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Defending champion Waterford appears tough to beat

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Gazette Staff
December 10, 2010

It isn’t unanimous, but it’s close.


Waterford High school is the coaches’ consensus pick to repeat as Southern Lakes Conference boys basketball champion.


“You’ve got to knock off the king to take the crown,” Delavan-Darien coach Bob Beighton said.


The Wolverines ruled with an iron hand last year, going 14-0 to capture the crown by an overwhelming four games.


The competition certainly would hope to narrow the gap this season. In fact, at least one coach is picking Burlington to overtake Waterford.


Westosha Central also has its sights set on a high finish, and Elkhorn may be performing at a higher level than some—including Elks coach John Handel—expected.


All told, it may come down to everybody getting healthy. Delavan-Darien has been without star guard Justin Fowlkes, who is recovering a football season that carried the Comets to the WIAA state semifinals, and Wilmot has been playing without injured junior standout Chris Nelson.


“When you get into January and everybody is at full strength, you’ll have a better idea,” said Beighton, whose Comets reached the Division 2 sectional semifinals last season before falling to Madison Edgewood in the closing seconds.


Waterford, Elkhorn and Union Grove have gotten off to a 1-0 start in the conference season, and key game comes up tonight when the Wolverines visit Burlington.


The overall prospects look like this:


SOUTHERN LAKES BOYS BADGER

Head coach: Tom Dummer, second year (8-19).


2009-10 record: 7-17, 3-11 in Southern Lakes (seventh place).


Last conference title: 2007-08 (Lakeshore).


Key losses: Justin Bowers, All-Southern Lakes second team, 18 ppg; Preston Dailey, all-conference second team, 18 ppg; Laramie Wieseman, all-conference honorable mention, 10 ppg; Clint Andresen, 4 ppg; Nate Meinen, 2 ppg.


Returning starters: None.


Letter winners: Will Swanson (5-9, sr.), Brendan Gruenwald-Schmitz (5-10, sr.), Bobby Lamparek (6-1, sr.), Trevor York (6-0, sr.).


Other likely contributors: Mike McBride (5-11, sr.), Matric Kotula (5-10, sr.), Colton Andresen (5-10, soph.), Jacob Growel (5-10, fr.).


So far this season: 1-2, 1-1 (lost to Sussex Hamilton, 59-47, NC: def. Delavan-Darien, 53-43; lost to Waterford, 58-47).


Season outlook: Young and inexperienced are the best words to describe the Badgers, who are just a short ways removed from a 2008 trip to the WIAA Division 1 state tournament. Dummer was delighted with his players’ off-season commitment, but now it’s a matter of making for the loss of about 90 percent of last season’s scoring.


BURLINGTON

Head coach: Steve Berezowitz, 16th year (140-170).


2009-10 record: 18-7, 10-4 in Southern Lakes (second place).


Last conference title: 2008-09 (Southeast North Division).


Key losses: Keith Vogt, All-Southern Lakes second team,7.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg; Tell Taylor, all-conference honorable mention, 5.2 ppg.


Returning starters: Travis Crayton (6-5, sr.), 13.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg; Gabe Chavarria (6-3, sr.), 7.2 ppg, 5 rpg; Russ Robers (5-10, sr.), 6 ppg.


Other letter winners: Mike Eulgen (6-1, sr.), George Weidert (5-11, sr.), Ben Burling (6-6, sr), Eric Gerber (6-4, jr).


Other likely contributors: Nick Reda (6-2, jr.), Dexter Spieker (6-0, jr.), Tim Peterson (6-2, jr.), Zach Oldenburg (6-3, jr.), Alex Oldenburg (6-0, jr).


So far this season: 1-1, 0-0 (lost to Waukesha West, 60-50, NC; def. Racine Horlick, 70-48, NC).


Season outlook: Burlington is the consensus pick for second place in the Southern Lakes. Berezowitz likes his team’s backcourt experience, and Crayton gives the Demons one of the conference’s top returning scorers.


