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Steve "Sparky" Fifer


Posts from December 2013


WBY Shootout: Rice Lake 56, Dominican 42
After one close half of basketball, Rice Lake pulled away from Dominican and never looked back on their way to a 56-42 victory in the WBY Shootout at Concordia University.

In the first quarter, things were pretty even as Rice Lake were in the lead by one point over Dominican, 13-12.  The storyline going into the game was Diamond Stone vs. Henry Ellenson, but the important plays in the quarter were made by each player's supporting cast with Stone scoring four and Ellenson scoring six in the first quarter.

The game remained even through the second quarter as Rice Lake held only a five point lead, 25-20, going into the second half.  At the half, Ellenson edged Stone in scoring, 11-6.

The storyline before the game was Henry Ellenson vs. Diamond Stone, but the real story of the game was between the two teams and Rice Lake proved why they were the better team in the third quarter.  Just two minutes into the third quarter, Rice Lake had three three point baskets from three different players and stretched their lead out to 14 points with a 36-22 lead.

Dominican started thr fourth quarter down by 19 points and attempted to mount a comeback.  With 5:18 left, Dominican was able to cut it the deficit all the way down to nine following three baskets from Diamond Stone, but were unable to get any closer after that and lost 56-42.

Quick Thoughts:
  • All the attention was obviously on Diamond Stone and Henry Ellenson, but Rice Lake’s junior point guard Ben Widdes really did a nice job running the show for Rice Lake.  He did a great job handling pressure and dictating tempo for Rice Lake.
  • Rice Lake senior guard Brandyn Christman is a nice shooter for Rice Lake.  He hit a few big threes and used his shot fake to make plays.
  • 6’5” Trapper Ward took Stone for a small portions of the game to give Ellenson a break on defense and he did a really great job defensively.  He did a good job using his strength to slow down Stone until help came from the backside.
  • I guess what I’m trying to say is that many people may think Henry Ellenson is the lone reason why Rice Lake is a highly rated Division II team, but they would be wrong.  This is a truly impressive TEAM and will likely do some damage come tournament time.
  • Dominican looks significantly different than they did last year.  With Duane Wilson on the squad last year, Stone posted up constantly, but was playing second fiddle to Wilson.  This season, Dominican makes a concerted effort to look inside to Stone every single possession.
  • Stone is just a load down low.  He does a good job getting post position and has soft touch around the basket.  He is a monster on the glass and blocking shots.  I was just as impressed with him this season as I was last season.
  • Dominican’s junior guard Tywon Bressler Jr. does a really nice job getting to the rack and using his quickness and the attention given to Stone to exploit defenders and get easy baskets.
  • This is the second year in a row I’ve came away impressed by Jack Jelacic from Dominican at the WBY Shootout.  The 6’7” senior does it all for Dominican including tough rebounding, blocking shots, and showing off a little range.
  • Though Stone (6’10”) and Ellenson (6’9”) are both tall, Stone is definitely a post player and Ellenson is definitely a wing.
  • This was my first time seeing Ellenson and I came away impressed.  He has a nice handle for a player his size and does a good job creating off the dribble.  Though he struggled from the field tonight, he does have a good looking stroke and he can get that shot off against just about anyone.
  • Stone fouled out with 1:43 remaining.
  • Stone finished with 21 points and Ellenson ended with 17.
  • Both teams will be in action again tomorrow.  Rice Lake takes on Neenah at 3 p.m. while Dominican will face off against Catholic Memorial at 4:30 p.m.
Up Next: Germantown vs. Milwaukee Vincent
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WBY Shootout: Whitefish Bay 76, Racine Case 71
After a thrilling first half, Whitefish Bay was able to pull away from Racine Case in the second half and pull out a 76-71 victory in the WBY Shootout at Concordia University.

Racine Case struggled with Whitefish Bay's zone and full court press in the first few minutes, but eventually figured it out and closed to within a single point, 19-18, at the end of the first quarter with a big dunk from junior Desmond King.

The second quarter featured Racine Case once again falling behind and then catching up with Malik House hitting some big threes, including a buzzer beater to tie the game 37-37 at halftime.

