cole Nelson sank back-to-back 3-pointers in the opening minute to tie the game. West De Pere continued to creep ahead, but the Hawks never allowed more than a 12-point deficit and outscored the Phantoms 44-43.

“The biggest thing was defense,” Shawano head coach David Ambrosius said. “It was a complete team effort, everyone was focused in on this and it definitely showed more this time around. We got up and pressured the basketball, so I don’t think they ever really got comfortable when they had the basketball in their hands. And our help-side defense was in better positions, so every single player on the court just did their part.”

West De Pere head coach Andy Werner knew the matchup would be tougher the second time around.

“The biggest difference is they had (Carter Weisnicht) back, and that affects not only scoring, but rebounding and screening and just being a presence,” Werner said. “So he has a big impact, and they always play better at home and it’s always lively and a little louder here, so we knew this was going to be a tough one coming in. I warned the boys ahead of time that games played here are always more challenging and they needed to be ready.”

West De Pere’s Jake Karchinski scored a game-high 18 points, while Mueller led the Hawks with 13 points, all in the second half. Cole Nelson drained three 3-pointers to contribute a total of 11 points and Brad Bartz added 10.

With just three regular season games left before playoffs begin, Ambrosius said he’s starting to see his team perform their best at the right time.

“I think that has to do with the fact that we have eight seniors,” he said. “They know that they only have four guarenteed games left, and they’re going to have to earn every game after that. These guys know what this process is like, they know what it feels like, so they understand the magnitude and you can see that in our practices the last couple of weeks and in this game.”

West De Pere (70)

Garrett Kempen 6-6 14; Dylan Govin 0-0 5; John Edinger 1-2 5; Jovan Webb 1-2 1; Kody Eisch 3-6 15; Tristan Jindra 0-2 6; Drew Kocken 4-4 6; Jake Karchinski 2-2 18.

Shawano (65)

Kaden Richards 0-0 2; Nick Sherman 0-0 5; Cole Nelson 0-0 11; Atty Wagner 0-0 8; Alex Mueller 1-1 13; Jacob Lacy 0-0 8; Brad Bartz 0-1 10; Carter Weisnicht 1-2 8.

West De Pere 27 43 — 70

Shawano 21 44 — 65