Girls basketball: Oconto Falls earns No. 6 seed

After months of practices and games, girls basketball teams around the state finally learned their playoff fates when the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association released tournament brackets Sunday afternoon.

Sitting with a 9-9 overall record and 6-8 North Eastern Conference mark at the time the brackets were released, Oconto Falls was awarded a No. 6 seed in Division 3. The Panthers will open the postseason hosting 11th-seeded Tomahawk (2-16, 1-9 Great Northern Conference) at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The winner of the Oconto Falls, Tomahawk regional matchup will travel to take on third-seeded Wrightstown (14-4, 12-2 NEC) at 7 p.m. Feb. 22.

Sporting a 12-8 overall record and 9-5 mark in the Marinette & Oconto Conference, Gillett was given a No. 4 seed in Division 5. The Tigers will host M&O foe St. Thomas Aquinas Academy (2-18, 0-15 M&O), a No. 13 seed, at 7 p.m. Tuesday.


Wrestling: Panthers advance 5 to sectionals

Behind a first-place finish from Clayton Whiting, the Oconto Falls wrestling team placed second as a team at the Division 2 Marinette Regional at Marinette High School on Saturday.

Freedom won the regional with 283 points, earning a spot at team sectionals.

Whiting was one of five Panthers to punch their tickets to sectionals after placing in the top two. Collin Schindel, Tyler Budz, Aidan Stary and Elijah Zielinski all placed second for Oconto Falls.

After receiving a bye to open the day, Whiting eased to a 26-11 technical fall victory before pinning Freedom’s Jon Verhasselt in 1 minute, 9 seconds in the 152-pound weight class first-place match.

After a bye, Schindel opened his day in the 120 weight class with a pin of Marinette’s Brayden Zuraski in 4:57. Schindel dropped a match by technical fall next, but was awarded second by rule over Zuarski.


Wrestling: Gillett/Suring’s Lemens, VanDenElzen advance

Despite having a limited number of wrestlers, both the Gillett/Suring and Lena/St. Thomas Aquinas Academy co-ops each advanced two individuals on to sectionals after they placed in the top two of the Division 3 Coleman Sectional at Coleman High School on Saturday.

Gillett/Suring’s Sam Lemens (138) and Mike VanDenElzen (170) qualified for sectionals as the co-op placed fifth after scoring 62 points. Lena/STAA’s Alex Decoursin (132) and Richard Fieck (285) also qualified for sectionals while leading the team to fourth place after scoring 86 points.

The four sectional-qualifying wrestling will compete in the Bonduel Sectional, which will be held at Shawano Community High School on Saturday.

Coleman won the sectional, scoring 337 points to qualify for team sectionals.

Lemens finished first after earning a 6-1 decision win over Coleman’s Jakob Horton in his lone match of the day. Lemens earned a double bye.


High school sports highlights: Feb. 3-9


Gillett 70, Coleman 48

The Tigers overpowered the Cougars to snag a Marinette & Oconto Conference win Saturday.

Aubrey DeBauch scored 26 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and had seven steals to lead Gillett, which led 32-17 at halftime. Sydney Young added 20 points and three steals, while Karissa Schaal had 12 points, seven boards and six steals.

Brianna DeBauch compiled six points, six rebounds and seven assists for the Tigers.

Wausaukee 54, Suring 29

The Eagles had a hard time keeping pace with the Rangers in a M&O battle Saturday.

Paige Krueger was the only Suring player to score over four points, tallying 19.

The Eagles scored just 10 first half points.

Marinette 65, Oconto Falls 62

The Panthers dropped a tight North Eastern Conference clash to the Marines on Friday.


Local high school wrestling teams hoping for success at regionals

Oconto Falls’ Clayton Whiting, left, holds down Elkhorn Area’s Colman Karl at the Pulaski Invitational on Jan. 26. Whiting and the Panthers will compete in the Division 2 Marinette Regional this coming Saturday. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)

When the calendar turns to January every year, wrestlers around the state know it is crunch time.

The date signifies the postseason stretch is about five weeks away, and every wrestler needs to be at their peak on the mat. WIAA regionals take place this coming Saturday, with team sectionals on Feb. 12, individual sectionals on Feb. 16 and state the weekend after that (Feb. 21-23).

Three area teams will have their hands full competing in tough regionals. Oconto Falls will take part in the Division 2 Marinette Regional. Panthers that place in the top two in their weight class move on to sectionals at Wrightstown.

In Division 3, Lena/St. Thomas Aquinas Academy and Gillett/Suring will both wrestle in Coleman Regional. Individuals who advance will compete in sectionals in the Bonduel Sectional, which will be hosted by Shawano Community High School.

