Young Wildcats learning on the fly

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Gresham Community School sophomore point guard Drew Haffner, who started every game a season ago, will distribute the ball throughout the young Wildcats team.

Christian Haffner, the Central Wisconsin Conference-10’s Player of the Year last season, left big shoes to fill on the Gresham Community School’s boys basketball team.

After averaging over 26 points per game a season ago, Haffner accepted an offer to join the Marquette University men’s basketball team as a walk-on.

No one player can make up the production of a player of Haffner’s stature, Gresham head coach Jeff Zobeck said, but with a combined effort, the Wildcats might not see a drop-off on offense from the squad that compiled a 21-4 record and finished second in the CWC-10.

“We’re looking for the best out of each of the guys we have,” Zobeck said. “They are equally skilled in certain ways, but he was a complete player on the offensive end for sure. And knowledgeable. His knowledge on the court was probably just as important as his actual ability.”


Hawks fall to Hortonville in season opener

Shawano junior Austin Kohl scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds in a 64-34 loss to Hortonville in the Justagame Tournament in Wisconsin Dells on Friday night.

Senior center Zeke Gueths tallied seven points and five rebounds.

“I know they did some really good things. They just struggled to get consistency with every possession,” Shawano head coach Dave Ambrosius said. “Turnovers were a big thing that kind of derailed us, but in the second half, we had a nice stretch where we got some good looks at the bucket and made some shots.”

“There are some positives to take out of this game,” Ambrosius added. “With the young team, we just didn’t handle the pressure well tonight.”


Czarapata, Pedersen lead inexperienced Bears

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Bonduel High School senior Trevor Pedersen has worked on his shooting this season, as he will be counted on offensively.

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Bonduel High School senior Peyton Czarapata returns after earning first-team all Central Wisconsin Conference-8 honors a season ago.

Bonduel High School seniors Peyton Czarapata and Trevor Pedersen have a tall task in front of them as they prepare for the start of the boys basketball season.

As two of four returning players with varsity experience, they will be counted on to lead the Bears and help get several new players ready to compete at the varsity level.

“We may not score as much as last year, but I think defensively, we should be pretty good,” Bonduel head coach Duke Copp said. “Trevor, this is his third year of being a varsity starter. Peyton is first-team all conference, so there are some pretty good players here.”

Behind Czarapata and Pedersen, the Bears will have six other seniors on the roster, as well as two juniors and two freshmen.

“We have four players with varsity experience, so it will be a good learning environment to try and get them up to varsity,” Czarapata said.


Hawks wrestling team lacks numbers

Low numbers have held back the Shawano Community High School wrestling team over the years, but head coach Mike Homan isn’t letting that slow his drive.

The Hawks return five sectional qualifiers from a season ago and look forward to becoming better individually.

“I would like a full team, and I want everyone who is interested in wrestling to come out, but basically we’re going to take who shows up and who wants to go to work and go to battle with those kids and do our best to get them prepared to move on in their wrestling career,” Homan said.

Shawano has two seniors on the roster: Wyatt Welch, who wrestled in the 106-pound weight class a season ago, and heavyweight Damon Braatz.

Changes to the Bay Conference and WIAA realignment, moving the Hawks from Division 1 to Division 2, might make conference competition a little easier, but postseason competition could become much more difficult.


Gueths, Bartz lead young Hawks basketball team

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Shawano Community High School senior Adam Bartz will take on a bigger role this season for the Hawks after playing in 21 games a season ago and averaging 2.1 points per game.

Former coach Chris Kellett created a solid foundation for the Shawano Community High School boys basketball program before resigning in June.

New coach Dave Ambrosius, who was an assistant under Kellett, has taken over the reins and will get the chance to prove himself with a young team.

“He’s always been in Kellett’s shadow,” senior Zeke Gueths said immediately after the hiring, “so I’m excited to see how he is as a true coach now.”

Kellett went 8-15 in his first season as a head coach and brought his team’s record all the way up to 19-6 two years later, including an 11-5 finish in the Bay Conference, good for fourth place. The Hawks advanced to a WIAA sectional semifinal before Merrill ended their season.

However, Shawano lost Zack Sousek and Sajen Knueppel to graduation, and Eric Carl transferred to Kaukauna. The trio played in every game and combined for nearly 17 points per game.


4-team playoff not enough to decide college title

It took the help of two overturned touchdowns in the last minute, but the University of Wisconsin lost to Northwestern 13-7 last week and bid adieu to any freak, long-shot national title chances that might have still flickered.

