Pack take slim playoff hopes to Cleveland

Nobody on the Green Bay Packers’ coaching staff will be too upset with the defense at practice this week if the scout team moves the ball on them. They’ll be up against a pretty good quarterback.

Eight weeks after suffering a broken collarbone on his throwing side, quarterback Aaron Rodgers is back, practicing with the group of teammates simulating the offense that the Cleveland Browns will run Sunday afternoon at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Rodgers’ return is consistent with the initial guess that it would only happen this year if the team still had a shot at making the playoffs. He’s gone from “likely out for the season” on the injury report to this week’s “his rehabilitation is progressing and he is eligible to return Dec. 17.”


High School Highlights


Wittenberg-Birnamwood 43, Bonduel 23

Wittenberg-Birnamwood defeated Bonduel in a Central Wisconsin Conference-East matchup on Tuesday.

Emily Norrbom led the Chargers with 10 points and six rebounds, followed by Abi Fraaza with nine points. Jessie LaBerge scored nine points for Bonduel.

“We came out tough defensively tonight holding Bonduel to nine first-half points,” Witt-Birn head coach Nick Mechelke said. “We really worked on our defense the last couple days and it showed the whole game. We pressured the ball very well. I give Bonduel credit, they cut our lead to 7 points in the second half, but we regrouped and put it back together to finish it off.”

“We need to take better care of the basketball,” Bonduel head coach Jerry Reinke said. “We couldn’t rebound, and we couldn’t control the ball, so we’ve got things to work on.”

Shawano 47, Clintonville 38


Hawks can’t hang on in home opener

Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Shawano Community High School senior Cole Nelson drives up the court during a 55-53 loss to Pulaski on Tuesday. Nelson led the Hawks with 16 points and shot 4 of 4 free throws.

Shawano couldn’t extend its 2-0 start to the season after losing a tight home-opener matchup against Pulaski on Tuesday.

Coach David Ambrosius isn’t too worried, though.

“It’s still early in the season,” he said, “so at this point it’s just some mental mistakes that we’ll be able to show the kids on film, and we’ll just learn and get better from it.”

Pulaski (2-0) secured the first bucket of the nonconference game and kept the lead for the remainder of the first half. Shawano cut a 6-point deficit with just under three minutes left and finished the half trailing 30-28.

Dakota Maltbey initiated the Hawks’ second-half fight with a layup to tie the game, and Shawano (2-1) found its first lead, 34-32, three shots later by Brad Bartz.


Hawks clinch conference opener in final seconds

Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Shawano Community High School junior Hailey Buschman passes the ball to senior Brandi Gueths during Friday’s Bay Conference victory over Xavier. Buschman scored the game-winning layup with 2 seconds remaining to seal the Hawks 58-56 win.

Hailey Buschman drove to the basket with 2 seconds remaining to seal a 58-56 victory in Shawano’s first Bay Conference game against Xavier on Friday.

Kennedy Klemens knocked in a 3-pointer for Shawano with 6 seconds on the clock to tie the game. Buschman secured the ball from a Xavier throw-in and drove to the basket for an easy layup at 2 seconds remaining and a botched half-court shot attempt by Xavier’s Sarah Dombrowski sealed the victory for Shawano (2-2, 1-0 Bay).

“I am so proud of the girls,” Shawano head coach Ryan Koenig said. “They worked their butts off. We were a team tonight. The first three games I didn’t really feel like we had that team mentality, and tonight I really do.

“We’ve been struggling a little bit. We weren’t expecting to come out 1-2 on the season. We’ve had close games but just couldn’t get over the hump, and hopefully tonight gets us over that hump to get the ball rolling on the season.”


Athlete of the Week: Caleb Davids

Contributed photo Caleb Davids recorded 17 saves in Tuesday’s win over Fox Cities United. The victory was Davids’ first shutout (4-0) and coach Garrett Smith credits Davids’ performance for the win.

Athlete: Caleb Davids

Sport: Hockey

Position: Goalie

School: Shawano Community High School

Year: Sophomore

Caleb Davids earned the first shutout of his high school career in Tuesday’s 4-0 victory over Fox Cities United. Coach Garrett Smith largely credits the sophomore’s performance for the shutout. Davids, who is in his second year playing for the Hawks, recorded 17 saves in the win. Davids said the win was for his grandfather, who passed away last weekend.


Q Where did your interest in playing hockey begin?

A When my aunt invited me to an Appleton Ice Dogs game when I was about two years old.


