Area teams looking for a rebound

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Todd Mishler | November 11, 2015

The trail toward March Madness begins for boys basketball with first practices Monday, Nov. 16 -- that goes for boys swimming and wrestling, too.

Here is a preview of what to look for from Stateline area hoops teams:

Southern Lakes

League champion Badger, like many rivals in the senior-dominated league, must fill some huge holes to defend its title after improving by six games to finish 12-2 in loop play and 16-7 overall a year ago.

The biggest is the one left by conference and All-Walworth County Player of the Year Lincoln Wieseman, who finished third in the league in scoring (16.3) and rebounding (7.1) and second in assists (4.4) after switching positions for coach Forrest Larson.

The Badgers also must replace honorable mention selection Joe Freeman, who averaged 9.7 ppg while making the All-Walworth County second squad.

However, Badger returns arguably the top performer in the league in senior Jake Berhorst, a senior who nearly doubled his scoring output from 9.6 to 18.2 in making the SLC and All-Walco first units.

Berhorst reached double figures in every game with a season high of 32 against Burlington, and he stands at No. 25 in Wissports.net's player rankings among seniors.

Burlington improved four games in the SLC standings to 11-3 while finishing 17-6 overall.

The Demons lost two major contributors in first team choice Frankie Hozeska, who averaged 14.7 ppg, and honorable mention pick Nathaniel Sibley, who pumped in 9.7 ppg.

They will build around honorable mention senior Mitch Klug (9.0) and soph Nick Klug (9.1). Seniors Cal Tully (6.0), Tyler Wiemer (5.4) and Bryan Sturdevant (3.7) figure highly in the rotation, which will miss Brad Burling (5.5), Eric Johnson (5.0) and James Tully (4.6).

Elkhorn accumulated a 12-11 overall record, but the Elks struggled in league play at 5-9.

They must move forward without honorable mention selections Aaron Wales (9.2) and Joe Konopski (9.1), as well as Cody Johnson (7.3), Jonathan Wulff (6.1) and Grady Welsh (3.0).

Leading scorer and junior Alex Easterday returns and will carry the brunt of the scoring load after averaging 12.4 ppg while earning honorable mention status. Help will come from the likes of seniors Dayne Fisher (5.6) and Shane Plasecki (3.9) and junior Ryan Shilts (3.0).

Delavan-Darien, the smallest school in the league, couldn't compete either, finishing 2-12 in SLC contests and 7-16 overall.

However, if things fall into place, Bob Beighton's team could climb a few spots and surprise some folks.

The Comets' offense returns seniors William Brown and Lucas DeLara, who made the second and honorable mention units, respectively, while getting second team All-Walworth County recognition.

Brown and DeLara shared scoring honors on the team with 14.3 averages and they should be the focus because DDHS lost the likes of twin brothers Isiah (11.2) and Isaac Ramos (8.4) along with Jesse Collins (11.1).

The key will be finding more firepower to round out the lineup, which could include senior Austin Ryan (7.2) and juniors Ethan Cesarz (4.5), Brandon Edmonds (3.3) and Jayce Crull (2.6).

Trailways South

Williams Bay finished 10-8 in conference outings and 15-11 overall behind first team all-league and All-Walworth County performer John Higgins, who led the Bulldogs with 14.7 points and 9.2 rebounds per contest.

Brad Quinn (7.8), Brayden Pape (6.3) and Jake Landgraf (2.1) also graduated.

That leaves the Bulldogs to build a lineup with seniors Andrew Breen (6.0) and Jake Olson (4.2) and juniors Cory Shea (5.6), Avery Lettenberger (4.9) and Grant Germano (3.7).

Indian Trails

Faith Christian finished only 10-13 overall, but the Eagles grabbed second place in the league standings, three games behind Kenosha Reuther, with a 9-3 mark.

Despite that showing, surprisingly no Eagles were named to the first or second teams. The graduated J.J. Johnson (.6), senior Noah Knudtson and sophomore Caleb Thomas garnered honorable mention status.

Thomas will be a key performer again after topping the team with 14.5 ppg, and that goes for Knudtson (9.6). Also expected back are sophomore C.J. Johnson (9.6), senior Austin Bechman (4.8) and sophomore Joshua Olson (4.3).

Faith Christian must replace Kyle Brossard (6.1).

Metro Classic

Catholic Central finished in the middle of a talent-laden conference that features four-time defending Division 4 state champion Dominican, posting a 7-9 record in league play and going 9-15 overall.

The Hilltoppers managed to place two players on the loop's second team, the graduated Spencer Wilker (12.2) and current senior Ben Heilegenthal (14.5).

