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.


Athlete of the Week: Abi Fraaza

Contributed photo Abi Fraaza led Wittenberg-Birnamwood to victory in this week’s games with a team-high 23 points and nine rebounds against Abbotsford on Thursday and 12 points, 11 rebounds against Gillett on Tuesday. The freshman is the Chargers’ leading rebounder and free-throw shooter.

Athlete: Abi Fraaza

Sport: Basketball

Position: Guard

School: Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School

Year: Freshman

Abi Fraaza led the Chargers to victory in both games this week. The freshman recorded a team-high 23 points and nine rebounds against Abbotsford on Thursday and 12 points, 11 rebounds against Gillett on Tuesday. Fraaza is the team’s second-leading scorer with an average of 9.7 points per game. She leads the Chargers at the free-throw line with a 73 percent shot completion and has a team-high 67 rebounds (7.4 per game).

Q Where did your interest in playing basketball begin?

A I’m the only girl out of nine boy cousins, and we always had competitions in basketball since around fourth grade.

Q What’s your favorite part about playing the game?

A My favorite part is always getting pumped before the game and ready to play competitively with my friends.


27 steals propel Eagles to victory over Tigers

Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Menominee Indian High School senior Mercedes Waupoose makes a shot past Tigerton junior Raven Dewhurst during an Eagles victory on Thursday.

The Menominee Indian girls basketball team dominated defensively to clinch a 47-33 win over Tigerton at home on Thursday.

The Eagles recorded 27 steals, including 10 from sophomore Senihseah Wayka, and forced 16 turnovers to control the game.

Menominee Indian (7-3, 2-1 Central Wisconsin-East) secured the momentum early in the game with a 9-0 run of consecutive steal and layups and a corner 3-pointer by Tennille Lyons.

Tigerton’s (0-12) closest deficit came after a 6-0 run to put them behind 19-16 with 3:30 to play in the first half, but the Eagles rallied to end the half 25-18 and never gave the Tigers a chance to come back.

“They really picked up their defensive intensity,” Eagles head coach Chris Rice said, “We got steals that led to some easy baskets and hit a couple 3-pointers that really got the energy going for us.”


Missed playoffs spelled big changes for Packers

You can’t shoo away the memories of a lousy season with a swipe of the hand.

Assistant coaches and front office staff, however, are not quite a protected species.

Embroiled in a crisis of mediocrity after their worst season in nine years, the Green Bay Packers addressed their troubles the old-fashioned way. They fired people.

Defensive coordinator Dom Capers’ firing was sure to sit well with the gaggle of fans who’d been calling for his ouster for the past several years. The Packers haven’t had a top 10 defense since their Super Bowl-winning 2010 season, a stretch during which their unavailing pass rush has been an Achilles heel.

Capers may or may not have changed his approach from that which he used seven years ago, when he was hailed as the man with the plan on the other side of the ball. For certain, though, the players aren’t the same ones.


Crandon boys beat Eagles in Gresham tourney final

Menominee Indian varsity boys defeated Oneida Nation 68-65 in the first round to advance to the championship game, but Crandon took the varsity boys title with a 84-82 victory over the Eagles.

Crandon advanced to the championship after defeating Gresham 69-66 in the first round on Friday. The Wildcats faced Oneida Nation in the consolation matchup and took the third-place title with a 58-43 win.

Gresham and Menominee Indian were the two local schools that participated in the Gresham Holiday Tournament on Friday and Saturday.

Three Wildcats scored double figurs in the consolation game. Todd Otradovec led with 16 points, including 6 of 6 at the free-throw line. Justice Paiser followed with 14 points and Drew Haffner added 13.

Justin Hill led Oneida Nation with 12 points.

The varsity girls champions were Oneida Nation with wins over Gresham, 74-12, and Menominee Indian, 54-39. Menominee Indian defeated Gresham 51-41 in the first round.


Shawano dominates Xavier at home dual

Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Shawano Community High School freshman Jerald Raeder pinned Xavier’s Drew Malone in 1 minute, 18 seconds during a home dual on Tuesday. Shawano won 69-12.

Shawano wrestling coach Mike Homan saw his wrestlers take a huge step forward in a dominating 69-12 win over Xavier during Tuesday’s home dual.

“Everybody took the changes we’ve made and really turned it up a notch tonight,” Homan said. “It’s good to see the kids finish their matches off. That’s kind of what we’ve been lacking, but they did it tonight. We have definitely shown flashes where we can come out and wrestle well, but we can’t quite finish those matches off, and I think tonight we did that.”

Homan attributes the improvement to intensifying practices over the holiday break.

“We had an excellent couple days of preparation,” Homan said. “We’ve seen a huge improvement in how we prepare for matches, and it shows. The thing we’ve been preaching the last couple weeks after two really close dual losses is paying more attention to the details.


Shawano drops 2nd game in Sundrop Shootout

Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Shawano Community High School senior Kaden Richards attempts to shoot over Notre Dame’s Jackson Strohmeyer during the Hawks’ 77-64 loss at the Sundrop Shootout on Friday. Richards scored a team-high 23 points and four 3-pointers.

Shawano lost its second game at the Sundrop Shootout 77-64 to Notre Dame on Friday, but the team saw big improvement from their Wednesday loss to Mount Horeb.

“From the way we played Wednesday to now was definitely way better,” senior Kaden Richards said, “so I feel better about that. As a team we feel better about that. So even though we lost, we’re feeling pretty good about the way we played today.”

The Hawks dropped their first game to Mount Horeb 64-37. The main difference, according to the team, was aggression.

“We just went out and competed,” Richards said. “On Wednesday, the coaching staff kind of got on us and just told us that it looked like we didn’t care, and we took that personally. So we came out with fire under us today because we wanted to prove to ourselves and to the coaches that that’s not the team we are.”


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