Bonduel eyeing up the CWC this year

Bears return 4 starters
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Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Bonduel High School senior Bryce Weier, left, will be a leader on the court this year for the Bears after shooting a team-high 15.4 points per game last season and 79 percent from the free-throw line.

Coach Duke Copp has been excited for this year’s boys basketball group for some time.

“We’ve been working for this year for quite a while, since I’ve taken over (five years ago),” Copp said. “This group has been one that we’ve been looking forward to. They’re just natural athletes.”

By natural athletes, Copp points to his players’ competitive, hard-working, love-for-the-game mentality.

“These kids have worked very hard in the offseason,” he said. “On top of that, they’re a talented group and just genuinely enjoy playing the game.”

With nine upperclassmen letter-winners, Copp set high standards for this year.

“Our expectations are pretty high,” he said. “So our biggest challenge is going to be living up to that high bar we’ve set for ourselves and being able to overcome adversity.”

Part of the team’s struggle early on will be losing two key players, point guard Cole Letter and guard Wyatt Erb, to injury. Letter is expected to return shortly after the season commences, but Erb is out for its entirety with a knee injury.

“Those injuries will definitely be tough early on because they’re a couple of my key players,” Copp said, “so that will be some adversity that we’ll have to push through.”

A seasoned roster will help fill those holes on the court. The Bears lost just one starter, forward Brandon Olsen, to graduation.

Returning starters, junior forward Parker Bohm, junior guard Isaac Garside and senior shooting guard Bryce Weier will help hold the team down.

“They can all score, so having that balance will also be a strength for us,” Copp said.

Weier was last year’s leading scorer for the Bears, shooting an average of 15.4 points per game and 79 percent from the free-throw line, and Bohm followed with 13.7.

The Bears also have a big advantage in 6-foot-7 senior center Dalton Cairns, who recorded a team-high 102 rebounds last season.

“He’s just getting better by the day,” Copp said. “From last spring to now is a huge difference and that talent, with the height, will be great for us.

“We have a lot of guys around 6-foot-2 as well, so we’ve got some length that we’re looking forward to using this year.”

Coming off a 5-18 record and seventh-place finish in the Central Wisconsin Conference-East, the team is looking toward the postseason now that they’re conference contenders. Shiocton held a perfect 14-0 CWC record to top the conference last season, followed by Amherst (11-3), Iola-Scandinavia (8-6), Wittenberg-Birnamwood (7-7) and Pacelli (7-7).

“We’re focused on getting a good seed for the tournament,” Copp said. “Our conference is tough, especially this year with each team’s senior class being tough, but I think we should be just fine to compete with them.”

In addition to skill, the players think their familiarity with each other will give them a leg up on the court.

“We know each other way better than last year,” Weier said. “I think that’ll help a lot on the court. And then we just have a lot of good players, so we mix well.

“We have big goals but really for us this season we just want to get better as a team and have fun playing together.”

AT A GLANCE

Bonduel High School

Boys Basketball Schedule

Nov. 28 at Coleman

Dec. 1 at Green Bay West

Dec. 8 vs. Amherst

Dec. 9 vs. Peshtigo

Dec. 12 at Weyauwega-Fremont

Dec. 15 vs. Shiocton

Dec. 18 vs. Clintonville

Dec. 28 at Holiday Tournament

Jan. 2 at Crivitz

Jan. 9 at Iola-Scandinavia

Jan. 12 vs. Menominee Indian

Jan. 16 vs. Oconto

Jan. 19 at Wittenberg-Birnamwood

Jan. 23 at Amherst

Jan. 26 vs. Weyauwega-Fremont

Jan. 29 at Pittsville

Feb. 2 at Shiocton

Feb. 6 vs. Rosholt

Feb. 9 vs. Iola-Scandinavia

Feb. 16 at Menominee Indian

Feb. 22 vs. Wittenberg-Birnamwood