Sports

Wed
28
Feb

Panthers’ Ausloos D2 heavyweight runner-up


Oconto Falls High School senior Dan Ausloos, left, was pinned by Spencer/Columbus Catholic’s Logan Zschernitz in 1 minute, 3 seconds at 285 pounds to become the Division 2 runner-up at the WIAA state tournament in Madison Saturday. (Times Herald photo by Jacy Zollar)

Dan Ausloos hoped to end his Oconto Falls High School wrestling career a state champion. The senior made it just shy of that goal with a second-place finish at 285 pounds at the WIAA state tournament last weekend in Madison.

“It hurts a little bit,” Ausloos said. “I know I put the work in, but you can’t always win. Winning the championship has been a lifetime goal, so I wish I could’ve gotten that my last year, but it felt good to be back. It’s an amazing experience.”

Ausloos competed at state last year, but was pinned in the second round of the Division 2 heavyweight tournament. This year, he landed on the podium.

“It was nice to improve from last year,” he said, “but I really wish I could’ve taken it all.”

Ausloos (36-4) was pinned in 1 minute, 3 seconds in the championship match by Logan Zschernitz, of Spencer/Columbus Catholic, who placed third last year at state.

Wed
28
Feb

Tigers are regional champs after OT victory


Gillett High School senior Willow Pecha drives to the basket during Monday’s WIAA Division 5 regional final overtime victory over Oneida Nation. (Times Herald photo by Jacy Zollar)

Fifth-seeded Gillett overcame a first-half deficit to force overtime and upset No. 1 Oneida Nation 66-65 for the WIAA Division 5 regional title on Monday. Head coach Justin Daul had one phrase to sum up the victory: “What an answer.”

The Tigers, who trailed by nine points at halftime, battled back in the second half and forced back-and-forth lead changes. With under two minutes to play, Sydney Young secured the Tigers’ lead with back-to-back opportunities from the line and hit 4-of-4 free throws to lead 55-52.

Oneida Nation’s M’Kenzy Ackley converted a layup with 12 seconds, Willow Pecha added one point from the line for Gillett and an Ackley layup at the buzzer tied the score 56-56 at the end of regulation.

Wed
21
Feb

Dan Ausloos punches ticket to state tournament


Oconto Falls High School’s Dan Ausloos (285 pounds) defeated Omro’s Mitchell Potratz 8-3 in the quarterfinal at the WIAA Division 2 sectional tournament at Oconto Falls on Saturday. (Photo by Josh Thompson)

Dan Ausloos had just been upset in the sectional semifinals.

One more loss and the Oconto Falls senior wrestler’s career was over.

Down in the dumps after the defeat, Ausloos received some words of encouragement from Panthers tri-head coach Marc Kinziger.

“I grabbed him, I said, ‘Your goal is a state championship. If that’s your goal yet, that loss might be good for you, because you’ve got to learn how to win close matches,’” Kinziger said. “I said, ‘You are a better wrestler than that boy, but that kid wrestled and dictated his match and you did not wrestle your match. You let him dictate the match. We can’t have that anymore.’”

Point taken. Lesson learned.

Ausloos won his next two matches in convincing style to place third at 285 pounds in a WIAA Division 2 sectional on Saturday at Oconto Falls to earn a trip to state.

“It kind of woke me up a little bit,” said Ausloos about his second-round loss to Two Rivers’ Damien Bullock.

Wed
21
Feb

Gillett/Suring wrestlers end season at sectionals


Gillett/Suring wrestler Sam Lemens was pinned by Shiocton’s Sammy VanStraten in the semifinal match at the WIAA Division 3 sectional tournament in Shawano. (Times Herald photo by Jacy Zollar)

Two wrestlers represented Gillett/Suring at the WIAA Division 3 sectional tournament in Shawano on Saturday.

Sam Lemens (33-10) and Sam Davis (26-9) both ended their seasons at the tournament.

Lemens pinned Crivitz’s Tony Jopek in 1 minute, 29 seconds in the quarterfinal at 138 pounds, but was pinned by Shiocton’s Sammy VanStraten in 4:41 in the semifinal match. Lemens dropped a 13-6 decision to Tyler Dammann, of Pittsville, in the consolation semifinal to cap off his season.

Davis was pinned in the 152-pound quarterfinal match by Athens’ Klay Ellenbecker and fell to Wabeno’s Derek Moravec in the consolation semifinal.

Wed
21
Feb

Veteran coach takes over Pulaski volleyball program


Bethany Thibodeau

Former St. Norbert College and Notre Dame Academy head women’s volleyball coach Bethani Thibodeau is the new varsity head coach of Pulaski High School volleyball.

Thibodeau takes over for Valerie Spaulding, who led the program for three years and was previously an assistant coach.

“I am excited for Bethani to join our Pulaski coaching staff and keep moving Pulaski volleyball in the direction we want to go,” said Pulaski High School athletic director Janel Batten. “There is no doubt she will continue to build on the foundation that Coach Spaulding established here over the past couple years.”

