Richards, Kohl earn Bay Conference honors

Shawano junior Kaden Richards, one of the top shooters in the Bay Conference and Division 2 statewide, was named a first-team all-conference selection this week.

Richards converted on 50 percent of his 3-point attempts for the Hawks, who finished one game above .500 at 12-11 overall and 9-5 in the Bay Conference.

Richards averaged 12.6 points per game.

Senior forward Austin Kohl, who can also knock down 3s, was a second-team selection.

“(Kohl) is a really good basketball player just given his size and that he can step inside and out,” Shawano head coach Dave Ambrosius said earlier this season. “When you combine him with the rest of the guys you have around him, he really can be an issue.”

Richards will be one of the key players returning for the Hawks next season, joined by guard Cole Nelson and center Dakota Maltbey.

Xavier’s Hunter Plamann was the conference’s Player of the Year.

Bay Conference

First Team


11-0 run caps comeback for Gresham in final minute

Leader photo by Chris Caporale After fouling out, Gresham senior Neal Cerveny nervously watches teammate Ray Creapeau shoot free throws in the closing seconds of overtime. Creapeau hit both attempts to give the Wildcats a 79-74 lead over Lena with 15 seconds left in Thursday’s WIAA Division 5 sectional semifinal.

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Gresham junior Drew Haffner defends Lena’s Connor Heise on a drive in the second half of Gresham’s WIAA Division 5 sectional semifinal victory Thursday. Haffner posted 13 points.

Gresham overcame an 11-point deficit over the final 37 seconds to force overtime and went on to defeat Lena 79-74 in Thursday’s WIAA Division 5 sectional semifinal at Green Bay Preble High School.

With Gresham trailing 68-57, senior Ray Creapeau knocked down a 3, and then a turnover and a layup for Neal Cerveny cut the lead to six. After the Gresham press forced another turnover, Cerveny was fouled draining a deep 3-pointer with 16 seconds remaining. He made the free throw to trim the deficit to 68-66.

“Boy, when that all blew up, I just, like I said, I can’t even put it into words yet,” Gresham head coach Jeff Zobeck said. “The effort those guys laid out there. We hit shots when we needed to. We didn’t give up. We kept playing. I think that was just a great high school basketball game.”


Bohm is CWC-8 honorable mention selection

Bonduel sophomore point guard Parker Bohm was an honorable mention selection to the Central Wisconsin Conference-8 all-conference team announced this week.

Bohm finished second on his team in scoring with 13.7 points per game. He added 4.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game in 23 contests.

Junior Bryce Weier led the Bears (5-18, 3-11 CWC-8), whose season ended with a loss to Wabeno/Laona in a WIAA Division 4 regional quarterfinal on Feb. 28, with 15.4 points per game.

Wittenberg-Birnamwood, with just two seniors on the roster, earned two spots on the all-conference team: juniors Trevor Groshek (second team) and Cory Fraaza (honorable mention) .

Shiocton’s Nate Schmidt was named the Player of the Year.

Central Wisconsin Conference-8

First Team

Kenny Holz, Iola-Scandinavia; Nate Schmidt, Shiocton; Colton Groholski, Amherst; Mason Wideman, Amherst; Jake Hablewitz, Weyauwega-Fremont; Andrew Blanker, Pacelli.


High School Digest



Gresham vs. Lena

For the first time in over 30 years, the Gresham boys basketball team advanced out of its regional with a 57-45 victory on Saturday. The win secured a spot in a WIAA Division 5 sectional semifinal against Lena at 7 p.m. Thursday at Green Bay Preble High School.

The Wildcats (22-3, 17-1 Central Wisconsin Conference-10) average 71 points per game and give up only 48 points per game. Two of their three losses on the season were to Division 4 opponents, Algoma and Edgar.

Lena (20-5, 14-4 Marinette & Oconto Conference), meanwhile, scores 67 points per game and gives up nearly 56 points. Lena is led by a senior-heavy roster, with guard Connor Heise posting 22.9 points and forward Hunter Borchert adding 16.4 points per game.

Dalton Anderson, Lena’s record holder for 3-pointers made in a career, shot 37 percent from deep on the season.


The long run: Can Rodgers match Brady’s prolonged reign?

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy was asked recently if he thought that Aaron Rodgers might be able to enjoy the same late-career success as Tom Brady.

Last month Brady, the New England Patriots quarterback, became the oldest player (39) to compete in a Super Bowl, where he led the biggest comeback win in the game’s 51-year history. It was his record fifth Super Bowl title and the second time he’d won after the age of 37.

McCarthy said, correctly, that given some good fortune along the way it was entirely possible for Rodgers to continue at a peak level for the next six or seven years.


Emily Sorenson named 1st-team all-conference

Senior forward Emily Sorenson was the only Bonduel girls basketball player to be named to either the first or second team in the Central Wisconsin Conference-8 this winter.

Sorenson led the Bears with 12.2 points per game on the season while her length was a big contributor to her defensive skill. She had a team-high 4.4 steals per game.

Bonduel finished third in the conference race behind co-champs Wittenberg-Birnamwood and Amherst.

