Boys adjust to 24-game season; it’s still better than last year
The schedule is rather unusual for Sheboygan South’s boys basketball team.
The season began with three games in the first four days, including a one-point loss at West Bend West last Tuesday.
The Redwings, who got 19 points from Lukas Ladwig, trailed by 14 points in the second half. They watched the Spartans miss the front-end of a bonus free throw only to miss a nice shot at the end.
“We had a chance to kind of shock them or surprise them at the end,” coach Jesse Shaw said. “We never led the whole game and made two nice comebacks, which I was pleased with.”
Now, South is currently in a nine-day stretch without a game.
After hosting Manitowoc Lutheran on Friday, the Redwings have four games in eight days that ends next Tuesday. Then they are off until Jan. 4, when they play the first of nine games in the month.
“It’s not ideal,” Shaw said. “But when you’re trying to fit in 24 games in a season, and of course you have girls games to deal with, you’ve got to try to balance home and away. They can’t all be home or all away.
“So yeah, it’s a challenge to fit all those games. We’re trying to look at it in a positive way that this could potentially happen in a playoff scenario. You may have some lack of practice time. Or you might have more practice time. So we’re just trying to make it a learning experience, I guess you would say.”
No matter how busy South is, it’s still better than last season when the first eight games were cancelled and the season did not start until Jan. 8 because of the pandemic.
“We’re certainly in a better position this year in that we were able to have a summer, have a fall, have a full offseason and then start practice on time,” Shaw said. “We’re hoping to play all our games this year and last year we played nine games. So we’re really excited about that opportunity, really trying to catch up from all the time we lost last year. And that really set the program back. When you’re trying to rebuild the program and now you don’t start practice on time, you play a very limited amount of games, it not only puts the varsity behind, it puts the whole program back.”
To top it off, the Redwings have six sophomores on the varsity roster.
“I’ve never heard of that in my 20 years of coaching or my time playing,” Shaw said. “We are probably the youngest team in the state of Wisconsin because of that. I’m pretty confident in saying that.”
South has four seniors and one junior, but is still able to have a JV because 12 other sophomores are on that roster.
“If there had to be a year for it to work out, it would be this year,” Shaw said. “But as you can imagine, they’re learning on the fly. You may have one or two sophomores up, but to have six software on a varsity team is really unheard of and uncharted territory. But they’re good kids and they’re willing to get better, and I think they’re just going to improve as the as the season goes along.”