Midway through the third quarter, Whitefish Bay started forcing turnovers and opened up a ten point lead to close the third quarter on a deep three from Joe Sherburne.

Whiefish Bay was able to maintain their lead and even stretch it out to 13 points at one point, but a few turnovers and some indecision regarding taking points or wasting time allowed Racine Case to draw within just four points with 25 seconds remaining.  Ultimately though, Case was unable to complete the comeback and fell to Whitefish Bay.

Quick Thoughts:
  • In the early going, Racine Case struggled with Whitefish Bay’s zone and full court press, but after a few early turnovers, they did a much better job of taking care of the ball.
  • Desmond King brought the crowd to their feet to end the first quarter with a big time dunk that brought Racine Case within a single point.
  • Joe Sherburne has serious range.  He was three for three from the three point line in the first half, including two threes from a few feet behind the line.  His three near the end of the third quarter was also well behind the line.
  • Whitefish Bay is LONG.  All of their guards and wings are 6’2” or taller which makes their zone especially difficult for offenses.
  • I talked about Malik House and his ability to finish at the basket yesterday, but he was on fire from the three point line in the first half.  He hit three long-range jumpers with the third coming right before the first half buzzer and really kept Racine Case in the game in the first half.
  • Whitefish Bay will be losing a few seniors, but their backcourt will be fine next season with 6’2” junior Miles Sigh and 6’3” junior Isaiah Johnson.  Both Sigh and Johnson showed great ability getting to the rim and finishing in traffic today.
  • Racine Case lost two tough games in this event, but I would have to assume Coach Steve Jaskulske will look at the weekend as a great learning opportunity for his team as they went up against two very good teams.
Up Next: Game of the Day - Whitefish Bay Dominican vs. Rice Lake
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People: Desmond KingJoe SherburneMiles SighSteve Jaskulske




 
WBY Shootout: Oshkosh North 68, Wisconsin Lutheran 52
Wisconsin Lutheran, one of the top teams in Division II, was able to stick with Oshkosh North, one of the state's top Division I teams, for one half, but couldn't keep up in the second half as Oshkosh North pulled away and recorded a 68-52 victory in the WBY Shootout at Concordia University.

The game started off at an incredible tempo as both teams raced up and down the floor combining for 34 first quarter points with Oshkosh North leading 18-16 after one quarter.

The two teams remained close during the second quarter, but Oshkosh North retained a two point lead going into halftime leading 35-33.

After a close few minutes to start the second half, Oshkosh North pulled away behind a great effort from 6'6" senior forward Cooper Radtke.  Radtke, a Northern Michigan (DII) commit, scored eight straight points for Oshkosh North as the third quarter came to a close and North took a 51-43 lead.

Wisconsin Lutheran attempted to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter, but just weren't able to overcome the deficit eventually falling 68-52.

Quick Thoughts:
  • There’s an old saying that the best way to beat a press or zone is to beat it up the floor, so it can’t be set up.  Today was one of the first times I’ve seen someone beat Wisconsin Lutheran’s press up the floor.  Oshkosh North’s first two baskets came on long passes after made baskets over the top of Wisconsin Lutheran’s press.
  • I didn’t get a chance to talk about him yesterday, but C.J. Polk is a really nice player for Wisconsin Lutheran.  The University of Minnesota-Moorhead commit is smooth going to the basket and rarely makes bad decisions.  Today, he was able to cut through North’s zone and find his way to the basket for some easy buckets.  His time at Wisconsin Lutheran may help once he gets to school because every coach is looking for a tough defender.
  • Oshkosh North’s 1-3-1 zone was tough for Wisconsin Lutheran to handle when 6’6” Cooper Radtke played on top of it.  With Radtke off the floor though, North failed to execute at times and Wisconsin Lutheran was able to find some holes in the zone.
  • Radtke (committed to DII Northern Michigan) was a handful on the offensive end as well.  He did a great job getting position as well as a nice job on the offensive glass.  He also did a great job running the break, especially evident on his thunderous two-handed dunk in the second quarter.
  • Senior point guard Nathan Neveau made some nice plays for Oshkosh North and was much of the reason Wisconsin Lutheran’s press failed to force many turnovers this afternoon.  He did a nice job remaining under control and finding his way into the lane.
  • There really isn't a single player that really blows you away on Oshkosh North, but they execute extremely well and do a great job playing as one cohesive unit.  Really fun to watch a team that plays like that.
  • Oshkosh North will be back tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. to face the team that knocked them out of last year's Divison I playoffs, Germantown.
Up Next: Racine Case vs. Whitefish Bay
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Locations: GermantownMinnesotaNorthern MichiganWisconsin
People: Cooper RadtkeNathan Neveau