Besides Wilker, Memorial must replace Shon Gill (5.1) and Gavin Foote (3.0).

However, Heilegenthal will receive help from the likes of senior Brandon Vandehel (4.4) and junior Aaron Rueber (3.4).

Rock Valley North

East Troy finished 13-3, three games behind McFarland, in the conference race. The Trojans must replace three of their top four scorers from a squad that finished 18-8 overall: Connor Mitchell (13.9), Will Iloncaie (11.5) and Matt Kaminski (8.2). Iloncaie was a first-team all-RVC North selection, while Mitchell made the second team and Kaminski garnered honorable mention status.

Leading the returnees is No. 2 point man Joe Ciriacks, another honorable mention choice, who averaged 11.8 ppg in helping East Troy register four postseason victories of eight or more points to reach the Division 3 state tournament, where it suffered a 70-69 semifinal defeat against Appleton Xavier.

Other contributors will include fellow seniors Jake Remsza (7.8), Justin Growel (6.4), Johnathon Brehm (3.8) and Logan Parsons (3.5).

Evansville tied Jefferson for third place with an 11-5 record and finished 16-9 overall, losing to East Troy in the sectional semifinal.

The Blue Devils get the league's best offensive playmaker back in junior first team pick Brennen Banks, who topped the conference with 21.2 ppg. Senior second teamer Kyle Rutkowski also returns after averaging 15.4 points to finish fourth while leading the loop in rebounding (12.4).

Also back are juniors Hayden Reese (6.7 ppg) and Brody Maag (5.9) and sophomore Zach Mielke (6.1).

Edgerton plummeted to 5-11 and took a share of last place with Whitewater a year after marching through the league with a 15-1 mark and finishing 20-4 overall.

The Crimson Tide must replace three all-league performers in second teamer Jake Zeimet (11.6) and honorable mention picks James Fox (14.0) and Cullen Oren (9.7) after their 8-17 record. Edgerton also must replace Brennan Deegan, who graduated after finishing second on the team in scoring at 13.2 ppg.

The leading returners are senior Braden Youngman (3.8), junior Jackson Erickson (2.5) and sophomore Dan Zeimet (2.9).

Whitewater gets its leading scorer back in junior Brodie Runez (10.3) along with sophomore Bryce Parrish (8.2).

However, the Whippets, who finished 5-18 overall, must fill the shoes of such players as Sam Fuller (10.2), Tyler Hill (8.8), honorable mention selection Josh Nast (8.4) and Peter McCrae (5.2).

Rock Valley South

Beloit Turner won by a nose in the two-team conference race against Clinton, accumulating a 12-4 league mark and 15-8 overall record.

The Trojans should be the target again as first team performers Alec Fruin and Nacio Villarreal and second teamer Justin Hansen return.

Fruin was the league's Player of the Year as a sophomore after leading the conference with a 20.2 scoring average, and Villarreal finished fifth at 12.9 ppg as a freshman.

Hansen, a senior, was third on the team with 8.1 ppg.

Dylan Ferger (5.2) graduated, but seniors Seth Smith (6.4) and Ronny Galvan (4.0) should be key contributors again.

Clinton went 11-5 in league competition and 13-10 overall, but the Cougars must replace topnotch performers in first team player Zach Kaminski and second teamer Luke Risse.

Kaminski led the Cougars with a 14.3 scoring average, followed by Risse's 10.5 showing. Honorable mention choices Marc Eliszewski (7.8) and Derek Severson (5.6) also graduated.

However, Denny Morris' bunch hopes to regroup after dropping its postseason opener to Big Foot in overtime, and the Cougars will need a big year from junior Terrell Walker, who was third on the team at 10.2 ppg while also making the league's second unit.

Other contributors should include senior Blake Hodge and juniors Bryce Hodge and Cole Ciohon.

Brodhead put the conference's second-leading scorer, Ned Slocum, on the court every night but that didn't prevent the Cardinals from struggling through a 7-16 overall finish, which included a 4-12 mark in RVC action.

Slocum averaged 17.5 ppg, earning a second straight spot on the first team after topping the league at 17.8 ppg as a soph.

The Cardinals must replace his top running mate, second team choice Josiah DeLorme, who averaged 9.7 ppg. Brodhead also lost Tjaden Sanders (8.3), Griffin Day (6.8) and Ted Harnack (4.2).

Joining Slocum in this year's lineup should be seniors Josh Pickel (4.4), Jake Pickel (2.5) and Cole Steube.

Big Foot, like the other three South teams that struggled, hopes to find a combination that will push it to contender status.