Oconto Falls


Chasing a dream, part of a nightmare — the reality of deer hunting

The screenshot from a trail camera video shows a giant buck walking towards freshly-planted clover on Aug. 3. Times Herald sports editor Morgan Rode went into the hunting season hoping to cross paths with the big buck, but instead endured the worst hunting season of his life. (Contributed photo)

At the end of each hunting season, I always love to think back on all the hunts I had and new memories I’ve made.

With the deer hunting season, both gun and bow, having ended, I recently took a trip down memory lane in search of my favorite moments from the fall and winter season. Unfortunately, it took me all of about five minutes to recall the highlights of my season.

Living nearly three hours from the land I hunt on, trail cameras are a big resource for me in locating deer and staying in tune with how deer are moving about the property.

Just days after I had made a trip to the hunting property to lay down some clover seed, I received a phone call from my parents with news that was almost too good to be true.


Athlete of the Week: Logan Krause

Senior Logan Krause has averaged 14.3 points per game during Gillett’s last six games. (Contributed photo)

Athlete: Logan Krause

Sport: Boys basketball

School: Gillett High School

Year: Senior

For most athletes, senior year marks the final time many basketball players will step onto the court, making each second that much more memorable. For Gillett senior Logan Krause, who was born with a heart defect and has needed two open-heart surgeries, every moment of his high school basketball career has been a blessing.

With that thought in the back of his mind, Krause has left it all out on the court and helped Gillett find plenty of success over the years. This season, Krause is averaging just under 10 points a game and is among the Marinette & Oconto Conference leaders in assists per game. He’s scored in double figures in each of the team’s last six games, including a 28-point outburst against St. Thomas Aquinas Academy on Jan. 26.

Q: When did your interest in basketball begin?


High school sports highlights: Jan. 27-Feb. 2


Gillett 67, Suring 49

Led by the duo of Aubrey DeBauch and Karissa Schaal, the Tigers knocked off the Eagles in Marinette & Oconto Conference action on Feb. 1.

DeBauch led Gillett with 19 points, while also tallying seven rebounds, four blocks, three steals and three assists. Schaal had 18 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists and five steals.

Sydney Young contributed 10 points for Gillett while Brianna DeBauch had nine. Camryn Long blocked two shots and grabbed six rebounds.

Wylee Van Bellinger and Kylee Stelzer each scored 13 points for Suring. Ryann Wagner added eight points, while Paige Krueger had seven.

Oneida Nation 79, Lena 40

The Wildcats could not keep pace with the Thunderhawks in a M&O clash on Feb. 1. Lena trailed 39-23 at halftime before scoring just 17 second-half points.


Athlete of the Week: Kylee Stelzer

Suring sophomore Kylee Stelzer is averaging 13.1 points per game this season, scoring in double figures in all but three games. (Contributed photo)

Athlete: Kylee Stelzer

Sport: Girls basketball

School: Suring High School

Year: Sophomore

While it’s been an up-and-down season for the Suring High School girls basketball team, sophomore Kylee Stelzer has been about as consistent as it comes. Stelzer, who is averaging 13.1 points per game, has scored seven or more points in all but one game this season, scoring in double figures in 14 of the team’s 17 games.

Stelzer opened the week scoring 12 points to help Suring down Coleman on Jan. 21 before she tallied 13 points in a tight win over St. Thomas Aquinas Academy on Friday. She most recently scored 11 points in a loss to Oneida Nation on Saturday.

Q: When did your interest in basketball begin?

A: My love for basketball began when I was young. I loved going to Saturday morning basketball practice and playing at the halftime of the high school games.


Oconto Falls’ Clayton Whiting takes first at loaded Pulaski Invite

Oconto Falls’ Aidan Stary, left, tries to escape the hold of Elkhorn Area’s Aaron Taylor during a consolation round match at the 170-pound weight class at the Pulaski Invitational on Saturday. Stary rallied late for a 7-4 decision win and went on to place fourth. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)

The Oconto Falls wrestling team knew the stiff competition they would be going up against at the 50th annual Pulaski Wrestling Invite on Saturday.

So while only one Panther wrestler finished in the top three of his respective weight class, the team came away from the day with plenty of reasons for optimism.

“We were happy with the boys that did wrestle,” Oconto Falls tri-head coach Marc Kinziger said. “And yes, that tough competition is like putting money in the bank — and will be ready for withdrawal come regional time.”

Clayton Whiting continued his standout freshman season on the mat, emerging from the 152-pound weight class with a first-place finish to lead Oconto Falls, which scored 73 points to finish 11th as a team.

After a first round bye, Whiting claimed a 10-3 decision win to advance to the semifinals, where the freshman picked up an hard-fought 8-4 decision win.


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