Peplinski advances to 182-pound title match

Photo by Mary Langenfeld Bonduel High School junior Jacob Banker competes in the WIAA Division 3 state wrestling tournament quarterfinals at the Kohl Center on Friday. He lost to Brady Peat, of Iowa-Grant Highland, in a 6-1 decision but later beat Daniel Kocourek, of Reedsville, in the wrestlebacks, 4-2, to secure a spot on the podium at 170 pounds.

Photo by Mary Langenfeld Alex Peplinski, of Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School, competes in the WIAA Division 3 state wrestling tournament quarterfinals at the Kohl Center on Friday. He pinned Stephen Schostok, of Kenosha Christian Life, in their 182-pound match in 1 minute and 35 seconds.

All three local wrestlers who competed Thursday at the WIAA Division 3 state meet in Madison secured positions in the top six Friday and are guaranteed at least a medal.

Bonduel junior Jacob Banker and Wittenberg-Birnamwood’s Stetson Potrykus and Alex Peplinski will be standing on the podium at the end of the tourney Saturday.

“That’s obviously the No. 1 goal when we get to the state tournament — to place,” Bonduel head coach Chris Rank.

Peplinski (44-4), a three-time state qualifier, advanced to the state title match at 182 pounds, earning another first-period pin, this time in the semifinals over Laconia’s Caleb Hopp (44-7) Friday night. Peplinski needed 1 minute and 34 seconds, one second less than his quarterfinal pin earlier in the day.

Peplinski will face Boyceville’s James Palmer (43-1) for the state title Saturday.


Johnson sees court, converts on senior night

Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Shawano Community High School senior Richard Johnson made a layup on the opening possession of the game on senior night Thursday, getting the opportunity to score just four months removed from an ACL injury during the football season.

Shawano senior Richard Johnson was nervous as he stepped out onto the court Thursday to be a starter for the first time this season in his team’s Bay Conference season finale against New London.

Johnson, just four months removed from tearing his ACL in the Hawks’ Level 1 football playoff loss to Notre Dame and three months since surgery, waited under the basket for his time to shine on senior night.

“I was shaking really bad,” Johnson said.

Senior Tyrell Hesse, on the opening tip, got the ball to Josh Mueller, who made the long-distance pass to Johnson. Johnson, still in a knee brace after walking for the past month and a half, converted on the layup for the opening points of the game.

“It was just one of those moments that was great about high school sports,” Shawano head coach Dave Ambrosius said.

The Hawks (12-10, 9-5 Bay Conference) went on to win the game, 59-45.


Jensen finishing senior season with dominant play

Gresham girls basketball head coach Vaughn Miller saw into the future.

As an assistant at Bowler High School under his brother, AJ Miller, he faced Gresham’s Sydney Jensen four times over her freshman and sophomore seasons, and despite her youth, she showed signs of progress and skill that intrigued the brothers.

“‘Oh that No. 4, that red-headed girl on their team, she’s a pretty good player. She’s young, but she’s going to be an excellent player,’” Vaughn Miller recalled from a conversation with his brother. “I guess, we were able to see the future because I wasn’t wrong about that. She was a very good player.”

Jensen, who became the school’s fourth 1,000-point scorer in the regular season finale at home last week, has carried the Wildcats over the second half of her final season, averaging 20.5 points per game over her past four games, including Tuesday’s upset of Phelps in a WIAA Division 5 regional quarterfinal.


Banker, Potrykus advance to quarterfinals

Photo by Mary Langenfeld Jacob Banker, of Bonduel ,wrestles against Joey Cibulka, of Poynette, in the WIAA Division 3 state wrestling tournament at the Kohl Center on Thursday . Banker pinned Cibulka in the second period.

Photo by Mary Langenfeld Menomonee Indian High School senior Antonio Mahkimetas wrestles James LaPointe, of Bayfield/Washburn, in the WIAA Division 3 state wrestling tournament Thursday at the Kohl Center in Madison. LaPointe defeated Mahkimetas, 11-5.

Two of the three area wrestlers who competed Thursday at the WIAA Division 3 state tournament in Madison advanced with victories.

Bonduel junior Jacob Banker advanced with a pin, Wittenberg-Birnamwood senior Stetson Potrykus won a decision, and Menominee Indian senior Antonio Mahkimetas saw his season come to an end.

Banker (33-5), the Bears’ only state qualifier, won his preliminary match at 170 pounds over Poynette’s Joey Cibulka by a second-period pin.

Banker needed three minutes and 32 seconds to secure the victory and will go up against Iowa-Grant/Highland’s Brady Peat (40-6) in the quarterfinals Friday morning. Banker and Peat met in the wrestlebacks at state last winter, with Banker advancing to the third-place match with a 6-5 decision victory. Banker finished third, and Peat took fifth.


Press pushes Shawano into blowout loss

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Shawano Community High School sophomore Hailey Buschman goes up for a layup between two New London defenders Thursday in Shawano’s 61-29 WIAA Division 2 regional semifinal road loss.

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Shawano Community High School junior Kristina Wynos dishes the ball to a teammate in the second half of Shawano’s 61-29 road loss Thursday. Wynos scored the final four points of the game for the Hawks.

The Shawano girls basketball team struggled to take control of the tempo of Thursday’s WIAA Division 2 regional semifinal road game in New London.