DELAVAN-DARIEN

Head coach: Bob Beighton, 14th year (165-127).


2009-10 record: 215-10, 9-5 in Southern Lakes (third place).


Last conference title: 2003-04.


Key losses: Tyler Butke, Southern Lakes Co-Player of the Year, 20 ppg, 8 rpg); Josh Cesarz, 4 ppg; Riley Scott, 3 ppg.


Returning starters: Justin Fowlkes (5-9, sr.), all-conference second team, 14 ppg; Marcus McLin (5-8, sr.), all-conference honorable mention.


Other letter winners: Raheem Heidelburg (5-11, sr.), Steve Lee (6-4, sr.).


Other likely contributors: Rickey Wojokowski (5-10, sr.), Danny Supernow (6-3, soph.), Justin Held (6-0, jr), Bryce Hembrook (6-2, jr.), Eric Polzin (6-2, sr.).


So far this season: 0-4, 0-2 (lost to Janesville Parker, 70-50, NC; Lakeside Lutheran, 78-48, NC; Lake Geneva Badger, 53-43; Union Grove, 59-39).


Season outlook: Delavan-Darien has the tough task of making up for the loss of a big and strong front line, which was led by Butke, who scored between 21 and 36 points in seven conference games. The Comets also have been playing without Fowlkes, one of the conference’s best athletes, who is recooperating from a long and productive all-state football season. He is expected back after Christmas.


“We’re very young, and we’re learning,” Beighton said. “The kids are practicing hard, and eventually we’ll get there.”


ELKHORN

Head coach: John Handel, 14th year (191-104).


2009-10 record: 9-14, 5-9 in Southern Lakes (sixth place).


Last conference title: 2008-09.


Key loss: Skyler O’Laughlin, All-Southern Lakes second team, 15 ppg, 11 rpg.


Returning starters: Ryan Bowes (5-10, sr.), all-conference honorable mention, 6 ppg; Brock Poggensee (5-11, sr.), 7 ppg, 3 apg; Hayden Forrestal (6-0, sr.), 4 ppg; Kyle Majewski (6-2, jr.).


Other letter winners: Danny Dessent (5-11, jr.), Kyle Hoskins (6-6, sr.).


Other likely contributors: Seth Koepnick (5-10, sr.), Brent Newman (6-2, jr.).


So far this season: 3-1, 1-0 (def. Fort Atkinson, 45-40, NC; lost to Stevens Point, 50-43, NC; def Waukesha North, 54-46, NC; Wilmot, 48-44).


Season outlook: Handel had some uncertainty to start the season, the but veteran coach is pleased with his team’s 3-1 start. The Elks have to get along without the towering presence of the 6-10 O’Laughlin, a three-year starter, but overall experience signals a definite upswing from last year’s second-division finish—probably placing Elkhorn in a battle for third place, or better.


UNION GROVE

Head coach: David Pettit, 16th year (131-195)


2009-10 record: 12-13, 7-7 in Southern Lakes (tied with Westosha Central for fourth place).


Last conference title: 2006-07 (Lakeshore).


Key losses: Nathan Radke, All-Southern Lakes first team, 16 ppg; Caleb Beachem, all-conference honorable mention, 11 ppg, 8 rpg; Ben Roettgen, 6 ppg.


Returning starters: Brennan Johnson (6-4, sr.), 7.4 ppg, 7 rpg); Matt Wolff (5-8, jr.), 3.3 ppg.


Other letter winners: Joe Bianchi (6-1, sr.), Cody McClelland (6-3, sr.), Kevin Veltus (5-10, sr.), Trevor Welch (5-8, sr.), Matt Wolff (5-8, jr.), Brett Van Vreede 6-0, jr.).


Other likely contributors: Grayson Catania (6-2, jr.), Bradley Ostrowski (6-2, soph.), Matt Hernden (5-11, jr), Trevor Johnson (6-5, jr.).


So far this season: 2-0, 1-0 (def. Greendale Martin Luther, 66-46, NC: Delavan-Darien, 58-39).


