Local high school basketball teams look to get back in conference races

Gillett’s Sydney Young goes up for a shot in a Marinette & Oconto Conference win over Suring on Dec. 14. Gillett’s stout defense has led to easy baskets on offense and helped the team to a 4-3 start in conference play. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)

The holiday break was a time for some local basketball teams to play in tournaments, but it also gave teams a few days to step back and assess where they were before heading into the new year.

While no local teams sat atop their conference standings, many teams have enjoyed solid starts to the season.

Both the Gillett and Oconto Falls girls teams are in the top half of their respective conferences.

A season ago, Oconto Falls finished with just a 7-16 overall record and 5-13 mark in the North Eastern Conference. The experienced Panthers (5-3, 4-3 North Eastern Conference) are on pace for a much better record this winter behind a strong defense.


Boys basketball: Panthers’ offense goes cold late in setback to Oconto

Oconto Falls guard Mitch Manns goes up for a layup while being defended by Oconto’s William Sherman (11) and Josh Woller during Friday’s nonconference battle at Oconto Falls High School. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)

The Oconto River Rivalry was stocked full of points, but one cold stretch on offense was what determined the outcome of the game.

After closing to within two points after trailing by double digits, Oconto Falls went scoreless in the final five-plus minutes of the game in a 68-62 nonconference loss to Oconto on Friday at Oconto Falls High School.

A 3-pointer from senior Joe Schoen — the 12th and final triple for Oconto Falls (3-5) on the night — left the hosts with a 64-62 deficit. The Panthers had several good looks from deep in the closing minutes but could not convert.

Oconto Falls coach Kirk Hirst kept urging the team to get the ball inside, but Oconto’s zone made the 3-point shot too appealing.


Athlete of the Week: Trevor Pankratz

Athlete: Trevor Pankratz

Sport: Wrestling

School: Oconto Falls High School

Year: Senior

Just over a month into the season, the top wrestling teams and individuals are starting to distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack. Senior captain Trevor Pankratz is among several individual wrestlers at Oconto Falls High School that are off to strong starts this season.

Pankratz owns a 14-3 record to this point of the season, mostly wrestling at the 170-pound weight class.

At the E.H. Stech Invitational on Dec. 14 and 15, he finished with a 4-1 record in the 170 class. He pinned his first opponent before winning a decision. After a decision loss, he bounced back with a couple of close decision wins to claim third place.

Q: When did your interest in wrestling begin?

A: When I was in third grade.

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


High school highlights: Dec. 16-22


Oconto Falls 43, Marinette 22

The Panthers claimed all but five matches in a dual win over the Marines on Thursday (Dec. 20).

Jager Eisch (113), Trevor Schindel (138), Clayton Whiting (152) and Aidan Stary (182) all won by pin for Oconto Falls. Trevor Pankratz (160) won by major decision.

Jacob Kaminski (195) and Bodee Woods (145) each earned tight decision wins. Collin Schindel (138) won a decision by sudden victory and Jaden Ganter (106) won by forfeit.

Lena/STAA splits duals at triangular

The Lena/STAA co-op lost to Three Lakes (30-24) but bounced back with a win over Elcho (30-27) at a triangular on Dec. 18.

James DesJarlais (138) won by pin to lead the co-op against Three Lakes. Kiko Cajigas (170), Ramiro Cortez (182) and Richard Fieck (285) all won by forfeit.


Former Oconto Falls wrestler Trepanier takes first at invite

Lindenwood University and former Oconto Falls standout Nate Trepanier got his sophomore collegiate season off to a strong start by placing first at the Lindenwood Open on Saturday, Nov. 17, in Saint Charles, Missouri.

Trepanier, who won a state title as a member of the Oconto Falls wrestling team in 2016, posted a 5-0 mark on the day. He opened the day with a pin before earning a technical fall victory. He then won three straight matches by decisions before taking the championship match by a 13-3 major decision.

The Lindenwood Open featured wrestlers from all three collegiate levels, making Trepanier’s first-place finish even that more impressive.

Trepanier opened the year ranked the 12th-best wrestler in Division II. He has helped Lindenwood to a 3-0 dual record and No. 10 ranking.