Thibodeau is a field claims manager for ACUITY Insurance. She is a 1998 graduate of St. Norbert College with a major in business administration and a minor in communication.

“Coach Thibodeau brings with her a great amount of experience as well as a wealth of knowledge,” Batten said. “We are pleased to have her join our Pulaski family.”

Wed
14
Feb

Oconto Falls sends 4 wrestlers to sectionals

Four Oconto Falls wrestlers will compete at their home sectional on Saturday after finishing in the top-two at the WIAA Division 2 regional last weekend.

Dan Ausloos (30-2) took the heavyweight championship and was the sole Panther to take first. Ausloos pinned Freedom’s Hayden VanCamp in 54 seconds in the semifinal before pinning New London’s Travis Kuhnke (3:03) in the championship match.

Jager Eisch (106 pounds), Collin Schindel (120) and Noah Stary (152) were runners-up.

Eisch (26-11) defeated Damian Polanco, of New London, in the quarterfinal and Blake Linsmeyer, of Seymour, by decision in the semifinal. He dropped a 5-0 decision to Carsten McHugh, of Freedom, in the first-place match.

Wed
14
Feb

Ryan Mahoney breaks 1,500 career points as Suring defeats Gillett


Suring High School senior Ryan Mahoney attempts a dunk during a victory over Gillett on Friday. (Times Herald photo by Jacy Zollar)

Suring High School senior Ryan Mahoney broke 1,500 high school career points after a 16-point game in Suring’s 57-21 victory over Gillett on Friday.

The senior broke the previous school record set in 2011 by Chad Strehlow (1,487 points) during a Feb. 6 win over Wausaukee. He ended Friday’s game with 1,505 total career points to become the school’s all-time leading scorer.

“I didn’t know I broke the record when I did,” Mahoney said. “I knew I was getting close, but was trying to keep my mind off it, but coach took a timeout after my layup and people were cheering pretty loud and that’s when I realized I must have hit it. I felt overjoyed after that moment. There are so many good players that are up on the 1,000-point banner, and it’s an honor to be up there with them.”

“He’s a great kid and honor roll student,” Suring head coach Jim Keeffe said. “He’s one of our captains and respected by his teammates. He’s an all-around great basketball player.

Wed
07
Feb

Tigers’ seniority steps up in victory over Eagles


Gillett High School senior Taylor Yonker drives up the court during a Marinette & Oconto Conference win against Suring on Friday. (Times Herald photo by Jacy Zollar)

A lot can be said for a team with four senior starters.

The Gillett girls basketball team showed rival Suring, which doesn’t have a senior on its roster, that experience trumps youth.

The four Tigers senior starters combined for 47 points to erase a slow start as host Gillett beat Suring 69-42 in a Marinette & Oconto Conference game on Friday.

“After a slow start, I thought our senior leadership really took hold — they didn’t panic,” Gillett coach Justin Daul said. “In a rivalry game like that, you can see a young team that really panics. We answered, and you could tell their youth was taking over compared to our veteran leadership.”

Gillett (13-5, 9-4 conference) was up 11-10 six minutes into the game before the offense got going.

“I think we came out a little overhyped and I think once we settled down a little bit and got into our defense we started to pull away a little bit,” Gillett senior Taylor Yonker said.

Wed
31
Jan

Lena grad and college basketball player brings AAU program to area


Connor Heise, a Lena High School graduate and freshman at Viterbo University in La Crosse, is starting an AAU basketball program in Oconto and Marinette counties for ages 12, 14, 16 and 17. (Photo by Nate Beier)

Connor Heise attributes his youth years playing basketball on an Amateur Athletic Union team for helping craft him into a college-level athlete. The Lena High School graduate is bringing the program back to Marinette and Oconto counties to extend that opportunity to other youth hopefuls.

“I can’t say enough about what AAU did for me when I was younger,” said Heise, who graduated from Lena in 2017. “It allowed me to really zone in on my skills and perform at a higher level, which helped me play at the top of my team in high school and then in college.”

Wed
31
Jan

Panthers struggle to find energy in loss to Irish

A combination of nine games in the last 25 days and several players trying to fight off sickness hurt the Oconto Falls boys basketball team.

The Panthers trailed by just one point to Freedom at halftime, but the Irish wore down the visitors with a 25-10 run to start the second half to score a 62-47 victory in North Eastern Conference play Monday.

“We had no energy whatsoever. And the way we play, we have to have energy,” Oconto Falls coach Kirk Hirst said. “We’ve been battling illness, and I don’t know what it was. Like I told them in the locker room, ‘Guys, we’ve been playing so hard for so long, we’re going to have a letdown.’ That’s what happened tonight. I thought competitively, we just were never there.”

Tough close home losses the previous week to Waupaca and Wrightstown are still lingering.

“This time of year is when the dog days of winter get to you,” Hirst said.

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