 
WBY Shootout: Neenah 62, Milwaukee Marquette 41
Neenah was in control from the opening tip today against Milwaukee Marquette as they cruised to a 62-41 victory in the WBY Shootout at Concordia University.

Neenah took a nine-point lead to start the game behind some slick playmaking from point guard and UW-Milwaukee soccer commit Adam Pohlman and some nice finishes from junior forward Matt Heldt.  After the 9-0 start to the game, Neenah did not look back as they took a 29-22 lead into halftime.

The second half featured much of the same as Neenah continued to execute and led the game 47-33 after three quarters.  One play in the middle of the third quarter perfectly captured today's game.  As a Marquette player drove to the basket, Heldt blocked his shot and saved the ball to Pohlman before going out of bounds.  Heldt regained his balance and immediately sprinted up floor where Pohlman found him underneath the basket for a layup on a nifty pass through traffic.

Neenah continued their dominance in the fourth quarter and eventually closed out the game with a 62-41 victory.

Quick Thoughts:
  • During the game someone asked me on Twitter what I thought of Matt Heldt, who is drawing interest from multiple Division I schools, so here is my synopsis of his game.  Heldt is a prototypical modern-day big man.  He posts up and tries to get good position, but doesn’t necessarily dominate from the block.  That doesn’t really matter though because he does a great job running the floor and finding open space in the half court for easy dunks and layins.  He possesses nice touch around the basket and showed some range today hitting a three in the first half.  These are all the things I think most coaches now look for in a big man and why many college coaches are drooling over him.
  • Pohlman picked up his second foul just five minutes into the game.  With Pohlman out for a majority of the first half, Neenah turned to senior guard Taulvish McCray and he more than capably filled in at the point.
  • I gushed about him on Twitter, but Adam Pohlman was in complete control of today's game.  Dictated the tempo of the game and made the right decision repeatedly.  The true embodiment of a point guard. Selfishly, I wish he would be playing basketball somewhere at the next level, but Pohlman will do just fine as a soccer player at UW-Milwaukee.
  • 6'3" Marquette junior Ben Meinholz ended the first half in impressive fashion as he picked McCray and went down to the other end for a one-handed dunk.
  • With Meinholz and 6'7" junior Garrison Goode (who I wrote about yesterday), Milwaukee Marquette could have a nice team next season if both players continue to develop.
  • Neenah might have a tougher test tomorrow as they will face off against Rice Lake at 3 p.m. tomorrow.
Up Next: Oshkosh North vs. Wisconsin Lutheran
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Locations: MilwaukeeWisconsin
People: Adam PohlmanBen MeinholzMatt HeldtTaulvish McCray




 
WBY Shootout: West De Pere 65, Milwaukee Washington 49
For the second straight day, West De Pere was able to take care of business and prove themselves worthy of their high ranking at Division II level as they took care of business against MIlwaukee Washington and came away with a 65-49 victory.

West De Pere was able to handle Milwaukee Washington's pressure in the first half and ran out to a 25-11 lead at halftime.

The second half looked very similar to the first as West De Pere was able to push their lead out to more than 20 points in the third quarter.  Though they could have just folded up and stopped playing hard, they kept working and were able to cut the deficit to just 11 with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but Cody Schwartz quickly answered with a deep three from the right wing and West De Pere didn't look back from there, ultimately defeating Milwaukee Washington 65-49.

