Basketball

Plamann drops in 31 to drive Hawks past Phantoms

APPLETON – Had the rules allowed it, West De Pere might have put a tracking device on Hunter Plamann Thursday night.

It would have come in handy because the Phantoms kept losing him.

Xavier’s explosive junior point guard made countless plays off the dribble and torched the Phantoms for 31 points to drive the Hawks to a 77-63 Bay Conference boys’ basketball win at Torchy Clark Gym.

Fellow junior Sam Ferris added 22 points and Henry Egan contributed 11 off the bench to move Xavier (18-0, 10-0) closer to its second-straight Bay Conference title. The Hawks need to win two of their final four games to claim the title outright and one to gain a share of the championship.

By sweeping the regular-season series from the second-place Phantoms (13-6, 8-3), Xavier all but crushed the title hopes of its most dangerous conference opponent. The double-digit victory also allowed the Hawks to set a school record by winning their 45th consecutive home game.

“A phenomenal effort from our guys from top to bottom,” said Xavier coach Matt Klarner. “It’s not a clincher and we know there’s work to do, but we also know this is a really good team.”

With his 31 points, Plamann moved into ninth place on Xavier’s all-time scoring list with 956 points. Plamann used his exceptional quickness and strong ballhandling skills to consistently blow past Phantoms defenders and knife into the lane, where he would either score, draw fouls or set up teammates for buckets.

“Hunter Plamann played an amazing basketball game,” Klarner said. “He gave us great toughness, played real smart on the defensive end and made great decisions on the offensive end. He made great decisions on when to go and when to stop.

“That’s what you want from a leader and a captain who is your point guard. Your point guard kind of has to be a coach on the floor and he did that today. He was calm and collected under pressure and made a ton of big plays.”

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Plamann also hurt the Phantoms from the perimeter, sinking three 3-pointers. He is averaging 20.5 points per game for a Hawks team ranked second in Division 3 in both Associated Press and wissports.net state polls.

“I thought I was more athletic than my guy and that I could take him off the dribble,” Plamann said. “So I just tried to be aggressive and make plays for my team. It was a really good win. It kind of sealed the deal for conference and was a really good team win.”

West De Pere, led by the shooting of Jake Karchinski, challenged Xavier at times and stayed with the Hawks most of the game.

Xavier hit six of its first seven shots, including a pair of Ferris 3-pointers, to charge to an early 16-5 lead. But the 6-foot-5 Karchinski scored 13 of his team-high 18 points in the first half and drained all four of his threes to cut Xavier’s lead to 42-37 at the break.

The Hawks led by 11 in the second half, but the Phantoms used a 7-0 run to close the gap to 61-57 with seven minutes remaining.

Xavier then seized control with a game-closing 16-6 burst. Plamann sparked the run with 10 points, while Ferris and Egan nailed 3-pointers.

“Offensively, when we’re moving the ball well, defenses can’t focus on Hunter and no one can stay in front of him,” Klarner said. “So, if we get the ball moving, he’s going to get in the lane and create.”

Xavier finished with 11 3-pointers, including five by Ferris, who has played terrific basketball since returning from a shoulder injury in mid-December. Ferris also played strong defense in holding West De Pere scoring threat Taylor Rahn to 11 points and two 3-pointers.

“Sam stepped up and played an amazing game as well,” Klarner said. “He hit some big shots and he was the guy guarding Taylor Rahn most of the game. We focused on taking away Rahn’s threes and I thought we limited his shot attempts.”

West De Pere…

…37

26

— 63

Xavier…

…42

35

— 77

West De Pere: Schwartz 9, Ricker 2, Kempen 3, Eisch 7, Rahn 11, Jindra 2, Kocken 3, Karchinski 18, Norton 8. Totals 21 11-13 63. Three-pointers: Karchinsk 4, Rahn 2, Schwartz, Kempen, Eisch, Kocken. Fouls: 18.

Xavier: Egan 11, Plamann 31, Ferris 22, Christensen 6, DeYoung 4, Schlicht 3. Totals 25 16-24 77. Three-pointers: Ferris 5, Plamann 3, Egan 2, Christensen. Fouls:12.

Tim Froberg: 920-993-7183 or tfroberg@postcrescent.com; on Twitter @twfroberg

Will Schlicht of Xavier battles under the basket with Jake Karchinski of West De Pere on Thursday during a Bay Conference boys’ basketball game in Appleton.

Will Schlicht of Xavier battles under the basket with Jake Karchinski of West De Pere on Thursday during a Bay Conference boys’ basketball game in Appleton.