Emily Sorenson named 1st-team all-conference

Senior forward Emily Sorenson was the only Bonduel girls basketball player to be named to either the first or second team in the Central Wisconsin Conference-8 this winter.

Sorenson led the Bears with 12.2 points per game on the season while her length was a big contributor to her defensive skill. She had a team-high 4.4 steals per game.

Bonduel finished third in the conference race behind co-champs Wittenberg-Birnamwood and Amherst.

Bonduel’s Hayley Sorenson and Becca Carpenter were awarded honorable mention honors. Hayley Sorenson, who was returning from an ACL injury and then suffered a minor ankle setback during the season, played in just 14 games in 2016-17, but averaged 8.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.

Carpenter, who played sparingly in previous seasons for Bonduel (17-7, 9-5 CWC-8), was dominant on the boards, pulling down 175 rebounds. Emily Sorenson was second on the team with 92 rebounds.


Shawano wraps up winter season, honors athletes

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Members of the Shawano Community High School girls basketball team honored Monday are, from left, Kayla Ward (Most Improved), Kennedy Klemens (Most Valuable Player-Defense), Tori DePerry (Most Valuable Player) and Brandi Gueths (Hawk Leadership Award).

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Members of the Shawano Community High School boys basketball team honored Monday are, from left, Alex Mueller (Most Improved), Austin Kohl (Most Valuable Player), Tyrell Hesse (Most Valuable Player-Defense), Carter Weisnicht (Most Improved), Josh Mueller (Hustle Award) and Cole Nelson (Hawk Leadership Award).

With all of the winter sports teams now finished with their seasons, Shawano Community High School took time Monday to recognize the season’s top athletes.

The annual winter sports awards ceremony Monday at The Gathering in Shawano allowed coaches, athletes and families to reflect on the previous four months of work.

Here are some of the highlights from the night:


Injuries hurt Shawano for the majority of the regular season and, as in the case of Aaron Pyawasay, the postseason.

The Hawks filled about eight of the 14 weight classes over the course of the season. Against Bay Conference champion Green Bay United, the Hawks won six of the eight matches wrestled but lost the dual 36-31 because of forfeits. Shawano also dominated Seymour in the opening dual of the year but lost because of the lack of wrestlers.


Wildcats break through for regional championship

The biggest challenge for the Gresham boys basketball team over the past four seasons was to secure a regional title.

On Saturday, the Wildcats emerged victorious in a 57-45 battle at home with fifth-seeded Phelps to win their first WIAA Division 5 regional championship in over 30 years. Gresham lost its regional title games the past three seasons, including the past two by a combined four points.

“Now that we finally got over the hump, the pressure is relieved,” senior forward Derek Bowman said.

Drew Haffner led Gresham with 11 first-half points and tallied a game-high 18 points. Senior Neal Cerveny contributed 16 points. The two guards each had four assists, while Bowman added three. Gresham had 17 assists on 21 made field goals.

Head coach Jeff Zobeck said the coaching staff approached the big game differently this season.



Photo by Chris Caporale Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School guard Kirsten Clark and head coach Mike Balliett become emotional as the Chargers’ sectional final loss draws to a close, ending the careers of both, as Balliett will step down after this season and Clark will graduate.

Photo by Chris Caporale Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School senior Alexis Balliett dribbles as the Chargers attempt to run their offense against a tough Shiocton defense. The Chargers made just two first-half field goals before falling 61-36 in the WIAA Division 4 sectional final.

Playing a familiar team in the biggest game of the season proved to be too much for the Wittenberg-Birnamwood girls basketball team in Saturday’s WIAA Division 4 sectional final in Waupaca.

The Chargers made just two first-half field goals, both layups, and were 0 for 7 shooting from deep against the stingy Shiocton Chiefs and could never recover in a 61-36 loss.

“It’s too bad for the girls,” Wittenberg-Birnamwood head coach Mike Balliett said. “I’ll remember that we lost, and I’ll remember that we played poorly, but they’ll remember that they played poorly as individuals and didn’t do kind of what they were capable of doing, and that’s the hardest part.”

Wittenberg-Birnamwood shot 18 free throws in the opening 18 minutes and made just 10. The eight missed free throws equaled the halftime deficit for the Chargers, who shot 12 percent from the field. The shooting improved in the second half at 40 percent, but it wasn’t enough to catch the Chiefs.


Cerveny, Creapeau carry Wildcats to regional final

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Gresham Community School guard Ray Creapeau passes the ball on an inbounds play as Niagara’s Jacob Bousley defends. Creapeau posted 17 points in the Wildcats’ 79-64 win.

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Gresham Community School guard Drew Haffner attempts to steal the ball from Niagara’s Ethan Blagec. Blagec scored a game-high 27 points while being shadowed by various Gresham defenders.

The athleticism and shooting of Neal Cerveny and Drew Haffner, who combined for 37 points, hurt Niagara in Gresham’s 79-64 WIAA Division 5 regional semifinal victory at home Friday.

But role players Ray Creapeau, Todd Otradovec and Justy Paiser were the ones who propelled the Wildcats to Saturday’s regional final against Phelps.