Quick Thoughts:
  • Cody Schwartz (6'8") and Chandler Diekvoss (6'6") were just as impressive on day two.  Both of them did a great job handling pressure and show an above average ability to handle the ball and make plays for their size.  Both of them are also great shooters with range.
  • Marquette coach Buzz Williams, UW-Green Bay coach Brian Wardle, and Wisconsin assistant Greg Gard were among those in attendance to see Schwartz.
  • Three seconds into the second half, MIlwaukee Washington coach Freddie Riley received a technical as he complained to the officials.  Riley was insistent that the officials were calling the game too tight and not allowing his players to play defense.
  • With Milwaukee Washington now at the Division II level, Division II is absolutely stacked.  West De Pere has proven to be more than worthy of their Top 3 ranking.  Washington didn't look great today against West De Pere, but they're a very good team.  Wisconsin Lutheran was impressive last night against Milwaukee Marquette and will be tested later today against Oshkosh North.  And we haven't even seen Henry Ellenson and Rice Lake yet.  Needless to say, the Division II Tournament is going to be FUN this year.
Up Next: Milwaukee Marquette vs. Neenah
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WBY Shootout: What to Look Forward to on Friday
Everything.  I am looking forward to everything tomorrow, but I will highlight just five games that really stick out.
  1. West De Pere vs. Milwaukee Washington – Noon – West De Pere was able to handle their first game against a Division I team from the Milwaukee area, but they’ll have see if they can do it again tomorrow against Milwaukee Washington.  Cody Schwartz (interest from Creighton, Marquette, Nebraska and Northern Iowa) and Chandler Diekvoss (Richmond commit) put on a show on Friday when both scored over 20 points against Racine Case, so I’ll be interested to see what they have in store for tomorrow.
  2. Milwaukee Marquette vs. Neenah – 1:30 p.m. – Neenah has gone unbeaten thus far this season and are led by senior point guard Adam Pohlman (interest from several Division I schools) and junior Matt Heldt (interest from both Marquette and Wisconsin).  I’ll be interested to see if Milwaukee Marquette can recover from a rough night against Wisconsin Lutheran and push Neenah tomorrow.
  3. Rice Lake vs. Dominican – 6 p.m. – This is the matchup everyone was circling going into the event.  Rice Lake features Henry Ellenson (interest from Marquette and Wisconsin among others) and is the #6 ranked team in Division 2, while Dominican features Diamond Stone (interest from Marquette and Wisconsin among others) and is the #1 ranked team in Division 4.  This should be an absolute battle and quite possibly the game of the day.
  4. Milwaukee Vincent vs. Germantown – 7:30 p.m. – Germantown is the best team in the state and sports the state’s longest winning streak of all-time at 65 straight games.  They also feature three players committed to Division I schools: Lamonte Bearden (Buffalo), Jake Showalter (North Dakota State) and Evan Wesenberg (North Dakota State).  Vincent is no slouch though as the storied basketball program once again boasts a very good team.
  5. De Pere vs. Arrowhead – 9 p.m. – I am really looking forward to watching De Pere because of junior guard Brevin Pritzl (interest from several Division I programs).  I had the privilege of watching Pritzl battle Germantown at a jam-packed Homestead High School last year during the Division I playoffs and he was unafraid of the powerhouse Warhawks.  Pritzl’s range extends to the parking lot and he does not back down from anyone.
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WBY Shootout: Wisconsin Lutheran 71, Milwaukee Marquette 60
Wisconsin Lutheran was in control from the start of their game against Milwaukee Marquette and came away with a 71-60 victory in the WBY Shootout at Concordia University.

After one quarter, the game was relatively close with Wisconsin Lutheran only leading 17-10, but they quickly opened up their lead in the second quarter.  Wisconsin Lutheran was able to turn turnover after turnover into points on the offensive end and take a commanding 41-20 lead at the half.

The second half played out very similar to the first half with Wisconsin Lutheran remaining in control throughout the game and eventually winning 71-60 with Milwaukee Marquette cutting the lead in the final minutes.

