By Dave Boehler
Beacon Sports Editor
Megan Glewen, Molly Peterson and Mike Scheele are not bothered.
The Sheboygan Lutheran girls basketball players and their coach know the Crusaders’ boys team deserves all of the headlines.
After all, they did win a state championship last year and are currently the top-ranked Division 5 team in Wisconsin.
“I don’t think we’re really jealous or have any problems with it,” said Peterson, a senior caption. “We view it as another way that our school can show out in the community that even though we are a small school, we can still be very good in our athletics. And I think maybe if our girls aren’t even the best team, that we can look at them and see that we can work toward something.”
Glewen, another senior captain, agrees.
“I don’t feel left out because they are really successful and we are here to support them if they’re doing good or bad,” she said. “So I don’t feel like we are left out at all.”
The girls were 9-15 last year and 1-4 entering their game Saturday, so Scheele understands why the spotlight is on the boys.
“The boys are a fun basketball team to watch,” he said. “We’re very blessed to have some incredible athletes that get up and down that court, that can shoot, that can rebound. Absolutely, it’s something we always look at and aspire to ‘how can we do some of the same things that they’re doing on and off the court? How can we continue to support them in everything that they’re doing?’
“And I think it’s really kind of cool for the girls, as well as Sheboygan Lutheran High, when the boys keep moving (on in the playoffs) and the crowds the boys get. And the support they get. That’s kind of second-to-none for a small school. It’s really neat to be a part of that.”
Scheele, his assistants and the rest of his team were in Madison to watch Lutheran win state in March.
Peterson was there to have more than just fun.
“I think it definitely did help motivate me and helped me see that when you work hard for something – I’m not saying we aren’t working hard – but that hard work pays off and we can do something great,” she said.
Glewen watches boys games and notices how fast and aggressive they are, and how they all have certain roles and play together.
“That’s something I look at and see that I would like to do more of on our team,” she said.
Scheele has watched the boys in recent years to see how he could improve his own team.
This year, he’s tweaked and monitored his pressure defense a little bit more, and a couple of nuances have been added on inbounds plays. Some of the drills the boys use in practices have been incorporated by the girls, as well.
“We will reference those particular events with the girls in an opportunity again to keep us learning,” Scheele said. “We do a lot of that as well with teams that we play. Maybe there was something that somebody did really well or maybe they’re just playing some really good defense and that’s where we want to try to up our game to.”
Scheele says both programs support each other, adding he and boys coach Nick Verhagen are very blessed to be at Lutheran and have ann“extremely tight” relationship.
“The relationship we have really stems into both of our programs,” Scheele said. “We both constantly encourage that the boys and the girls support each other. We support each other from a coaching staff perspective. We will text each other on game days and wish each other the best, and we use social media as well to do that. So that support that we have from a total program I think really for me is something I cherish at Lutheran and appreciate daily.”
Both programs often do things together, whether it is going to different churches in the area or assisting with the Special Olympics that are held at Sheboygan South.
“That has been an extremely rewarding partnership for us as coaches and as well as players,” Scheele said. “I think that’s always nice when you can give back to the community, and I think both programs have done a great job of partnering up.”
Although there’s no jealously or feelings of “being left out”, there are some times the girls wish they had as many fans watching their games as the boys do.
Scheele knows it is a little harder to get people to his games and calls it one of the more challenging things, but it isn’t only a problem at Lutheran.
“The girls work very hard in practice and I think it’s always neat when you got to a game to see fans in the stands,” Scheele said. “Whether that’s parents or siblings or student sections. The boys draw really well – as they should being state champions – but the girls program is a little bit tougher sell to get a nice crowd there.”
Scheele hopes there can be more games where the girls play before the boys in the same gym on the same night.
It happened Dec. 10 at Kohler and the coach says that was the first time in the 10 years he’s been at Lutheran.
“It was really nice from a fan’s perspective,” Scheele said. “ It was nice to see the support.”
But for now, the girls are using the boys success as motivation because athletes always want to compete at the highest level, according to Scheele.
“Ultimately that’s every team’s goal: how do we get to play in that last game (at state)?” he said. “That is absolutely a drive I think we all have. At the same time, I think you’re always cognisant of the bigger goal of ‘what are we learning along the way and how can we apply that to life after our season is over or our high school career is over?’ “So those are some of the lessons that we’re also trying to incorporate.”
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