High school sports highlights

Oconto Falls places sixth at invitational

The Panthers turned in a number of strong finishes while earning 123 points to place sixth at the E.H. Stech Invitational over Friday and Saturday (Dec. 14-15).
Jager Eisch scored 24 of those points after taking second in the 113-pound weight class.
Collin Schindel (120), Clayton Whiting (152) and Trevor Pankratz (170) all came in third for Oconto Falls. Wyatt Borkovec (160) placed fourth.
Lemens leads co-op at invitational
Gillett/Suring’s Sam Lemens continued his strong start to the winter season by winning each of his matches to place first in the 145 weight class at the Kewaunee Invitational on Saturday (Dec. 15).
Jake Burt (285) placed third for Gillett/Suring.
Lena/STAA competes in Shawano Holiday Classic


Girls basketball: Big runs fuel Gillett past Suring

Suring’s Wylee Van Bellinger (23) goes up for a shot while being defended by Gillett’s Grace Wickman, right and Emily Umentum (14) during Friday’s Marinette & Oconto Conference clash at Gillett High School. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)

It was apparent early on that the pressure defense played by Gillett would be a problem for Suring in a Marinette & Oconto Conference girls basketball clash at Gillett High School on Friday.
The defense forced numerous Suring turnovers and rushed shots, leading to easy baskets for Gillett on its end of the court. Behind a couple of extended runs, Gillett pulled away for a 73-34 victory.
“That’s the best the press has looked all year,” Gillett coach Justin Daul said. “They’re (Suring) a good young basketball team that’s well-coached also, so to do what we did tonight was a good feeling to kind of break out of our shell with the press. It’s been a struggle over the start of the season, but to have it go the way it did tonight, it felt good.”
Gillett set the tone early, and opened the game on a 17-0 run. Tigers’ sophomore Aubrey DeBauch tallied eight points during the run.


Athlete of the Week: Sammy Shallow

Oconto Falls senior Sammy Shallow dribbles the ball up the court in a game against Fox Valley Lutheran on Dec. 7. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)

Athlete: Sammy Shallow

Sport: Girls Basketball

School: Oconto Falls High School

Year: Senior

After finishing the 2017-18 season with just a 7-16 mark, the Oconto Falls girls basketball team seems to be playing with more confidence early in this winter season. Senior Sammy Shallow has helped the Panthers out to a 3-1 start.

Shallow serves as the team’s primary ball handler but can also score her share of points. Oconto Falls prides itself on defense and Shallow plays a big role in the pressure defense the team plays.

Q: When did your interest in basketball begin?

A: My interest in basketball began when I was 4 years old. My dad was a basketball coach for the Oconto Falls Hoops Club and I was the team mascot.

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

A: My favorite part about a basketball game is the intensity and adrenaline rush I get when facing a skilled opponent.


Girls basketball: Panthers scratch out win over FVL

Oconto Falls’ Alexis Euclide, left, looks to get past Fox Valley Lutheran’s Bailey Jacobsen, middle, and Sara Mears during Friday’s game. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)

Thanks to a pair of clutch free throws from freshman Alexis Euclide, a key bucket from junior Kari Albrecht and another free throw from senior Sammy Shallow, the Oconto Falls High School girls basketball team came away with a 39-33 home victory over North Eastern Conference foe Fox Valley Lutheran on Friday.

Oconto Falls coach Michael Kaczmarek was proud of the team’s strong defensive effort but still sees room for improvement.

“We played well defensively for 28 to 30 minutes but then quit rebounding — we have to finish the possessions by boxing out and going and getting the ball. That disappointed me, but their overall effort and how we rotated on defense, their doing nice things,” he said.

While the final score was separated by just six points, the game looked to be going in a completely different direction just a little earlier.


Boys basketball: Oconto Falls runs out of steam in OT

Oconto Falls senior Dakota Carriveau, right, looks to make a pass as Clintonville’s Sam Wittman defends during the Nov. 30 game in Oconto Falls. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)

In an electric and energetic atmosphere at Oconto Falls High School on Friday, the Oconto Falls boys basketball team fell just short in an overtime thriller against North Eastern Conference foe Clintonville.

After the teams battled back-and-forth for the entire game, it was Clintonville that went on a 5-0 run in overtime before connecting on enough free throws down the stretch to claim the 72-67 final.

“Our guys will never quit. They will battle all night long so I don’t ever worry about that,” Oconto Falls coach Kirk Hirst said. “Clintonville is a different team than they were last year — give all the credit to them, they played well.

“We took some bad shots when we shouldn’t have and turned the ball over way too much in the second half,” Hirst continued. “But our guys are never going to quit — they are still going to fight, they are always going to battle.”


Subscribe to RSS - Sports