Quick Thoughts:
  • One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about Wisconsin Lutheran teams is their constant high effort under Coach Ryan Walz and his father Dale Walz before him.  I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a team handle the pressure from Wisconsin Lutheran in the first half only to see that same team turn the ball over again and again in the second quarter.  The pressure and effort on the defensive end is constant throughout all games and that is a testament to great coaching.
  • Anthony Carver does a really nice job on the glass.  He is only 6’3”, but you would think he is nearly seven feet tall.  He does a really great job with his body and is just one of those players that really understands where rebounds will fall and how to position himself for those rebounds.
  • Marquette junior Garrison Goode is a very intriguing player.  At 6’7”, Griffin has the frame play down low and has a ton of athleticism.  He could be a solid player going forward.
  • Wisconsin Lutheran senior Jamare’ Griffin is smooth going to the rack.  He really did a nice job finishing in the open court.
  • The efficiency in which Wisconsin Lutheran converts a turnover into points is staggering.
Up Next: Whitefish Bay vs. Wauwatosa East
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Locations: Wisconsin
People: Anthony CarverDale WalzRyan Walz




 
WBY Shootout: Ashwaubenon 49, Mukwonago 40
In a game that was much closer than its final score would suggest, Ashwaubenon Jaguars beat Mukwonago  49-40 in the WBY Shootout at Concordia University.

The contest was close throughout, but with just over two minutes left Ashwaubenon led by just one 37-36, but then Kyle Monroe converted a three-point play and gave Ashwaubenon a four-point lead.  Mukwonago was again able to cut the deficit to a single basket, but a three-point play by senior Jackson Messenger gave Ashwaubenon a five point lead at 43-38.

A layup from Mukwonago senior Aaron Nixon cut the lead to 43-40, but that would be as close as Mukwonago would make it as Ashwaubenon was able to pull away with some free throws and finish the game with a 49-40 victory.

Quick Thoughts:
  • Ashwaubenon Junior Kyle Monroe (6'5") is a really nice player on the wing.  He handles the ball well and made quite a few plays with his floor vision and length.
  • Mukwonago senior and future Wisconsin football player Dominic Cizauskas (6'2") is a monster.  Good luck fighting through one of his screens.
  • Mukwonago Dan Gerrits (6'11") is very tall.  I know quite the observation, but I was impressed with his touch around the basketball and rebounding ability.
Up Next: Milwaukee Marquette vs. Wisconsin Lutheran (#3 in Division II)
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People: Aaron NixonKyle Monroe




 
WBY Shootout: West De Pere 62, Racine Case 60
In a battle between two of the state's top teams, West De Pere narrowly escaped with a 62-60 victory over Racine Case in the WBY Shootout at Concordia University.

After one quarter, West De Pere was in control with some sharpshooting from Chandler Diekvoss and Cody Schwartz.  Diekvoss, a Richmond commit, hit three three pointers to help West De Pere take a 16-9 lead after one quarter.

Racine Case was able to get back into the game in the second quarter applying some defensive pressure, but ultimately West De Pere was able to take control and led 34-26 going into the second half.

In the third quarter, Racine Case was able to use some offensive rebounds and defensive pressure to get back into the game.  Senior Malik House made a few nice plays and scored a few baskets to help Racine Case draw within a single point going into the fourth quarter.

Again, West De Pere added to their lead in the fourth quarter leading by as many as seven points.  Like the second quarter, West De Pere used a 1-3-1 zone to slow Racine Case down and turn them into a jump-shooting team rather than an agressive, attacking offensive team.

Trailing by seven with just over a minute left, Racine Case senior James Trice hit a high-arching three to bring Case within four.  After a turnover from each team, Diekvoss went to the line and gave West De Pere a five point lead.

With just 14 seconds remaining, Case junior Daizon Scott hit a big three to cut the West De Pere lead to just two.  Case fouled sophomore Luke Pannier, who missed both free throws with just nine seconds remaining.

D'Angelo Jackson grabbed the rebound for Case, pushed the ball up floor, and found Scott wide open on the left side of the floor.  Scott's open three hit off the back of the rim and bounced off the floor as time expired.
 
