Suring shows poise down stretch

Jim Keeffe learned quite a bit about his team in the second game of the season.

He mainly realized his guys are resilient.

The Suring boys basketball team trailed by three points late against Bonduel, but the young Eagles responded with an 8-0 run. Then, Suring had to hold off a late push by the Bears to secure a 47-45 victory at home in nonconference action on Monday at home.

“I know they’re not going to quit,” said Keeffe, Suring’s coach. “I’ve got some gamers in there, and I don’t think there’s a quitter in that group.”

It’s the first time in four years Suring has knocked off Bonduel. The Bears had won the previous three matchups.

“I told the kids I thought we played really hard, I just love that,” Bonduel coach Duke Copp said. “They played with great effort, competing. We’re just young. Most of these kids haven’t even played varsity, so it’s going to be a little while. We had some mental breakdowns at the end and missed some easy bunnies.”


Sylvester, Wildcats take 3rd at holiday tournament

After a 2-point loss in the opening round of the Lena Holiday Tournament, the Wildcats rebounded with a 12-point victory over Sevastopol on Saturday to take third place.

Ally Demmith posted a team-high 14 points in the consolation victory, while Brianna Sylvester added 12 points for the hosts.

Lena made just 9 of 23 free throws but kept the Pioneers off the free-throw line with just four attempts.

Trailing by 2 points at the half, the Wildcats nearly doubled Sevastopol in scoring in the second half, 29-15, to pull away with the victory.

In the opening round, Lena trailed Elcho at the break, before the second-half comeback attempt was thwarted by the Hornets, who were paced by Kenzie Novak’s 21 points.

The Wildcats outscored Elcho 28-22 in the second half.


Tesch takes over young wrestling team

Times Herald Photo by Chris Caporale

Gillett High School senior Preston Fischer grapples with teammate Sam Lemens during the first day of wrestling practice Monday. The Tigers are working more on technique under first-year head coach Brian Tesch.

New Gillett/Suring wrestling coach Brian Tesch is changing just a few things with the program this winter.

After working with the elementary program for the past three years, the step up to varsity is giving him a chance to encourage his wrestlers to focus more on technique, especially early in the season.

Just a few days into the season — practice opened on Monday — Tesch is still getting to know his 15 wrestlers.

“I can see some of them have a lot of knowledge and ability, some of them seem like they’re pretty green and we’re starting over,” Tesch said. “It takes a little time to get to know each wrestler and where we need to go as a team, what we need to work on as a team, and then point out individual things for wrestlers to work on.”

So far, conditioning has taken a back seat to getting a better understanding of wrestling techniques, which is important for the younger wrestlers.


Panthers plan to integrate youth throughout lineup

The young players in the Oconto Falls girls basketball program will get a chance to get on the court this season.

The WIAA’s three-half rule allows athletes to play in three halves per night between junior varsity and varsity games, and head coach Mike Kaczmarek expects roughly eight freshmen and sophomores to learn on the fly.

“I think Jenny Krueger will step forward and be a big senior leader for us, and the rest of the class, we have a lot of minutes to absorb,” Kaczmarek said.

Krueger was the team’s leading scorer and rebounder at nearly 12 points and over five rebounds per game last year, and shot 40 percent from the field. The only other returnees who averaged more than 2 points per game are seniors Kaitlyn Donart and Sadie Pankratz.

The Panthers need to fill the void left by the graduation of point guard Bailey Wolf, guard Madison Helmle and forward Josie Ausloss.


Trepanier commits to wrestle at Lindenwood

Senior Nate Trepanier is not the first Oconto Falls wrestler to continue his career at the collegiate level.

Trepanier, who signed a national letter of intent Nov. 9 to wrestle at Division 2 Lindenwood University in Missouri, has stood out from the rest, as shown in his WIAA Division 2, 145-pound state title run last year in which he did not concede a single point to his three matches opponents in Madison.

“The more a guy comes at you with strength and speed and technicality, the easier he can defeat you it seems,” Oconto Falls head coach Marc Kinziger said. “It’s his uncanny ability to scramble.”

Trepanier is coming off an undefeated season (47-0), which he capped with a 3-0 victory over North Eastern Conference rival Ben Klister, of Wrightstown, in the state title match.


4 Panthers named to NEC’s 2nd team

Photo by Josh Thompson Media
Oconto Falls running back Mac Winkler was one of four Panthers selected to the North Eastern Conference's second-team all-conference.

