Basketball: DeBauch, Schaal duo leads Gillett girls on court

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Family at roots of duo’s love for game

Gillett’s Aubrey DeBauch, right, goes up for a layup in a nonconference game against Bonduel back on Jan. 4. DeBauch is averaging 18.6 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game this season. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)

Gillett’s Karissa Schaal, front, dribbles the ball during a Marinette & Oconto Conference matchup against Suring on Dec. 14. Schaal is averaging 14.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.7 steals per game this season. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)

It’s no secret that Aubrey DeBauch and Karissa Schaal are a strong duo on the court for the Gillett High School girls basketball team.

The sophomores love for the game is something that has been passed down through each of the two families.

For DeBauch, who remembers playing basketball as early as second grade, her parents, Michele and Chad DeBauch, played a big role in her basketball journey, even coaching her tournament team starting in third grade.

“Throughout everything, my parents have always had my back and helped motivate me to improve,” said Aubrey DeBauch, who also mentioned the role Jesse DeBauch (her brother) and Laney DeBauch (her sister) had on her basketball career. “There have been so many times my parents were there to help rebound, or play defense against me at open gyms or even just shooting around at home.”

For Schaal, she remembers playing basketball at her grandma’s house from a young age, recalling that the only way fouls were called was, “if there was blood.”

Schaal pointed out how her sister (Kaitlyn Schaal) and cousins (Shannon Schaal and Sammy Schaal) helped mold her into the player she is on the court today.

“Having my sister and two older cousins who are really familiar with the sport be able to push me and teach me what they know, that’s helped make learning things so much easier,” Karissa Schaal said.

DeBauch and Schaal certainly were quick learners, which helped them each burst onto the varsity scene as freshmen a season ago. Both got valuable experience on the court as Gillett made a run all the way to the sectional finals.

That experience last year has reaped big rewards, as the duo has guided a young Tigers team this year after the graduation of a talented senior class.

Heading into the final week of the regular season, Gillett owns a 12-8 overall record to go along with a strong 9-5 mark in the balanced Marinette & Oconto Conference.

Through the first 20 games of the season, the statistics put up by DeBauch and Schaal can be rather overwhelming, as each player makes a big impact in every facet of the game.

DeBauch is the team’s leader in points per game (18.6), while Schaal is second on the team averaging 14.0 points. DeBauch has scored in double figures in all but one game this season, while Schaal has missed double digit point totals just three times.

DeBauch and Schaal also serve as the team’s top rebounders, with DeBauch pulling down an average of 12.9 boards a game, while Schaal grabs 6.3. The duo also top the team in assists per game, with DeBauch averaging 3.7 and Schaal 3.0.

Schaal averages 4.7 steals per contest, while DeBauch averages 3.8. DeBauch also serves as a strong final line of defense for the Tigers, blocking an average of 2.0 shots per game.

While the numbers certainly help Gillett to wins, coach Justin Daul might be even more impressed by another aspect of their play on the court.

“Being kids surrounded by coaching families, their ability to take the coaching and apply it to the court is second to none,” Daul said. “The ability to think like a coach on the court is above a normal level of experience for their age.

“Coaches always say to think one pass ahead — you don’t have to do that with them. They essentially know every position on the court and where every player should be and how to execute effectively.”

The duo’s basketball journey has included several camps, tournaments and games together, creating a special bond between the two rising basketball stars.

“All that time playing together truly did create a connection on the court,” DeBauch said. “Karissa is an amazing player and I am beyond thankful to be able to play basketball with her.”

“Playing together all these years really helps us read each other’s minds and knowing where we are each going to be,” Schaal said.

With no seniors on this year’s Gillett roster, it’s easy to dream of the success the team might be having a year from now or when DeBauch and Schaal are seniors.

With the season the duo is having and a strong supporting cast around them, the Tigers believe they have the team that can accomplish great things to end this season.

Gillett is scheduled to play two games this week before opening the postseason against St. Thomas Aquinas Academy next Tuesday.