Quick Thoughts:
  • Racine Case opened in a 2-2-1 full court press that West De Pere struggled with to start the game, but soon came to figure out.
  • Racine Case really applies the pressure defensively.  Each time they were able to cut into the West De Pere lead came when they were applying tough defensive pressure.
  • West  De Pere was able to take control when they implemented a 1-3-1 zone in the second quarter.  They really slowed Case down and turned them into jump shooters in the first half.
  • Senior Malik House was great for Case as he was making plays for them down the stretch.  House is extremely quick with the ball and possesses the ability to finish around the rim in traffic.
  • Enough cannot be said about Luke Pannier’s fourth quarter.  He was solid throughout the game and showed off a high basketball IQ, but going three-for-three in the fourth quarter served as a huge boost for West De Pere.
  • The end of the game was a bit more interesting than it probably should have been as West De Pere missed some free throws down the stretch.
  • Junior Cody Schwartz (6’8”) is attracting interest from a lot of Division I schools including Marquette, Creighton, Nebraska, and Northern Iowa.  He finished with 21 points for the game.
  • Diekvoss finished with 22 points.
  • West De Pere plays again tomorrow at noon.  They will face Milwaukee Washington.
  • Racine Case will play Whitefish Bay tomorrow at 4:30.
Up Next: Mukwonago vs. Ashwaubenon.
 
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WBY Shootout: Manitowoc Roncalli 65, Plymouth 55
After a tight first quarter, the Manitowoc Roncalli Jets pulled away from the Plymouth Panthers and secured a 65-55 victory at the WBY Shootout today at Concordia University.

The game was tightly contested early on with Plymouth holding a 17-15 lead after one quarter, but Manitowoc Roncalli pulled away in the second quarter.  Led by Josh Erickson, the Jets outscored the Panthers 22-4 in the second quarter.  Erickson scored 19 first-half points and ended with 30 points for the game.

The second half started off much the same with the Jets leading 55-32 going into the fourth quarter.  Even with a seemingly insurmountable defecit, the Panthers fought back and drew within six points with 20 seconds left in the game, but ultimately ended up falling 65-55.

Quick Thoughts:
  • Really liked the length and athleticism of Plymouth’s Kollin Neils and Tom Jankowski.  Both in control throughout the game and did a great job in the halfcourt
  • Josh Erickson was unreal for Roncalli in the first half.  He was deadly from downtown and then used the threat of his shot to make some plays.  He had a couple assists just because of the pressure he put on the defense as a shooter.
  • Roncalli did a really nice job screening.  It can be difficult to teach high school kids to set up and use screens, but the Roncalli players were very patient and did a great job using their screens.
  • As the game went on, Plymouth did a great job applying more and more pressure, but Roncalli was extremely composed and used back cuts to exploit Plymouth’s aggressiveness.
  • Roncalli struggled down the stretch with such a big lead.  They were forced to decide if they wanted to waste time or if they wanted to take open layups.  It can be a difficult decision as a player and difficult for a coach to help from the sideline.  Because of this struggle, they saw a 20+ point lead evaporate to 10 with 1:40 left.
Up Next: Racine Case (#4 in Division I) vs. West De Pere (#2 in Division II). Lots of talent on the floor. Should be fun
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Locations: Plymouth
People: Josh EricksonKollin NeilsTom Jankowski




