The screen wasn’t there.
But Cody Schwartz’s shot sure was.
The 6-foot-7 sophomore nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to power West De Pere to a 66-63 road victory at Seymour in a matchup between the last two unbeaten teams in the Bay Conference on Tuesday.
“We thought they would go 1-3-1 (zone) and they actually went 2-3,” Phantoms coach Andy Werner said about what he drew up after taking a timeout with 8.7 remaining.
“We had a little screen down there for Cody, but I always say if it’s not there you have to make something happen. Obviously, Cody did.”
After trailing by as much as 12 points in the first half, Schwartz scored 13 of his game-high 25 points in the second half to help West De Pere (11-1, 8-0 Bay) upset the top-ranked Division 2 team in the state.
But more importantly to the Phantoms, ranked No. 10 in D2 in the latest coaches’ poll, the victory could go a long way towards ending a 27-year drought since their last Bay Conference title.
“That 1986 is kind of engrained in our mind and we want to put one up this year,” Schwartz said.
“We don’t expect Seymour to lose a conference game, so we knew this was a huge game that we had to win.”
Seymour, who is trying to win its fifth straight conference title, played much of the game without 6-foot-5 junior Sandy Cohen, who still scored a team-high 21 points.
Following 13 first-quarter points, Cohen sat most of the second quarter with two fouls and picked up his fourth the possession after sophomore guard Jesse Owens hit a trey – one of his four in the game – to give West De Pere its first lead of the contest with less than 3 minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Cohen would return from the bench in the fourth quarter and score his first points of the second half on a thunderous dunk with 2:10 remaining to close the gap to 61-59.
The momentum was short lived because Schwartz made two blocks of Cohen on the next Seymour possession and would push the lead to four points with a jumper.
Cohen, however, tied the game when he was fouled while making a 3-pointer with 47.3 seconds remaining. It would be the last possession, though, for the Thunder (12-2, 8-1).
“Thing didn’t roll our way tonight, Cohen on the bench for a good portion of that game,” Seymour coach Jon Murphy said. “They packed in the zone and gave us a lot of shots in the corner, but we just didn’t hit them.”
Although he knows his team has a long ways to go before the rematch at West De Pere on Feb. 15, Werner said the road win will go a long way towards his young team’s development.
“They’ve worked hard to get into a game like this, and to play like they did, I’m real proud,” the fourth-year coach said.
West De Pere …16 15 18 17 — 66
Seymour …22 16 10 15 — 63
West De Pere: Kocken 8, Owens 16, Konshak 6, Diekvoss 11, Schwartz 25. FT:14-14. 3-pt: Owens 4, Diekvoss, Schwartz 3. F: 13.
Seymour: Oskey 14, Cohen 21, Jefson 13, Powless 2, Heiden 9, Buchholtz 4. FT: 10-14. 3-pt: Oskey, Cohen 3, Jefson 4, Heiden. F: 15.