The Chiefs' roster features second team selection Beau Cary, who averaged 8.9 ppg to lead the team while finishing second (7.1) in the league in rebounding as they went 3-13 and 5-19. Cary was an honorable mention pick for the All-Walworth County team.

Nico Tovar (7.6), another All-Walworth County honorable mention choice, and Alex Landers (7.3) will be missed, as will Chandler Hehr (4.5) and Anthony Williams (3.3).

Big Foot will rely on a senior class that includes Mark Schauf (1.3), Zak Greco (6.5), Foster Isham (1.0) and Michael Heidenreich (3.5).

Palmyra-Eagle didn't have any players make the top two league teams after finishing 3-13 in loop games and 6-17 overall.

However, that could change in a hurry because the Panthers return their top four scorers: seniors Ty Poulson (7.6) and Noah Hayalian (6.2) and juniors Brady Olson (9.3) and Simon Carpenter (6.1).

Senior Mason Roscizewski (4.4) returns, but Palmyra-Eagle must replace Sean Mara (4.9).

Parkview brought up the rear with a 2-14 mark, ending up 5-18 overall.

The Vikings will find it tough to contend after losing Nolan Masterson (15.7), a first team selection, and second team pick Nolan Strzok, who chipped in 12.1 ppg. Nos. 3-4 scorers Jeffrey Brager (7.0) and Jacob Grenawalt (6.1) also are gone.

That means guys such as seniors Hunter Case (5.4), Dalton Anderson (3.6) and David Schwengels (3.3) must step up for Parkview to move up.

Badger South

Milton slipped into the basement and hasn't found a way to climb out, sharing the bottom of the league with Fort Atkinson in 2012-'13 while having it to itself the past two years.

The Red Hawks finished 1-11 in league action and 3-20 overall despite the efforts of first team selection Tyler Westrick, who scored 25 or more points six times with a high of 34 and averaged 19.1 points per game overall. He finished seven points short of the coveted 1,000-point plateau despite missing seven games due to a partially torn Achilles tendon.

Zach Groelle's squad also must replace Colin Weberpal (10.3), Trevor Mays (6.9), Vic Martinelli (5.5) and Logan Cassidy (3.9).

Top returnees include Jake Hermanson (5.8), Joey Stivarius (4.1), Charlie Terrill (3.7) and Chase Frye (3.5).

Big Eight

Janesville Craig shared ninth and last place in the league standings with cross-town rival Parker at 4-14, going 8-17 overall.

The Cougars' top returning performer is junior San'Trell Payton, a second team choice who topped the team with 14.7 points per game and is ranked the No. 24 junior by Wissports.net. Also back is junior honorable mention pick Jake Negus, the second-leading scorer at 10.3.

Senior Robby Hoppe (4.9) and more players from the talented junior class will be key contributors again, featuring 6-foot-7 center Adam Anhold (6.0) and Nick Lynch (5.8).

Craig upset Middleton as part of a four-game winning streak that ended with a one-point loss to Verona in the regional finale.

Senior honorable mention player Marquise Brooks will lead first-year coach Keith Miller's Janesville Parker squad, which posted a 5-19 overall mark.

The task won't be easy, as it never is in the Big Eight, for Miller, no relation to Craig's Mike Miller or UW-Whitewater's Pat Miller.

A 2006 Milton High School graduate, Keith Miller replaces Ryan Masterson.

Meanwhile, Brooks was second on the team with an 8.9 ppg average, trailing Carlos Campos' 9.4 on a senior-laden roster that also will include Darrin Empereur (6.4), Darion Young (5.2) and Austin Zane (3.3).

The Vikings must replace Travis Shepler (7.1) and Connor Osmond (6.9).

Beloit Memorial finished sixth in the Big Eight at 8-10 and must fill the void left by graduated first team selection Kyan Pleasant, who averaged 19 ppg, and No. 2 scorer Dallen McAtee (8.6).

Memorial does return some experience for coach Jay Bryant, whose squad wound up 12-11 overall.

The group includes senior Dre'mond Long (7.2) and juniors Drew Freitag (7.8), Jequan Pegeese (6.5), Anthony Johnson (4.8) and Fred Brown (3.5).


Hononegah finished in fifth place in the Northern Illinois Conference and a 14-16 overall record.

Mike Miller's squad lost two key performers to graduation in Alec Pena, who averaged 12 points and five rebounds per game, and Garrett Schweighauser, who scored 9 ppg.

The Indians' top returning players include senior Kyle Damon and juniors Josh Donaldson, Max Miller and Mitchell Massino, none of who averaged more than 4 ppg.


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