It might have been difficult to see this one coming.
The Bay Port boys basketball team entered the season with lofty goals, fueled by having arguably two of the best players in the Fox River Classic Conference in guard Brett Frieder and forward Jack Plumb.
Those two lived up to expectations, but it was a first-year starter who stole the show for a Bay Port team that went 18-0 in conference play and reached the WIAA Division 1 sectionals.
Senior guard Jordan Nolle put together a dominating season in every way possible, proving to be better than anybody in the 10-team FRCC.
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Nolle, the Green Bay Press-Gazette’s boys basketball player of the year, averaged 15.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists. The 6-foot-1 guard shot 62.1 percent overall, 58 percent from 3-point range and 73.3 percent from the line. It felt at times like he never took a bad shot during a game.
Already a good defensive player coming off the bench as a junior, he was one of the best in the conference again while setting a Bay Port single-season record with 70 steals.
Nolle was named the FRCC player of the year and was a Division 1 honorable mention all-state pick by the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association.
How, exactly, did this happen?
“He’s always been a great athlete,” Bay Port coach Nate Rykal said. “The shooting part of it, I don’t know. It’s unbelievable. He really got hot and performed all year. He was clutch.
“Jordan’s shot is certainly not textbook perfect. But lots of great shooters rely more on reps and confidence than technique. Besides being a great player, he was, more importantly, a great teammate.”
What makes Nolle’s season even more remarkable is that he doesn’t get much time to work on his game. He is a three-sport athlete, playing football in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring.
He played summer basketball after his freshman year but broke his thumb. The next summer he was playing in a game at Wisconsin Dells and broke his wrist.
“I kind of stopped trying to play basketball after those two,” Nolle said.
He focused mostly on American Legion baseball after that — occasionally playing a little basketball — before it was time for the football season.
Finding a way to get up some extra shots never was easy. There were times after football practice that he’d be in his driveway taking as many as possible.
But if those rare opportunities somehow limited his growth as a basketball player, it was difficult to tell this season.
The most rewarding part for Nolle wasn’t the numbers he put up, but who he was putting them up with. He is tight with this group of Bay Port seniors, having played with most of them since they were children. He also took pride in that undefeated conference record, knowing it’s a mark that can’t be topped.
Still, to do what he did individually against tough competition is impressive.
“Of course, you always want to be confident,” Nolle said. “I knew I was going to be a good defender, and Coach told me last year that I would always be defending the best player due to my size, but offensively I just really wanted to make an impact. It turned out my impact was much larger than I originally thought.”
Nolle isn’t sure what his future holds. There is a chance it could be in basketball, since he took an unofficial visit to Michigan Tech recently and may eventually take an official one.
But he also has pondered not playing any sports in college to concentrate fully on his academics.
Either way, he has left his mark at Bay Port.
“He is a kid that his teammates and classmates love to see do well, because he doesn’t have an ego and is truly unselfish,” Rykal said. “Terrific kid in the classroom and in his three sports.”