Patriots-Vikings showdown super bleak prospect

After the crazy finish in the last of four NFL playoff games last week, a rhetorical question issued forth among fans of the Green Bay Packers.

Who would you rather see win the Super Bowl — Minnesota or New England?

To many fans, the answer is an obvious “neither.” Patriots and Vikings jerseys don’t fly off the shelves in this locale, with good reason, and all things considered, picking one over the other can be like choosing between a cluster headache and a migraine. It’s hard to muster up any support either way.

Why the aversion to those two? Easy. The Packers’ rivalry with Minnesota has played with an intra-divisional hostility ever since the Vikings came into the league, most recently illustrated by the season-killing injury to quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

As for the Patriots — as it often happens with franchises that have been too good for too long — many football fans outside their base are just sick of them on general principle.


Kietlinski leads Bowler to blowout victory over Eagles

Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Bowler High School sophomore Brooke Theix drives up the court during Tuesday’s 51-25 win over Almond-Bancroft. Theix scored four points for the Panthers.

Bowler High School senior Reanne Kietlinski scored 25 points to lead the Panthers to a 51-25 blowout over Almond-Bancroft on Tuesday.

After scoring 16 first-half points, Kietlinski opened the second-half with a 9-0 run before the Eagles found their first basket off a jumper from their leading scorer, Angela Rogers (12 points), with nine minutes to play.

Almond-Bancroft (4-11, 1-5 CWC-South) scored just nine second-half points, and Bowler head coach Ted Kietlinski points to the team’s faster pace for their ability to hold the Eagles.

“We worked really hard at practice the past couple days on what I call our ‘sprint mentality,’ especially defensively,” he said. “We struggled in previous games to get back fast enough to stop those easy baskets, and tonight we did much better. That made a big impact in the final score tonight.


4 double-figure shooters lift Bears over Eagles

Bonduel went on an 11-0 run midway through the first half to take its first lead and controlled the rest of the matchup en route to a 77-63 Central Wisconsin Conference-East victory against Menominee Indian at home on Friday.

After trailing for the first nine minutes, Isaac Garside hit back-to-back threes to secure the a 20-18 lead for the Bears with 10 minutes remaining in the half. A layup by Garside and 3-pointer from Cole Letter capped the 11-point run.

Menominee Indian’s Menom Powles ended the streak with a 3-pointer of his own, but the Bears took 10 of the next 12 points to diminish hope of an Eagles comeback.

“We just let it go early on,” Menominee Indian head coach James Oshkeshequoam said. “Once (Bonduel) went on that run, we ultimately couldn’t come back from that. They’ve got some good shooters that we just couldn’t stop.”


Witt-Birn trails early to fall to Shiocton in a CWC-East matchup

It was a hole that the Wittenberg-Birnamwood boys basketball team couldn’t dig itself out from.

The Chargers trailed by as many as 23 points to Shiocton in the second half but cut their deficit to 13. However, Shiocton pulled away for an 88-67 victory in Central Wisconsin Conference-East play on Friday night.

Witt-Birn, which is now 1-5 on the road this season, was down 17-2 out of the gate.

“We’re just not mentally ready when we step onto the floor,” Witt-Birn coach Lon Ebel said. “I thought we played scared, we didn’t play smart. We let Shiocton’s pressure take us out of our game and we didn’t execute anything offensively for the first 15 minutes of the game.”

The Chargers had a tough time offensively in the opening half, scoring just 19 points. The team’s leading scorer on the season, Trevor Groshek, was held to just two points. He exploded for 21 second-half points.


Athlete of the Week: Colten Herm

Contributed photo Colten Herm led Shawano with a first-place finish in the 120-pound weight class at the Green Bay United Scramble on Jan. 6. Herm recorded five pins for the title and led the Hawks to a second-place team finish.

Athlete: Colten Herm

Sport: Wrestling

Weight class: 120 pounds

School: Shawano Community High School

Year: Freshman

Colten Herm took the 120-pound title at the Green Bay United Scramble on Jan. 6. The freshman recorded five pins en route to the victory. Herm was the sole first-place finisher for the Hawks and contributed to a second-place finish for the team.

Q Where did your interest in wrestling begin?

A My interest in wrestling started when my younger brother started wrestling. It wasn’t until third grade that I started wrestling. I was raised in a family of awesome wrestlers including my dad and two uncles.

Q What’s your favorite part about wrestling?

A It lets out your frustrations and makes you disciplined.