 
Meet Eric Nehm! He will cover WBY Shootout for WSSP!
  I have described myself as a basketball junkie for quite some time now.  Since I can remember, I have been searching out the best basketball games in the state of Wisconsin.  The WBY Shootout has made this much simpler for me by putting an insane amount of talented teams and players together each year for a couple days around Christmas, but before the WBY Shootout, I think I did a pretty good job on my own.
I have decided to relay to you some of my most favorite Wisconsin high school basketball memories.  Hopefully, my list is way better than yours, but if you have a most favorite Wisconsin high school basketball memory, I would love to hear about it.  You can either leave a comment at the bottom of this post or on Facebook or Twitter (@eric_nehm).
As a child, I was lucky enough to have a basketball-obsessed family.  I had a father, uncle, and older brother, who were all looking to watch as much basketball as possible and didn’t mind traveling around the state to do so.  We were so crazy, in fact, that when the playoff schedule for each Saturday would come out we would grab a map and attempt to find our way into as many gyms as possible.  I’m talking tripleheaders and sometimes even quadrupleheaders of basketball with 30-45 minutes of driving between each game to fit into our schedule.
Here are my most favorite memories:
  1. This is one that I don’t remember all that well because I was a bit on the young side, but I did travel up to see Travis Diener run the point for the Fond du Lac Cardinals.  At the time, they still might have been called Goodrich High School, but I do remember seeing a floppy haired kid completely control the floor.
  2. One of my most favorite teams to watch when I was younger was the Ripon Tigers led by Ryan Werch.  For years, Werch was the player I aspired to be.  Werch was such a great athlete and was so smooth that it always seemed like he was in control, no matter the situation.  My most favorite memory was a game-winner I saw him hit in Waupun High School from the left elbow.  Silky smooth.
  3. Going to Whitefish Bay High School for game after game on Saturdays was one of my favorite things about the WIAA playoffs.  The evening doubleheader there was always the best way to fit four games into a game.  One of my coolest memories was having Freddie Owens and Alando Tucker sit a few feet away from me to watch Marcus Landry leading Vincent in the last game of the evening.
  4. I remember seeing Brian Butch in high school and being disappointed.  This was not because he was a bad player, but because the night I saw him was against a Fond du Lac team that did not feature a post player taller than 6’4”.  Butch was bumped, elbowed, and hit while being triple teamed all night long.  It was cool to say I saw him play in high school, but not particularly fun to watch.
  5. Another University of Wisconsin big man I had the pleasure of watching play in high school was Greg Stiemsma at Randolph.  Watching Stiemsma play at Watertown High School in the Division 4 playoffs was one of the more enjoyable experiences I’ve had watching high school basketball.  At times, it seemed a little unfair for Stiemsma to be playing against players so much smaller, but seeing him block a floater in the middle of the lane out past half court is still one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in a high school basketball game.
  6. As one of the final members of the Parkland Conference, I got to see some pretty special basketball within my own conference.  I will always remember Joe Czechowicz bombing threes from a few feet behind the line as well as some special teams at Dominican led by J.R. Blount and Ray Nixon.  Also, I remember being relatively unimpressed by Steve Novak at Brown Deer, but he’s ended up having quite the NBA career.  Anyways, #ParklandConference4Life. 
Those were some of my coolest memories as a spectator, but I also had some pretty cool moments on the floor.
  1. In one of my first games as a sophomore, I scared my mother half to death.  After a turnover, the Pewaukee Pirates led a 3-on-2 break in my direction and after their point guard dished off to the right side, I stepped up and took a charge on their player running down the right wing.  I was rewarded with a full-speed knee right into my chest.  The reason my mother was so worried was that knee belonged to future NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt.  Let’s just say that wasn’t one of my smartest moments.
  2. My team was eliminated from the playoffs in my sophomore season by future Wisconsin Badger Trevon Hughes.  Hughes was just electric on the floor.  I can tell you right now that I have never been so thoroughly shook out of my shoes.
  3. As a senior, I played current Wisconsin Badger Josh Gasser and am happy to tell you, we held him under 20 points for the game…barely.  Gasser wasn’t the same caliber athlete as Hughes, but he was just an incredible leader and had complete control of the entire floor all game long.
  4. In preparing for the playoffs, I spent the night of my first round bye at Catholic Memorial watching T.J. Bray and the Crusaders take on Korie Lucious and Pius XI.  It was quite the battle and came down to Lucious hitting a 25 foot buzzer beater when everyone in the gym knew the ball was going to him.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to play Lucious as eventual state champions New Berlin Eisenhower came out of that side of the bracket.
Hope you enjoyed my walk down memory lane.  And maybe you’ll have a few Wisconsin high school basketball memories that you want to share as well!  If you do, comment here!  Or on Facebook or Twitter!
Be sure to check back here for updates from the rest of the WBY Shootout!
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