The Bulldogs, who unleashed a man-to-man, full-court press, forced the Hawks to push the ball up the court too fast, forcing turnovers and missed shots, and the game was never in doubt as New London ran away with the 61-29 victory.

“They’ve never been in this spot before, so you’ve got to use it as a learning experience, and you’ve got to slow down,” Shawano head coach Ryan Koenig said. “We just couldn’t slow down. Once you break it, you’ve got to slow down, and we just kept trying to go as hard as we could to the basket or the sideline, and bad things happen when you do that.”

Shawano, which lost Kennedy Klemens to a knee injury just over a minute into the game, turned the ball over on its first four possessions. New London’s Leah Porath scored the first six points of the game.


Chargers survive late scare from Bears

That five in the win column for the Bonduel boys basketball team can look awfully deceiving.

The Bears trailed by 15 points to Wittenberg-Birnamwood early in the second half, but Bonduel made it a two-point game with under one minute remaining. But the visiting Chargers were 9 for 10 from the free-throw line in the final 45 seconds to pull out a 70-62 victory in Central Wisconsin Conference-8 action Thursday.

“A little disappointing, because we’ve been playing better,” Bonduel coach Duke Copp said. “I think we did play pretty well, we just missed shots.”

Wittenberg-Birnamwood (12-10, 7-7 Central Wisconsin Conference-8) was 19 for 24 at the free-throw line, 16 for 20 in the second half.

“We got it done down the stretch,” Wittenberg-Birnamwood coach Lon Ebel said. “I think we lost our focus and execution at times. That was pretty physical game, and we expect that when we come here. But we fought through it.”


High School Highlights

Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Shawano Community High School guard Nick Grignon maneuvers past a New London defender during the first half of Shawano’s 59-45 victory Thursday in Shawano.


Witt-Birn 61

Auburndale 23

Three Wittenberg-Birnamwood players reached double figures in Thursday’s WIAA Division 4 regional semifinal home victory.

The Chargers (22-1, 13-1 Central Wisconsin Conference-8) were led by Kirsten Clark’s 12 points, while Paige Norrbom added 11 points. Emily Norrbom recorded 10 points and four assists.

Wittenberg-Birnamwood shot 51 percent from the field. On Monday, the Chargers will host the winner of Saturday’s Bonduel/Stratford game.


Shawano 59

New London 45

Junior center Dakota Maltbey tallied a team-high 14 points on six made field goals as Shawano won Thursday at home.

Cole Nelson and Carter Weisnicht each added eight points for the Hawks (12-10, 9-5 Bay Conference).

Senior forward Tyrell Hesse posted seven assists and six rebounds while Maltbey pulled down seven rebounds.

Gresham 79


Wescott man spears massive sturgeon on 1st shot

Contributed Photo Wescott native Johnathan Schneider, left, poses with friends Nate Schweitzer, center, and Kevin Carstedt with the 115.2-pound sturgeon Schneider speared Feb. 15 on Lake Winnebago.

Contributed Photo John Schneider, left, of Wescott, poses with friend Rob Steffes and the 115.2-pound sturgeon Schneider speared Feb. 15 on Lake Winnebago.

For the past six years, Shawano native Johnathan Schneider had no success spearing sturgeon on Lake Winnebago.

On Feb. 15, his fortunes changed, as the 32-year-old town of Wescott resident tagged a 115.2-pound female sturgeon that measured 68.5 inches.

“It was kind of like surreal,” said Schneider, who had never thrown a spear before in his life. “Once we got it out, we couldn’t believe it could happen.”

Schneider was introduced to sturgeon spearing by his friend Ryan Milske and has been traveling to Lake Winnebago every year since. He has fished from his own shack for the past three seasons.

Schneider, one of 54 spearers to get a fish over 100 pounds so far this season, was joined on the ice Feb. 15 by friends Nate Schweitzer and Kevin Carstedt, who made the trek up from Milwaukee.


High School Digest

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Shawano Community High School sophomore Tori DePerry made her mark in the Hawks’ playoff victory Tuesday with 21 points and nine rebounds in her first game back from an ankle injury.


Gresham vs. Tigerton

The Gresham boys basketball team has a chance to lock up its first conference title in 15 years with a victory at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at home.

The Wildcats, who sit at 18-3 overall, are 16-1 in the Central Wisconsin Conference-10 and tied for the conference lead with Almond-Bancroft, which faces Marion in its final game.

Gresham last won a conference title during the 2001-02 season.

The Wildcats also can continue their momentum heading into the playoffs as the top seed in their regional, an accomplishment matched by the team from two years ago. The 2015 Wildcats lost in the regional final to Green Bay NEW Lutheran, which advanced to state.


Bonduel vs. Wittenberg-Birnamwood


Matador defense rules the day at NBA All-Star game

The National Basketball Association’s layup drill disguised an all-star game last Sunday left in its wake so many disenchanted fans that there was hue and cry to flush the annual spectacle altogether.

But that action might not fly because it could entail some controversy about who’s doing the flushing and in which washroom.

For the record, the Western Conference stars beat the East at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans – the record being the 374 points scored in an all-star game.

The exhibition was held in New Orleans because the original host city – Charlotte, North Carolina – was removed from consideration due to the league’s objection to a Charlotte ordinance requiring transgendered individuals to use public washrooms corresponding to their assigned sex at birth.


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