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UW-Rock basketball enters new era

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November 7, 2007
— JANESVILLE

Scott Lee is eager to prove a two-for-one deal is a good bargain for the UW-Rock County men’s and women’s basketball programs.


Lee agreed last June to coach both UW-Rock teams.


For the men, Lee will attempt to return the Rattlers to winning ways after a disastrous 2006-07 season. UW-Rock was the 2005-06 Wisconsin Collegiate Conference champion.


Lee replaces John Livsey, who was the WCC Coach of the Year in ’06.


On the women’s side, Lee will lead a fledgling program that played a club schedule last season. He replaces Paul Saevre, who is Orfordville Parkview’s new boys basketball coach.


Lee was as an assistant men’s coach at Beloit College last season. A health teacher at Janesville Parker High School, Lee was Parker’s boys basketball coach from 2002-06.


In season openers last Saturday, the UW-Rock men lost 119-53 to UW-Waukesha, and the women lost 97-54 to Waukesha.


“Waukesha is the strongest competition we will see in the conference all year,” Lee said. “It will be interesting to see how we do the next time we meet, just to gage our progress.’’


The UW-Rock men host UW-Baraboo at 7 tonight.


The men’s team started out with nine players last season and expected 11 for the second semester, but the number fell to seven at the end of the season.


Lee has built the men’s roster to 16 players, with 6-foot Jared Amundson of Orfordville Parkview, 6-0 Nate Arnold from Oakhill Christian and 6-3 David Rasmussen from Janesville Craig returning.


After taking the Rattler coaching jobs, Lee hit the recruiting trail hard to rebuild the men’s roster.


“I got on the phone and started calling people,” he said. “Fortunately, on the men’s side, I had some connections with coaches. We found some interest.’’


Amundson, Arnold, Rasmussen, 6-2 freshman Josh Cornelison of Janesville Parker and 6-2 freshman Ryan Naatz of Orfordville Parkview are the Rattlers’ starters. Rasmussen scored 18 points against Waukesha, while Naatz had 11.


“All 16 kids played. They all played about the same amount of time, and so far the response has been pretty good,’’ Lee said.


Lee has the men’s team playing wide-open, “fun-and-gun” basketball.


“It’s a high-risk game we are playing,” Lee said. “If they execute our game plan, it’s high reward, and it’s fun.’’


Slower pace for women


While Lee is letting the men put the pedal down, the Rattlers’ women’s program is working at a slower pace, playing half-court basketball.


“The more they acclimate themselves as a team, I think the girls are going to be all right,” Lee said. “I think the men will get better in a hurry, but it will be very gradual for the women.’’


Lee was hoping to run both programs the same, but a smaller women’s turnout changed the plan.


“I thought I was going to have enough women to run the same system as the men,” Lee said. “That’s the biggest challenge, but we are basically treating them the same.’’


There are nine women on the Rattlers’ roster. Three starters are second-year players, including 5-7 Kelsey Kersten from Orfordville Parkview, 5-9 Sarah Lancour from Janesville Parker and 5-10 Morgan Rucks from Evansville.


Also starting is 5-10 freshman Kaylyn Sherrod from Beloit Turner and 5-6 freshman Kassandra Kane of Elkhorn.


The women’s roster also includes 5-10 sophomore Trista Beach from Fort Atkinson, 5-4 freshman Ericka Bue from Milton, 5-7 freshman Holli Dailey of Beloit Turner and 5-7 freshman Nicole Hunter of Turner.


Lancour scored 17 points against Waukesha, and Kane added 16.


Given time, Lee thinks the men’s and the women’s programs will be successful.


“I just feel so optimistic about the basketball program here,” Lee said. “And that has nothing to do with winning and losing. It has to do with a program that people want to be a part of and have a lot of fun.


“I think we’re going to put a program on the floor that will be entertaining,’’ Lee said.


The UW-Rock men’s and women’s schedule:


NOVEMBER: 7—UW-Baraboo (men). 10—At UW Barron. 14—Milwaukee Tech. 26—UW Fond du Lac. 28—UW-Richland.


DECEMBER: 1—UW-Marshfield, 1 p.m., 3 p.m. 3—At Wisconsin Tech. 8—At UW-Marathon. 12—At MATC.


JANUARY: 5—At UW-Marinette. 9—UW-Waukesha (men), 6 p.m. 12—At UW-Marshfield (men). At UW-Manitowoc (women). 15—At UW-Baraboo (men). 21—Wisconsin Tech, 6 p.m., 8 p.m. 26—At UW-Fond du Lac. 28—UW-Washington. 30—At UW-Richland.


FEBRUARY: 2—UW-Marathon, 1 p.m., 3 p.m. 9—UW-Barron, 1 p.m., 3 p.m. 11—UW-Fox Valley, 6 p.m., 8 p.m. 15-16—WCC finals. 18—WJCAA regionals. 20—WJCAA semifinals. 23-24—WJCAA championship.


n Unless indicated, women’s home games begin at 5 p.m. and men’s home games start at 7.




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