Creapeau posted 17 points, including three 3s, while Otradovec chipped in 11 points and Paiser tallied six, including four over a stretch of 1 minute and 15 seconds to get the Wildcats back ahead by 12 points.

“Justy gave us a nice shot in the arm, and Todd did all night long,” Gresham head coach Jeff Zobeck said. “Justy in that second half really came on. That stretch was huge for us. We needed that.”

Niagara’s Jacob Bousley made two free throws and senior Ethan Blagec knocked down one of his seven 3s with 5:43 remaining to bring the Badgers back within seven.


High School Highlights


Little Chute 64

Clintonville 42

Senior forward Nathan Krueger posted 17 points and teammate Tyler Petermann chipped in 16 for Clintonville in the Truckers’ WIAA Division 3 regional semifinal road loss Friday.

No other player scored more than three points for the Truckers (11-13, 7-11 North Eastern Conference), who were outscored 37-21 in the opening 18 minutes.

Little Chute made 59 percent of its shots while the Truckers converted on just 33 percent.

Marathon 70

Witt-Birn 52

Trevor Groshek scored 16 points and Cory Fraaza added 12 as Wittenberg-Birnamwood lost a WIAA Division 4 regional semifinal on the road Friday.

Fraaza had five rebounds, while Groshek posted five steals for the Chargers (13-11, 7-7 Central Wisconsin Conference-8).

Marathon built an 11-point halftime lead.


Webster returns to head SCHS boys tennis program

Just weeks before the season begins, Shawano Community High School has a boys tennis coach in place. Tom Webster, the former head coach who stepped down in 2015, decided to return to fill the void.

With the school searching for a new coach for nearly nine months, Webster wanted to make sure the program could continue.

“My concern was I didn’t want them to not have a coach,” Webster said.

The Hawks were coached last season by Brian Beyer, who took over both the boys and girls programs from Webster. He resigned from his position in the school district and stepped down as the tennis coach in May.

Charmaine Schreiber, activities director at Shawano Community High School, announced the hire on Monday. Schreiber initially reached out to Webster to see if he knew any possible candidates for the position.

Webster, who coached the girls program for 14 years and the boys team for 13 seasons, said he accepted the job on Feb. 16.


Late defense sends Chargers to sectional final

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School senior Kirsten Clark drives to the basket in the second half of WBHS’s 49-41 WIAA Division 4 sectional semifinal victory Thursday at Wausau West. Clark tallied nine points for the Chargers.

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School senior guard Emily Norrbom presses Neillsville’s Mindy Schoengarth in the second half of WBHS’s 49-41 victory Thursday. Wittenberg-Birnamwood allowed just 16 second-half points to advance to Saturday’s sectional final against Shiocton.

A seven-point run to open the second half put Wittenberg-Birnamwood in charge of Thursday’s WIAA Division 4 sectional semifinal contest at Wausau West.

The Chargers, who jumped ahead by 10 points with 14 minutes remaining in the game, did not let Neillsville get closer than eight points the remainder of the game as they advanced to the sectional final with a 49-41 victory.

“I think we always play good defense,” Wittenberg-Birnamwood head coach Mike Balliett said. “Sometimes teams just play better offense, and they went cold and didn’t hit some shots. We built on that. We talked about trying to get a lead, trying to get that thing up in that 10 area to have a little bit of that comfort level.”


Rades a 2-time GNC 1st-team selection

Shawano senior Griffin Rades was named to the Great Northern Conference’s first team in two events, the 200-meter individual medley and 100 breaststroke.

Rades set conference records in both of the events, with a time of 2:03.29 in the medley and 1:03.86 in the breaststroke.

The 200 medley relay and 400 free relay teams, both state-qualifiers for the Hawks, were named to the second team based on finishes at the Great Northern Conference meet Feb. 3 in Antigo.

The 200 medley relay team consisted of Rades, Nathan Kane, James Krueger and Jeffrey Green. The 400 free relay, consisted of Tyler Buerman, Chase Lhotka, Green and Rades.

Lakeland, the conference champion with six first-team all-conference selections, was led by Swimmer of the Year junior Jack Garcia. Lakeland, which had a top-three all-conference finisher in each of the 11 events, set conference records in the 200 medley and 500 free (Garcia).


High School Digest

Leader File Photo Clintonville High School forward Tyler Petermann became the school’s all-time leading scorer during Tuesday’s WIAA Division 3 regional quarterfinal victory over Northland Pines. He has scored 1,345 points in his CHS career.



Gresham vs. Niagara

The Gresham boys basketball team will take the next step in trying to advance beyond the WIAA Division 5 regional when it faces Niagara in a semifinal matchup at 7 p.m. Friday at Gresham Community School.

The No. 1 Wildcats (20-3, 17-1 Central Wisconsin Conference-10) have lost in the regional title game in each of the past three seasons. A win on Friday would allow Gresham to host either fourth-seeded Oneida Nation or fifth-seeded Phelps in the regional final Saturday.

Gresham, which has two of the top three 3-point shooters in Division 5 in Neal Cerveny (48 percent) and Drew Haffner (47 percent), has a high-powered offense (71.5 points per game) that can test Niagara (9-14, 5-13 Marinette & Oconto Conference), which allows just 58 points per game.

The Badgers are led by Ethan Blagec’s 17.2 points per game.



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