MILTON

It is hard to talk about Milton basketball without mentioning the name Campion.

Abbie Campion is a senior on the girls basketball team, while her brother Jack Campion is a sophomore in the boys program.

Both lead their teams in scoring. Both lead their teams in assists. And both have left—and continue to leave—permanent marks on the Milton hoops programs.

For Abbie, that has been a slow and steady progression. She averaged 5.5 points per game her first two years and jumped up to 9.3 points per game as a junior. This season, Abbie is averaging a team-high 14.8 points per game, which is third best in the Badger South Conference.

The process has been a little quicker for Jack.

After making the Badger South’s second team as a freshman—scoring 12.9 points per game and leading the conference in assists with 6.5 per game—Jack has upped his game even more in his second season.

He entered Friday leading the conference in scoring at 20.4 points per game and has the boys program on track for its best season in over a decade.

Abbie isn’t all that shocked with how quickly Jack has figured things out at the high school level.

“I wasn’t surprised whatsoever,” Abbie said. “I love watching him play. I went to all of his AAU tournaments, and he stood out even playing against some of the best teams in the state.”

While their trajectories to their great 2019-2020 seasons have differed, they have arrived here thanks to similar qualities.

Both agreed they see themselves in each other’s game. Jack said their love to compete is one of their most important attributes.

“I would say leadership is another one,” he said. “We want to make everyone around us better and do what we have to do to win.”

Jack doesn’t only want to make everyone around him better, he is making everyone around him better.

Even when he scored a career-high 39 points against Monroe on Jan. 16, his belief in his teammates was evident. With a career night going, he made a habit out of finding open shooters and cutters.

He finished with 11 assists in that game.

“Just the trust he has in his teammates is second to none,” Milton boys basketball coach Alex Olson said. “It’s something I’ve actually learned a little bit from him is just that belief.

“He’s contagious. His attitude, his effort, his work ethic is rubbing off on his teammates. It’s making our program into something special.”

And “special” isn’t a word that would have been used to describe the Milton boys basketball program a few years ago. Milton hasn’t had a winning season since 2007-2008 and won a combined seven games the last four years combined—including a winless season in 2017-2018.

This year, the Red Hawks are 8-7.

“He’s sort of turned the whole program around,” Abbie said. “He pushes everyone on his team to the best they can be. I see him at practice, he’s the first one to pick someone up.”

The impact Abbie has had on the girls program is equally influential.

She helped Milton to a pair of sectional finals her first three seasons, but her impact goes behind tournament runs.

Milton girls basketball coach Stacy Skemp said Abbie is a player who will run through a wall if you ask her to and has been a lead-by-example teammate.

“She’s helped set a legacy for Milton girls basketball, what it means to be a true teammate,” Skemp said. “She’s set the program up for success in the future. There are a lot of little girls in the Milton community that look up to her, and her teammates do to.”

Both Campions have also had an impact on other Milton sports programs—Abbie in girls soccer and Jack in football and baseball, the latter of which reached a WIAA Division 1 sectional final game last spring.

Part of what motivates the siblings is the weight their last name carries. Their dad, Dennis Campion, was a Milton Area Athletic Hall of Fame inductee in 2006. Abbie and Jack also had sisters, Kylie and Halie, that went to Milton.

“I think it (carrying on the Campion name) is super important, because our dad left a big mark on Milton,” Abbie said. “To keep that respected image is important to him and ourselves.”

Jack added: “I remember my dad telling me his freshman year was the only year Milton had gone to state (boys basketball). I just want to carry on and be the next one. It’s just motivating.”

While Abbie and Jack have their fair share of fans in the Milton community, their biggest fans might be each other.

Abbie said she has to go to Jack’s games.

“I don’t want to miss a single thing,” she said. “You never know when he’s going to have another 39-point game. I want to be there for every milestone.”

For Jack, he knows his big sister won’t always be nearby.

“It’s her senior year; I don’t know how many more games I’ll get to watch her,” Jack said. “I just love watching her compete.”

And while Dennis is proud of the way his kids have worked and how they have been great teammates, watching them support each other unconditionally, he said, is one of his favorite things to see.

“On road games, it’s Jack leading the student section and trying to be as loud as possible,” Dennis Campion said. “He has total support for Abbie and it’s vice versa. Abbie is always in the front row supporting Jack.

“They both have the biggest hearts out there. When we got into this we had one goal in mind: to make Milton High School sports the best it could be.”

The Campions can consider that goal reached.

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