Bonduel’s Hayley Sorenson and Becca Carpenter were awarded honorable mention honors. Hayley Sorenson, who was returning from an ACL injury and then suffered a minor ankle setback during the season, played in just 14 games in 2016-17, but averaged 8.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.

Carpenter, who played sparingly in previous seasons for Bonduel (17-7, 9-5 CWC-8), was dominant on the boards, pulling down 175 rebounds. Emily Sorenson was second on the team with 92 rebounds.


Shawano wraps up winter season, honors athletes

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Members of the Shawano Community High School girls basketball team honored Monday are, from left, Kayla Ward (Most Improved), Kennedy Klemens (Most Valuable Player-Defense), Tori DePerry (Most Valuable Player) and Brandi Gueths (Hawk Leadership Award).

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Members of the Shawano Community High School boys basketball team honored Monday are, from left, Alex Mueller (Most Improved), Austin Kohl (Most Valuable Player), Tyrell Hesse (Most Valuable Player-Defense), Carter Weisnicht (Most Improved), Josh Mueller (Hustle Award) and Cole Nelson (Hawk Leadership Award).

With all of the winter sports teams now finished with their seasons, Shawano Community High School took time Monday to recognize the season’s top athletes.

The annual winter sports awards ceremony Monday at The Gathering in Shawano allowed coaches, athletes and families to reflect on the previous four months of work.

Here are some of the highlights from the night:


Injuries hurt Shawano for the majority of the regular season and, as in the case of Aaron Pyawasay, the postseason.

The Hawks filled about eight of the 14 weight classes over the course of the season. Against Bay Conference champion Green Bay United, the Hawks won six of the eight matches wrestled but lost the dual 36-31 because of forfeits. Shawano also dominated Seymour in the opening dual of the year but lost because of the lack of wrestlers.


Wildcats break through for regional championship

The biggest challenge for the Gresham boys basketball team over the past four seasons was to secure a regional title.

On Saturday, the Wildcats emerged victorious in a 57-45 battle at home with fifth-seeded Phelps to win their first WIAA Division 5 regional championship in over 30 years. Gresham lost its regional title games the past three seasons, including the past two by a combined four points.

“Now that we finally got over the hump, the pressure is relieved,” senior forward Derek Bowman said.

Drew Haffner led Gresham with 11 first-half points and tallied a game-high 18 points. Senior Neal Cerveny contributed 16 points. The two guards each had four assists, while Bowman added three. Gresham had 17 assists on 21 made field goals.

Head coach Jeff Zobeck said the coaching staff approached the big game differently this season.



Photo by Chris Caporale Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School guard Kirsten Clark and head coach Mike Balliett become emotional as the Chargers’ sectional final loss draws to a close, ending the careers of both, as Balliett will step down after this season and Clark will graduate.

Photo by Chris Caporale Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School senior Alexis Balliett dribbles as the Chargers attempt to run their offense against a tough Shiocton defense. The Chargers made just two first-half field goals before falling 61-36 in the WIAA Division 4 sectional final.

Playing a familiar team in the biggest game of the season proved to be too much for the Wittenberg-Birnamwood girls basketball team in Saturday’s WIAA Division 4 sectional final in Waupaca.

The Chargers made just two first-half field goals, both layups, and were 0 for 7 shooting from deep against the stingy Shiocton Chiefs and could never recover in a 61-36 loss.

“It’s too bad for the girls,” Wittenberg-Birnamwood head coach Mike Balliett said. “I’ll remember that we lost, and I’ll remember that we played poorly, but they’ll remember that they played poorly as individuals and didn’t do kind of what they were capable of doing, and that’s the hardest part.”

Wittenberg-Birnamwood shot 18 free throws in the opening 18 minutes and made just 10. The eight missed free throws equaled the halftime deficit for the Chargers, who shot 12 percent from the field. The shooting improved in the second half at 40 percent, but it wasn’t enough to catch the Chiefs.


Cerveny, Creapeau carry Wildcats to regional final

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Gresham Community School guard Ray Creapeau passes the ball on an inbounds play as Niagara’s Jacob Bousley defends. Creapeau posted 17 points in the Wildcats’ 79-64 win.

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Gresham Community School guard Drew Haffner attempts to steal the ball from Niagara’s Ethan Blagec. Blagec scored a game-high 27 points while being shadowed by various Gresham defenders.

The athleticism and shooting of Neal Cerveny and Drew Haffner, who combined for 37 points, hurt Niagara in Gresham’s 79-64 WIAA Division 5 regional semifinal victory at home Friday.

But role players Ray Creapeau, Todd Otradovec and Justy Paiser were the ones who propelled the Wildcats to Saturday’s regional final against Phelps.

Creapeau posted 17 points, including three 3s, while Otradovec chipped in 11 points and Paiser tallied six, including four over a stretch of 1 minute and 15 seconds to get the Wildcats back ahead by 12 points.

“Justy gave us a nice shot in the arm, and Todd did all night long,” Gresham head coach Jeff Zobeck said. “Justy in that second half really came on. That stretch was huge for us. We needed that.”

Niagara’s Jacob Bousley made two free throws and senior Ethan Blagec knocked down one of his seven 3s with 5:43 remaining to bring the Badgers back within seven.


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