Sports

Wed
27
Feb

High school sports highlights Feb. 17-23: Oconto Falls eases past Tomahawk in regional opener

The last time the Oconto Falls girls basketball program won a home playoff game, the school was in the Bay Conference and senior McKenna Larsen was the leading scorer. That was the 2013-14 season when the Panthers advanced all the way to the WIAA Division 3 state semifinals.

Oconto Falls might not get to within two wins of winning state this season, but the team pulled off its first playoff victory in five years.

Oconto Falls used a solid defensive game plan and got 23 points off the bench — including a team-high 14 points from Morgan Helmle — to cruise to a 59-34 victory over Tomahawk in a Division 3 regional playoff opener Feb. 19.

The victory moved Oconto Falls on to play at Wrightstown in the second round Friday.

Wed
27
Feb

Wrestling: Whiting caps freshman year with state title


Oconto Falls’ Clayton Whiting, top, tries to escape the hold of Amery’s Mike Smith during the Division 2 152-pound weight class title match Saturday at the 76th annual WIAA Individual Wrestling Championship Tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison. (Times Herald photo by Clayton Whiting)

From Thursday through Saturday, the Kohl Center in Madison served as the host for the 76th annual WIAA Individual Wrestling Championship Tournament, where 560 high school wrestlers competed. Only 42 of those wrestlers walked away with individual titles when all was said and done, with one winner from each of the 14 weight classes for Divisions 1, 2 and 3.

Looking more like a seasoned state wrestler than a freshman, Clayton Whiting of Oconto Falls worked his way through the Division 2 152-pound weight class to capture one of those individual titles.

“It’s kind of crazy; everyone is like, ‘Oh, he’s just a freshman. He shouldn’t be nothing.’ But I’m a whole different other person out on the mat — I can change people’s minds like that,” said Whiting, who became the school’s first-ever freshman title winner and 15th individual champion.

Oconto Falls junior Tyler Budz and Gillett/Suring senior Sam Lemens each dropped their first and only matches of the tournament.

Wed
27
Feb

High school basketball: Gillett girls claim regional title


The Gillett girls basketball team holds up its Division 5 regional title plaque after taking down top-seeded Oneida Nation on Feb. 23. (Photo by Danyell Franti)

For a second straight year, the Gillett girls basketball team has claimed a Division 5 regional title.

Last year, the Tigers accomplished the feat as a No. 5 seed, upsetting top-seeded Oneida Nation in the regional title game. This year, Gillett took a similar path, upsetting top-seeded Oneida Nation, but as a No. 4 seed.

Gillett will face second-seeded Wausaukee at Crivitz High School on Thursday in a sectional semifinal. The winner advances to play in the sectional final at Wausau East High School on Saturday.

The win might come as a surprise to some who thought Justin Daul’s young team was a year or two away from reaching its full potential, the Gillett head coach said. “But if you ask my coaches and my parents and fans in the community, this is wasn’t a surprise — the talent is there. Just the experience is what we were lacking,” Daul said. He fully expects them to rise up and execute in the next big game. “I wouldn’t put anything past these girls.”

Wed
27
Feb

Athlete of the Week: Connor Peetz

Athlete: Connor Peetz

Sport: Boys basketball

School: Oconto Falls High School

Year: Senior

After a 2-1 start to the season, the Oconto Falls boys basketball team fell on hard times, dropping 15 of its next 16 games. Heading into the final week of the season, the team was looking for a big play to jolt the team’s confidence as the playoffs neared. Senior Connor Peetz provided that moment for the Panthers.

Peetz hit the go-ahead shot, helping Oconto Falls earn a 57-56 road victory over Fox Valley Lutheran on Feb. 18. Peetz finished the game with 11 points, connecting on four of his six shots, including two 3-pointers.

Over the course of the season, Peetz has become a reliable scoring threat for the Panthers, scoring seven or more points in four of the team’s past five games. Peetz scored a season-high 26 points in a 78-74 victory over Waupaca on Dec. 14.

Q: When did your interest in basketball begin?

Wed
20
Feb

Athlete of the Week: Sam Lemens


Gillett/Suring senior Sam Lemens will end his high school wrestling career competing in the 76th annual WIAA Individual Wrestling Championship Tournament.

Athlete: Sam Lemens

Sport: Wrestling

School: Gillett High School

Year: Senior

Reaching state in any sport is typically a feat that can only be accomplished with years upon years of hard work and dedication. For Sam Lemens, who attends Gillett High School and wrestles for the Gillett/Suring co-op, that was certainly the case.