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

A The nonstop action and intensity.


Q How did it feel getting your first shutout win and 17 saves during Tuesday’s game?

A It felt amazing! Especially being able to get one for my grandpa Jim.



Get ‘one more chance’ at deer with muzzleloading rifle

Why do the words of a young child always seem wise beyond their years when applied to adult situations?

When I think of the many deer hunting opportunities we Wisconsin hunters enjoy, I recall my daughter’s sincere pleas when my wife and I would mete out punishment for one of her misdeeds:

“Give me one more chance! Just one more chance!”

It was tough to follow through when looking into those dark brown, pleading eyes, normally moist from fresh tears. She’d later admit she could cry on command, and once did it when I asked her to. Even though I knew I should stick to the punishment (back then, it was taking her iPod for a few days), I’d occasionally cave and give her another chance.


Blackhawks’ pressure too much for Wildcats

Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Gresham Community High School freshman Raven Bennett passes the ball during a 78-51 loss to Port Edwards at home on Thursday.

A struggling Gresham defense couldn’t keep pace with Port Edwards and fell 78-51 in Thursday’s home game.

The Wildcats started the matchup strong, gaining a 5-0 lead from a Todd Otradovec 3-pointer and Jake Hoffman layup. The Blackhawks warmed up to tie 9-9 and secured 18 of the next 20 points to take over for the remainder of the game.

Gresham head coach Jeff Zobeck said his team is working out kinks in these first nonconference games, specifically on defense.

“We can’t guard anybody,” he said. “We can’t keep anybody in front of us. We played every zone known to man tonight, and that led to 3-pointers, so we’ve got to be able to guard, and even if we are playing more of a matchup style, which is what we like to do, we still need to be able to guard the ball.

“We kind of ran out of options tonight and decided we were going to go back to man-to-man, and that just allowed guys to dribble by us too easily.”


Packers raise level of game while playoff hopes plummet

If the NFL playoff tiebreaker system included moral victories and tough breaks, the Green Bay Packers might be in decent shape for January.

As it sits, they’re on the outside looking in, and barring an improbable combination of outcomes over the next five weeks, they’ll miss the postseason for the first time since 2008.

The season’s not over, as safety Morgan Burnett said after last Sunday’s loss in Pittsburgh. There’s a lot left to see in these last five games.

He’s right. There’s quarterback Brett Hundley, for one. Hundley turned a corner in the 31-28 defeat, playing the best game of his career a week after he’d played his worst one. His three touchdown passes and 245 yards passing with no interceptions gave him a quarterback rating of 134.3, the third-highest in the league for Week 12.


King of the Cage returning to Keshena

The Menominee Casino Resort, N277 Highway 47-55, Keshena, is hosting the national mixed martial arts event, King of the Cage, on Saturday, including returning and up-and-coming MMA fighters.

This year’s theme is dubbed “Stone Cold” and includes mainly Wisconsin participants. It will be headlined by a Catchweight showdown between two of Wisconsin’s toughest MMA veterans, Isaiah Pitts, of Wausau, and Jay Ellis, of Milwaukee.

The co-main event will feature Oconto Falls’ Chad Johnson making his professional debut against T.J. Millsap.

A featured event includes Morgan Sickinger, of Manitowoc, against Frank Young.

Oconto Falls’ Christian Herbeck (3-1), of Oconto Falls, will also be featured, though his opponent is not yet determined. Herbeck is top-ranked and his victories have all been in the first-round.


Eagles dominate early to topple Wildcats

Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Gresham Community School freshman Makayla Belongia is blocked by Menominee Indian’s Alyssa Corn during Tuesday’s 66-21 loss.

Gresham buckled under pressure and allowed Menominee Indian to maintain its early lead and win the nonconference matchup 66-21 on Tuesday.

Gresham head coach Vaughn Miller knew handling pressure would be his team’s problem after its loss to Tri-County on Nov. 16.

“I saw that pattern against Tri-County, so I knew it was going to be tough coming in, and we worked on it last week,” he said. “You could see tonight as soon as they pressed us, they’d panic and just throw the ball, so we have a lot of things to work on.”

The Lady Eagles (2-0) welcomed the Lady Wildcats to their court with an 11-0 drive. Gresham found the bucket after a four-minute drought from a jumper by Makayla Belongia. Mackenzie Hoffman added another basket for the Lady Wildcats and they wouldn’t find the basket for another 10 minutes.


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