There were all sorts of interesting season-opening basketball games in Sheboygan, from a new coach winning her first game to a senior scoring the most points he’s ever had.
It all started Nov. 19, when the South girls gave up the first 10 points but rallied for a 56-45 victory at Plymouth in Ellyn Hansen’s debut as Redwings’ coach.
Halle Boldt and Bjondina Bushi each scored 15 points to snap a three-game losing streak to the Panthers in opening games.
Three days later, South improved to 2-0 – it won one game last year – thanks to a 54-22 victory at Green Bay East, as Maddie Ognacevic grabbed 10 rebounds to go with nine points.
Last year, South got off to an 0-17 start and did not get its win until Feb. 5.
A third victory for the Redwings would be their most in a season since 2015-’16.
Career high for Ognacevic: Playing their first game since winning the Division 5 state championship, Lutheran’s Jacob Ognacevic and Casey Verhagen combined for 71 points in a 92-55 victory over Hustisford last Tuesday.
Ognacevic finished with a career-best 45 points, which ranks fourth all-time in school history (Sam Dekker holds the top three spots, including the record of 58 points) and surpasses his previous high of 40 set last Jan. 12. The Valparaiso recruit shot 18 for 28 from the floor, made all six free throws and grabbed 18 rebounds.
Verhagen also tallied a personal-best 26 points thanks to 11-for-22 shooting. He added seven assists, four steals and four rebounds.
“I think that Hustisford prepared all week to stop the two of them, and I think it proves the level ‘JO’ and Casey are playing at right now,” Crusaders’ coach Nick Verhagen said. “We played the game at our tempo, our pace, both offensively and defensively. Our game plan played out almost perfectly.”
Defensively, Robby Michael held Dylan Schmidt to just five points, including none in the second half, after he averaged 19 points per game last year.
Hansen on fire, too: Lutheran’s Danica Hansen was 7 for 10 from the field, including 3 for 6 from three-point range, for 17 points in her team’s 45-34 Game 1 win over Living Word Lutheran on Nov. 22.
The Crusaders’ were actually supposed to open the season three days earlier, but Hustisford had to postpone the contest. The make-up date is Jan. 14.
Take a break: The unusual thing about the North boys dropping their first game by eight points to Fond du Lac last Tuesday is they are off until next Tuesday – a span of 13 days.
“It’s pretty crazy playing this early in the season,” Golden Raiders’ coach Eric Worth said. “There are so many stones unturned for both teams at this point and we have a long ways to go.”
Don’t forget about us: Basketball teams were not the only ones with noteworthy starts to their season.
The Sheboygan co-op hockey squad won its first two games by a total score of 17-1.
The Red Raiders opened with a 5-0 victory over Appleton Nov. 22 thanks to 10 saves from Maclane Schick and two goals apiece from Tyler Sunagel and Blake Allen.
They beat Oshkosh, 12-1, the next day as Brock Bulkow recorded a hat trick. Sunagel and Caleb Gauthier each scored twice as well.