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BADGER NORTH BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Sauk Prairie boys picked to finish sixth

 

December 6, 2018



Editor’s Note: The following preview of the Southern Capitol Conference was compiled by Wissports.net.

1. MOUNT HOREB

The Vikings finished in second place in the Badger North a year ago and welcome back four starters from a club that finished 18-6 overall.

Seniors Jason Larson (6-3), Dustin Zenz (5-10), Gunnar Nortman (6-1) and Bryce Farnsworth (6-3) form a rock-solid nucleus for coach Todd Nesheim, who guided Mount Horeb to the WIAA Division 2 state title in 2015.

The four returning starters are all capable scorers while Nortman and Larson also did a solid job on the glass last winter. Junior Owen Ziegler (5-10) also returns after earning playing of playing time as a reserve.

“Experience, scoring punch and team chemistry are strengths,” Nesheim said. “Lack of size is our biggest concern.”

2. WAUNAKEE

Three-time defending Badger North Conference champion Waunakee won 71 games over the past three seasons, but two of the key performers of those squads have moved on with Mitch Listau at Belmont and Mason Steffen at Minnesota-Duluth.

Coach Dana MacKenzie begins his 16th year at Waunakee needing to replace all five regulars from a club that went 22-3, but he does have five seniors back who saw action off the bench.

Will Knatz (6-0), Josh Block (6-2), Josh Cash (6-5), Trey Fancher (6-4) and Zach Deering (6-5) give the Warriors a solid nucleus and have competed against some of the better players in the state during practice sessions over the past 12 months.

“We will be long, skilled and deep,” MacKenzie said. “We lost some great leaders so how our senior class responds and leads is the biggest question entering the new season.”

3. BEAVER DAM

Despite losing five starters to graduation from a club that finished 16-8, coach Tim Ladron is optimistic the Beavers can remain in the upper half of the competitive Badger North Conference.

Seniors Cade Ferron (6-3), Marshall McGauley (6-5) and Jordan Schwanke (6-4) all played significant amounts last winter and form a solid core along with promising sophomore point guard Nate Abel (5-11).

“Perimeter shooting, coachability and team chemistry should be strengths,” Ladron said. “Experience, size, scoring punch and strength are among our question marks.”

Ferron is the top returning scorer for the Beavers at 6.0 ppg while the ultra-athletic Schwanke is the top returning rebounder at 3.1 rpg.

4. DEFOREST

Led by the all-around talent of senior forward Austin Westra, DeForest figures to be in the mix for the title in the Badger North Conference.

The 6-foot-6 Westra averaged 16.7 points and 7.7 rebounds as a junior en route to earning first-team all-league honors. His ability to score and rebound at a very high level in the paint is a huge asset for the Norskies.

Senior Cody Riggs (6-2) and junior Trey Schroeder (6-0) join Westra as returning starters from a club that finished 15-9 under veteran coach Craig Weisbrod. Schroeder averaged 10 points and 4 assists and received honorable mention all-league laurels.

“Experience, scoring and toughness are strengths,” Weisbrod said. “Depth is a concern.”

Other returning varsity performers include seniors Jaiden Magli (5-11), Jack Bogan (6-5) and Cade Ludeman (6-2).

5. REEDSBURG

Guard play figures to be the primary strength for the Beavers as coach Josh Rupnow welcomes back one of the top point guards in the state in the 2020 class in Will Fuhrmann.

The 6-foot-0 Fuhrmann is a two-year varsity player for Reedsburg and averaged 11.8 points and 6.3 rebounds as a sophomore for a club that went 12-12.

Joining Fuhrmann as returning starters are senior Jacob Dregney (6-0) and junior Max Tully (6-2). Junior Carter Daniels (6-2) also is back after averaging 6.5 points and 4.4 rebounds a game off the bench. Sophomore guard Zach Bestor (5-10) also figures to be an asset in the Beavers’ backcourt.

“Experience, roster depth and outside shooting are among our strengths,” Rupnow said. “Lack of size is our top concern.”

6. SAUK PRAIRIE

Former assistant coach Sean McGann takes over the head coaching duties from Levi Massey at Sauk Prairie and inherits a talented lineup that features plenty of size.

Senior Jack Henderson (6-7) is the lone returning starter from a club that went 13-11, but seniors Spencer Breunig (6-4) and Jacob Vieth (6-2) along with juniors Trevor Spray (6-5), Parker Breunig (6-0) and Bob German (5-10) all saw playing time off the bench.

“We have some size down low, which hopefully allows us to control the glass,” said McGann, a former standout player at league-rival Baraboo. “We lost four starters and seven seniors overall so we have some guys who have yet to prove themselves at the varsity level.”

7. PORTAGE

Three-year varsity performer and returning honorable mention all-Badger North selection Eli Considine headlines the list of returning players for Portage, which finished 8-15 under coach Ron Olson last season.

A versatile player with very good strength and the ability to play inside and outside, Considine averaged 13.3 points and 5.2 rebounds as a junior for the Warriors. Considine is the lone returning starter, but senior Connor Levander (5-8) and juniors Brett Walker (5-9) and Matthew Miles (6-3) saw action off the bench.

“Athleticism, discipline and preparation will be our strengths,” Olson said. “Replacing 34.6 ppg from the graduating class will be a concern. However, it will be an opportunity for individuals to step up.”

Olson looks for Mount Horeb, DeForest and Waunakee to slug it out for the Badger North Conference title.

8. BARABOO

It was a tough go of it last winter for the Thunderbirds as they failed to win a game in the Badger North Conference and went 4-19 overall.

Baraboo hopes to end a 15-game league losing streak as early as possible in 2018-19 behind the return of six players who saw considerable playing time last winter. That group includes seniors Caden Carpenter (5-11), Joe Stout (6-0), Caden Blum (6-5) and Ryan Gehin (6-3) along with juniors Calvin Peterson (6-2) and Joe White Eagle (6-2).

“Effort, unselfishness and team defense will be strong areas,” coach Darrin Berger said. “Rebounding and scoring are among our concerns.”

Replacing the offensive production of the graduated Mason Peterson (14.9 ppg) and Justus Neuman (13.9 ppg) figures to be an early season hurdle for the Thunderbirds.

 
 

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