Oconto Falls walked away from the 2016 football season with four selections to the North Eastern Conference’s second team.

They are running back Mac Winkler, offensive lineman Zachary Lemere, defensive lineman Daniel Ausloos and outside linebacker Dalton Curl.

Ausloos is a junior. The other three Panthers honored are seniors.

Winkler, who finished the season fourth in rushing in the conference with 823 yards, was hampered by an ankle injury until the sixth game of the season.

Lemere helped Oconto Falls gain 91 first downs and 1,788 total offensive yards in eight conference matchups. Those numbers ranked eighth in the nine-team NEC.

The Oconto Falls defense allowed 3,156 yards to North Eastern Conference foes, the highest mark in the league.


Tigers try to keep high expectations in check

Times Herald photo by Chris Caporale
Gillett senior Erin Balthazor looks to find a cutting teammate while working on the swing offense at practice Monday. Balthazor is just one of two seniors on the roster, with center Victoria Loberger being the other.

Last winter, the Gillett girls basketball team got caught looking ahead.

The result: a few extra home losses that didn’t leave head coach Justin Daul too happy.

“If we can just take a schedule and blanket every other part of the schedule except the game that’s at task, and come to that game with a great approach, all of the goals that are in the back of our minds will come to fruition at the end of the year,” Daul said.

Daul hopes to rely on the leadership of his two seniors, point guard Erin Balthazor and center Victoria Loberger, to keep that from happening. Both players were honorable mention selections in M&O all-conference balloting last winter.

The Tigers finished in fourth place in the Marinette & Oconto Conference last season with a 9-7 record. They were 12-12 overall.


Panthers stand tall at state meet

Photo by ATF Media

Oconto Falls High School freshman Evan Roberts sprints to the finish line against Sparta’s Kole Nelson and Notre Dame Academy’s Reid Milton at the state cross-country meet Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids. Roberts was the team’s fifth runner in with a time of 18 minutes, 15 seconds.

For the first time all season, the Oconto Falls cross-country team had four runners finish within 30 seconds of each other.

From the team’s No. 2 runner, Noah Kokko-Ludemann (17 minutes, 45 seconds), to No. 5 Evan Roberts (18:15), the Panthers stayed close enough to take ninth place (227 points) at the Division 2 state meet Saturday at Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.

“That was one thing we talked about. … Because there are so many people in that race, and so many good people in that race, I was concerned about them losing each other,” head coach Lon Ludemann said.

Senior Evan Konitzer (16:55) continued his role as the team’s top runner, placing 29th, but scoring 11 points based on the 18 individual qualifiers who finished ahead of him.

Kokko-Ludemann followed 50 seconds behind Konitzer, leading the pack of Panthers to the finish line. Justan Konitzer (18:06), Brody Schindel (18:12) and Roberts rounded out the scoring for Oconto Falls at 227.


Board approves Gillett’s move to 8-man

Photo by JT Media

Gillett Secondary School is planning on moving to eight-man football next fall.

With enrollment and participation in the high school football program declining, the Gillett School Board approved a proposal on Oct. 20 to move from 11- to eight-man football.

“We feel we should make a transition to eight-man football,” Gillett Secondary School Principal Steve Linssen told the board.

The district needed to decide prior to Nov. 1 to meet a WIAA deadline for next year and to alert the Marinette & Oconto Conference of the plan.

The switch has the support of Gillett’s head football coach, his predecessor and the athletic director.

“Best fit for the program long-term,” coach Steve Andrastek said. “A more viable option.”

Gillett went 0-9 this season and 0-7 in the Marinette & Oconto Conference. The Tigers had qualified for the playoffs in the two previous seasons, including winning a playoff game over Wild Rose in 2014.


2 Panthers chosen to first NEC volleyball team

Oconto Falls High School outside hitters Shelby Coron and Sarah Sprout were named to the all-North Eastern Conference first team this fall.

Coron, a unanimous selection, finished the season with a team-high 470 kills and a .296 hitting percentage. The senior added a team-best 43 aces.

Sprout, a junior, pitched in 244 kills, averaging 2.6 kills per set. Her .247 hitting percentage was third on the team with those over 10 kills.

Bailey Magnin earned second-team honors for the Panthers. The senior libero did the majority of the passing, leading the team in both digs and serve receptions. She had 352 digs and 440 service receptions.

Sprout was second on the team in both categories, and Coron followed in third in both passing categories.

North Eastern Conference

All-Conference Teams

First Team


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