Lemens biggest goal was to reach state, and after a standout senior season on the mat, he achieved that feat by placing third at the Division 3 Bonduel Sectional on Saturday. Sporting a 35-7 season record, Lemens will now try to cap his high school career by reaching the state podium.

Q: When did your interest in wrestling begin?

A: My interest in wrestling started in fifth grade.

Q: What’s your favorite part about a wrestling match or the wrestling season?

Wed
20
Feb

High school basketball: Oconto Falls boys nab No. 10 seed

With the recent string of inclement weather, boys basketball teams around the state have been scrambling to try to squeeze as many games as possible into the final weeks of the regular season.

With just one week of the regular season remaining, boys teams learned their postseason fates when the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association released tournament brackets on Sunday, Feb. 17.

With a 3-16 record and 1-15 mark in the North Eastern Conference at the time of the bracket release, Oconto Falls was handed a No. 10 seed in Division 3.

The Panthers will open the postseason on the road facing seventh-seeded Brillion (8-12, 4-8 Eastern Wisconsin Conference) next Tuesday, Feb. 26. The winner will take on second-seeded Xavier (15-4, 11-1 Bay Conference) on March 1 in a regional semifinal.

Wed
20
Feb

Wrestling: Gillett/Suring's Sam Lemens qualifies for state


Gillett/Suring’s Sam Lemens, top, holds down Shiocton’s Jared Jahnke during the 138-pound weight class third place match at the Division 3 Bonduel Sectional Shawano Community High School on Saturday. Lemens went on to win a 7-5 decision to earn a trip to state. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)


Oconto Falls wrestlers Clayton Whiting, left, and Tyler Budz will end their seasons competing at the 76th Annual WIAA Individual Wrestling Championship Tournament. (Contributed photo)

With the likes of Coleman, Stratford, Weyauwega-Fremont and Bonduel having several individual wrestlers at the Division 3 Bonduel Sectional, which was hosted by Shawano Community High School on Saturday, the competition was stiff.

Placing in the top three within a weight class to earn a trip to state appeared to be a rather daunting task for the few individuals representing the small co-ops of Gillett/Suring and Lena/St. Thomas Aquinas Academy.

Just as he has all season, Gillett/Suring senior Sam Lemens rose to the occasion, posting a 3-2 record to place third in the 138-pound weight class and earn a spot at the 76th Annual WIAA Individual Wrestling Championship Tournament.

“It means that all the extra work that I’ve put in — like I’ve been wrestling almost every day for the past two months, Saturdays and Sundays when I don’t have tournaments — it means all that hard work paid off and made it all worth it,” Lemens said of making it to state.

Wed
20
Feb

High school sports highlights: Feb. 10-16

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Niagara 43, Gillett 39

The Tigers were outscored by five in the second half of a Marinette & Oconto Conference loss to the Badgers on Feb. 16.

Aubrey DeBauch recorded 15 points, 12 rebounds and three steals for Gillett. Macy Franti pulled down six rebounds, while Brianna DeBauch had three assists.

Sydney Young scored nine points for the Tigers, while Karissa Schaal had eight points and four steals.

Luxemburg-Casco 72, Oconto Falls 57

The Panthers dropped a North Eastern Conference clash to the Spartans on Feb. 15 after a slow start. Oconto Falls trailed 42-24 at halftime.

Kari Albrecht scored 13 points to lead Oconto Falls, while Emma Huberty tallied 10.

Kaelyn Allen tallied nine points, while Natalie Brauer scored eight for the Panthers.

Oneida Nation 70, Suring 41

The Eagles came up short as the Thunderhawks won the M&O title with the win on Feb. 15.

Tue
12
Feb

Basketball: DeBauch, Schaal duo leads Gillett girls on court


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.”

Tue
12
Feb

Athlete of the Week: Caleb Lally

Athlete: Caleb Lally

Sport: Boys basketball

School: Suring High School

Year: Senior

Winners of nine of the last 11 games, the Suring boys basketball team seems to be trending in the right direction as the postseason nears. A big reason behind the Eagles recent success has been the play of senior Caleb Lally.

Lally is averaging 16.5 points per game this season and has scored in double figures in all but two games this season. Lally has scored over 20 points four times, with a season-high of 27 points coming against St. Thomas Aquinas Academy on Feb. 1.

Q: When did your interest in basketball begin?

A: I started playing basketball when I was in kindergarten at Saturday morning basketball practices.

Q: What’s your favorite part about a basketball game or the basketball season?

A: My favorite part of the basketball season is spending time with my friends and being able to compete every night.

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