Q How did it feel taking first in your weight class at the GB United tournament?


Cold weather inaction threatens outdoor enthusiasts

As freezing rain fell on my little corner of the globe Thursday night, I pondered which way my column was headed.

There’s always plenty of hard news in the outdoors world to report on, like season dates, the approach of the sturgeon spearing season, buzz on wolf regulations (there’s still no open season) and predator hunting.

Ice fishermen are slaughtering the walleyes and white bass right now, especially down Oshkosh way on Lakes Winnebago, Butte des Morts and Poygan. Swedish pimples, with or without minnows, seem to be the bait of choice.

The fishing is so hot that I’m almost tempted to get out my hand-cranked Mora drill and those cute little tackle boxes of jigs for a shot at the action, but then I remember I don’t have an ice tent and I never catch much anyway (unless I go with a real ice pro).


Packers look to get defensive under Gutekunst

Drama in the NFL postseason is most often centralized on the lined, grass rectangle, and last week’s Wild Card round was no exception.

Tennessee’s second-half comeback made Kansas City a playoff loser again, and the Carolina-New Orleans game came down to a frantic final minute.

A nice weekend of action, all told — even if the playoff field seemed a bit fragmented with one of the usual entries out of the picture.

Off-the-field polemics were popping up all over last week, too, from the top of the heap to the bottom.

There was a regular soap opera playing out in New England, where the legendary coach is still irked about trading away a good backup to the legendary 40-year-old quarterback, who is tight with the owner and thinks he can play at least another five years thanks to the benefits he gets from the health maintenance system of his not-legendary friend and business partner, whom the angry coach has barred from team practices and meetings.


Hawks fall to Phantoms in Bay Conference face-off

Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Shawano Community High School junior Alex Mueller tries to pass during a 71-50 loss at West De Pere on Tuesday. Mueller scored nine points for the Hawks.

Shawano had five players contribute behind the arc but fell short to West De Pere 71-50 in a Bay Conference matchup on Tuesday at West De Pere.

The teams entered the game tied at 2-2 in the Conference, and West De Pere’s win pushes them to the No. 2 spot, while the Hawks drop to No. 5.

“I thought we came out a little tentative,” head coach David Ambrosius said. “(West De Pere’s) energy and execution level really jumped on us right from the start. We were never able to fully recover from that.”

West De Pere’s Kody Eisch clinched a steal and layup for the first points of the game at 16:30 to take the momentum for the Phantoms. The Hawks went into half trailing 27-18 after a jumper at the buzzer by Cole Nelson and took the first points of the second half from a putback by Kaden Richards, but the Phantoms took the next 17 points to secure a comfortable lead for the remainder of the game.


Shawano places 2nd at GB United tourney

The Shawano wrestling team finished second out of 10 teams at the Green Bay United Scramble on Saturday.

“We wrestled well today with many wrestlers placing in the top-four,” coach Mike Homan said. “I could give praise to all of our wrestlers because as a team we took a step forward today. Every wrestler was better today than they have been.”

Freshman Colten Herm (15-8) recorded five pins to take the 120-pound title.

“I’m very proud of the way he wrestled as he continues to improve,” Homan said. “He has a great opportunity to finish the season strong.”

Sam Tourtilott (13-10) and Alex Summicht (14-9) both placed second in the 170- and 152-pound weight class, respectively. Keith Tourtillott (17-6) also placed second at 220.

Ben Carroll finished third at 138 pounds and Gage Timm (13-10) also placed third at 145.


Phantoms push Hawks to No. 3 in Bay

Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Shawano Community High School junior Kennedy Klemens drives past West De Pere’s Alivia McNabb during a Bay Conference matchup against West De Pere on Friday. The Hawks lost 79-66.

West De Pere clinched the No. 2 spot in the Bay Conference after defeating Shawano 79-66 for the tie-breaker on Friday.

Early buckets from West De Pere’s Brehna Evans, who chipped in a game-high 31 points, gave the Phantoms a 10-point lead midway through the first half, but the Hawks were able to close the deficit to five, 19-14. West De Pere followed with a 7-0 run that Shawano couldn’t come back from. The Hawks went into the half down 16 points.

“We just dug ourselves too big a hole in the first half,” Hawks head coach Ryan Koenig said. “We didn’t execute the game plan. We let them take easy shots and create a huge deficit at half, and that kind of killed us.”

Koenig said the team’s biggest struggle this season is playing two full halves.


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