BOYS HOOPS PREVIEW
Boys basketball teams could play as many as 10 games by the time North and South tip off for the first time this season.
Some Fox River Classic Conference rivals started on time while the Golden Raiders and Redwings were delayed some three weeks because of the school district’s pandemic decision.
“We just finished our seventh practice (Wednesday), and I went through and took a look at how many practices we would have through regionals,” North coach Eric Worth said. “We were looking at 35 total, so we’ve just finished 20% of our season (as of last week). So it’s going to go really quick.
“When you haven’t had any opportunity to work with any of the kids … you’re basically starting fresh and spending a lot of time working on basic fundamentals when kids should be coming in ready to rock and roll, and you can kind of implement your philosophies and systems for the year. But we’re spending a lot of time taking care of those other things.”
The first day of practice was Dec. 16 and North does not play until early-to-mid-January.
“Then we had Christmas Break and were off three days,” Worth said. “Then we’ll be back in the gym for four and then you’ve got New Year’s so we’re off again for three days. On top of it, kids are getting used to wearing a mask to get up and down the floor. That was very noticeable and we were struggling early on.
“But I think we’ve proven we can do this safely and not worry about kids getting sick of they’re following protocols. We’ve been doing a really nice job of that thus far.”
North and South will play 10 regular-season games, all against league opponents.
The Golden Raiders finished 8-15 last season after going 18-6 in 2018-’19, and their lone all-conference pick, Turner Kraus (honorable mention) graduated.
“Just trying to wrap your head around everything, it’s tough to do,” Worth said. “Trying to keep them positive with everything, too, is a challenge. It’s fun to get back in the gym. It’s been way too long.”
Key players for North are seniors Devin Schieble and Will Robinson, along with sophomore Max Tutas.
Schieble started last year but had to deal with a couple of illnesses.
“His junior year was completely shot,” Worth said. “He’s going to be a huge contributor for us.”
Marcell Drone is no longer in Josh Govek’s shadow.
The senior defensive specialist made second-team all-conference last season by averaging a league-best 11 rebounds. His 15.1 points ranked second on the team.
The lead belonged to Govek, a four-year varsity player who earned WBCA Division 1 all-state honorable mention and finished as the school’s all-time leading scorer.
“To some degree it goes without saying,” coach Jesse Shaw said. “But I’ve talked to him about it, I’ve talked to the team about it, everybody’s on the same page that our defense is going to kind of revolve around him and his skill set of defending, blocking shots, altering shots. Sometimes people don’t even take shots when they come near him.
“And then likewise offensively. The team knows he’s going to have to touch the ball at least once every possession – if not more than that.”
UW-La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh, UW-South and UW-Superior have contacted the coach about Drone.
“First and foremost, defense,” Shaw said. “I think this year you can add offense to that as well. He has the potential to be a force on both ends of the floor. … A double-double as a junior is pretty nice. He’ll have to take the next step and there’ll be more focus on him from all of our opponents, especially now that our point guard and South’s all-time leading scorer graduated last year.
“There’s going to be a ton of focus on Marcell Drone.”
The four other likely starters include senior Dylan Timm, who scored 4.8 points per game last year. Juniors Lukas Ladwig, Alex Kaffine and Jacob Leonhard will fills the other spots.