Season outlook: Speed, athleticism and seven experienced players make Union Grove a strong prospect to move up in the Southern Lakes standings. Pettit likes his team’s chemistry but is concerned about the Broncos’ lack of size.


WATERFORD

Head coach: Mickel Mala, eight year (79-76).


2009-10 record: 20-4, 14-0 in Southern Lakes (first place).


Last conference title: 2009-10.


Key losses: Beau Steffens, Southern Lakes Co-Player of the Year, 16.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg; Tommy Vaccaro, all-conference honorable mention, 9.3 ppg; Jordan Chart, 5 ppg; Alex Cicano, 4 ppg.


Returning starters: Joe Sturino (6-0, sr.), all-conference first team, 12.7 ppg, 4 rpg; Brent Plantz (6-4, sr.), all-conference honorable mention, 11.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg) .


Other letter winners: Zach Fisher (6-0, jr), Keith Knurr (6-1, sr.), Greg Steffens (6-0, jr.), Chandler Fry (6-4, sr.).


Other likely contributor: Jake Steffens (5-10, jr).


So far this season: 2-0, 1-0 (def. West Allis Hale, 51-40, NC; Lake Geneva Badger, 58-47).


Season outlook: Waterford is a near-unanimous favorite to repeat as Southern Lakes champion after taking the title by an overwhelming four games last season. The Wolverines suffered a key loss in the graduation of Steffens, but they still have Sturino in the backcourt to lead their title bid.


WESTOSHA CENTRAL

Head coach: Brent Mansky, fifth year (30-60)


2009-10 record: 9-15, 7-7 in Southern Lakes (tied with Union Grove for fourth place).


Last conference title: 1995-96 (Southern Lakes East co-champion with Waterford).


Key losses: Dustin Milz, All-Southern Lakes honorable mention, 12.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg; Erik Richter, 5.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg; Spencer McCoy, 7.6 ppg.


Returning starters: Austin Damaschke (6-1, sr.), 7.6 ppg; Dalton Sjong, (6-3, jr), 5.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg, coming off ACL surgery.


Other letter winners: Mike Michelau (6-2, jr.), 6.6 ppg; Tyler Stoxen, 6-0, soph.), Uzzel McDermott (6-2), sr.


Other likely contributors: Sam Cavener (6-4, jr.), Dustin Sjong (6-5, jr).


So far this season: 1-1, 0-0 (lost to Kenosha Bradford, 49-31, NC; def. West Bend East, 52-38, NC).


Season outlook: Central is regarded as a likely first-division pick. The Falcons’ strength appears to be guard play, overall athleticism and experience of multi-year players, with rebounding the No. 1 concern. Central also has been set back by the loss of Michelau, a third-year varsity player, from injuries in a car accident.


WILMOT

Head coach: Terry Bruton, fourth year (12-57).


2009-10 record: 5-18, 1-13 in Southern Lakes (eighth place).


Last conference title: 1993-94 (Southern Lakes East).


Key loss: Landon Tenhagen, 10.2 ppg.


Returning starters: Jay Christian (6-3, sr.), 5.4 ppg; Grant Dull (5-7, jr.), 10.7 ppg; Brendon Hayden (6-5, sr.), 7.1 ppg; Chris Nelson (6-3, jr.), 13.8 ppg.


Other letter winners: Austin Ahler (5-10, sr.), Matt Betz (6-0, jr.), Payten Dull (5-11, sr.), Travis Ketterhagen (5-10, sr.), Ty Singleton (6-0, sr).


Other likely contributors: Ken Etterno (6-0, jr.), James Rawlins (5-11, jr.).


So far this season: 0-4, 0-1 (lost to Kenosha Tremper, 69-57, NC; Kenosha Bradford, 61-46, NC: Watertown, 61-43, NC: Elkhorn, 48-44).


Season outlook: The Panthers have an abundance of experience in their bid to move up the Southern Lakes standings, but they’re hurt by the present absence of injured Chris Nelson, one of the conference’s top athletes.



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