Although, in reality, for the Badgers that ship sailed on Oct. 3. On that Saturday they lost 10-6 to Iowa. It was the second loss of the season for Wisconsin, which also lost at Alabama in the season-opener.

One road loss to Alabama doesn’t exempt you from the NCAA Division I postseason micro-tourney, but two losses of any kind do.

There is no room for a two-loss team – or a fifth team of any kind – in the Bowl Championship Series’ present, lacking state.

The BCS has been a tepid answer to the popular call for a Division I playoff system in line with one used at every other level of college, and in line with every other team sport that follows a regular season with a title-deciding postseason.


Cerveny jump-starts Gresham in season opener

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Gresham High School junior Neal Cerveny drives to the hoop on a fast break in the first half en route to two of his 20 points on the night.

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Gresham High School junior Derek Bowman defends Crandon’s Richie Weber during the second half of Gresham’s 63-37 season-opening victory Tuesday.

The first game of the season included a few early turnovers and a slow start offensively for the Gresham High School boys basketball team.

Junior Neal Cerveny acted as a catalyst, however, as the Wildcats got untracked for a 63-37 win over Crandon on Tuesday in Gresham. Cerveny finished with 20 points and eight rebounds.

“We were a little sluggish, especially on the offensive end, we just didn’t really get into a rhythm,” Gresham head coach Jeff Zobeck said.

With the game tied at 9, the Wildcats exploded for a 12-0 run, led by Cerveny’s eight points and an assist. Crandon switched to a 2-3 zone to try to slow Gresham, but the Wildcats continued to create fast-break points and second-chance scoring.

Zobeck’s team did not practice against a zone prior to the game, but the Wildcats found holes in the zone and open lanes to the basket.


High School Highlights


Bonduel wins third straight

Senior forward Taylor Weier again led the Bonduel girls basketball team, this time scoring 12 points and grabbing seven rebounds in a 60-23 victory Monday night over Coleman.

Junior Emily Sorenson added 11 points and five steals, while Danee Collier recorded five steals and seven assists for the Bears (3-0).

All 12 players scored for Bonduel, which held host Coleman (0-3) to nine points in the second half.

Hawks get back on track

After falling to Merrill on Friday at home, Shawano rebounded with a 52-45 victory in Antigo on Tuesday night.

The Hawks (2-1) were led by Morgan Klitzke’s 24 points and six rebounds. Sara Hokenstad tallied 12 points. Megan Klitzke recorded five rebounds, four assists and two steals for Shawano.

Antigo fell to 1-1.

Mahkimetas hits late free throw


Hunters register more deer on opening weekend

Contributed Photo GOOD OPENING DAY: James Lombardo shot a 15-point buck on opening day of gun deer season just outside of Mattoon.

Hunters registered nearly 30,000 more deer during the opening weekend of the nine-day gun deer season than last year, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR reported Tuesday that 119,495 deer were registered on opening weekend, about 16,000 more than in 2014 and the second highest count since 2008.

In Shawano County, hunters registered 3,961 deer, including 2,150 bucks. Last year’s opening weekend total was 3,841, including 2,071 bucks. There was one deer, a buck, registered in Menominee County this year and 4,507 in Waupaca County — 490 more than last year, including 2,296 with antlers.

DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang said a mild winter last year was good for whitetails, which could contribute to the successes on opening weekend. Also, he said more northern counties are selling tags for antlerless deer.


Late run not enough for Hawks to top Bluejays

Leader photo by Chris Caporale Shawano Community High School senior Megan Klitzke defends Merrill’s Riley Folz in the second half of Friday’s loss.

It was a sloppy start for the Shawano Community High School girls basketball team.

The Hawks turned the ball over six times, while managing just two points in the first six minutes of the game, but Merrill was not playing much better.

The game eventually sped up, but the Bluejays remained in control for the majority of the game to take home a 65-54 victory Friday night.

“I don’t know why. We preach that; taking care of the ball and if you start like that at the start of the game, it’s hard to find your rhythm,” SCHS head coach Ryan Koenig said. “It showed tonight. We didn’t really get our rhythm until the second half.”

Koenig then subbed Tori DePerry into the lineup to generate some offense, and she gave the team an immediate boost, putting the Hawks ahead before Merrill went on an 8-0 run of its own.

It was around this point as well that Shawano had to stop pressing Merrill because the team was getting tired.


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