SHOTS from the Hip
Readers of this column will know what boys basketball team stands alone in first place in the Middle Border Conference. Both Prescott and Saint Croix Central entered the week ranked in the top 10 of Division III teams in Wisconsin. Along with a conference rematch at Saint Croix Central on Friday, Feb. 18, resident tournament bracket prognosticators have the two teams tangling a third time in either the regional championship or sectional final.
This Friday Joan Korfhage and the girls basketball team will square off with conference leader Baldwin-Woodville at home in a crucial Middle Border matchup. The Cardinals have won seven of their last eight games and hope to grab a share of the conference lead. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
According to Wisconsin Wrestling Online State Rankings, Prescott junior Benny Olson is listed as Honorable Mention in the 103-pound division and 120-pound senior Alex Iberg is also listed as Honorable Mention. Senior Sam Murphy remains ranked in the top 10 at #9 in the 145pound division. Middle Border Conference Leader Amery with eight wrestlers ranked in the top 10 is the top ranked Division II team in the state.
Without using any kind of scientific polling method, I decided to survey several area veteran WIAA game officials about current and past coaches in western Wisconsin. Questions ranged from game intensity, to respect, or lack thereof, toward game officials. The veteran referees and umpires rattled off names of coaches who were models of sideline decorum and dubbed others who resided on the opposite side of the civility teeter totter. When it comes to respectfulness Spring Valley’s boys basketball coach Rob Bosshardt and former Durand girls basketball coach Jon Pollack received rave reviews for their treatment of officials. Former Bloomer basketball coach Dale Parr was signaled out for his bench intensity, along with former Baldwin-Woodville football coach Wade LaBecki, whose sideline ferocity was legendary. Additionally, coaches who are or were “the most fun” to work their games included boys basketball coach Bill Uelman of Eau Claire Regis, football coach Brad Nemec of Somerset, and softball coach Earl Gunderson of Spring Valley. When it comes to the most difficult coaches to work for? Let’s just keep those close to the vest.
Guard Bella Lenz and the Michigan Tech Huskies enter the week with a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Conference record of 4-1, a half off the pace of league leader Ferris State. Lenz and the Huskies defeated UW-Parkside 93-76 last Tuesday and have crucial league games this week against Wayne State and Saginaw Valley.
Parker Nielsen and the 11th ranked West Texas A& M Buffaloes improved to 16-2 after Saturday’s 79-67 victory over Texas Tyler. The Buffaloes are a half game out of first place in the Lone Star Conference standings with Lubbock Christian holding the top spot.
There wasn’t a lot of skating growing up in Nebraska. Pond hockey was not a thing growing up in the heart of Cornhusker Country. However, when it comes to Minnesota, hockey is both king and queen. Everyone knows about “The State of Hockey” and that ice skates are among the most popular Christmas gifts in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. It’s different here in America’s Dairyland. Sure, there is WIAA sponsored hockey at larger schools and a few others with smaller enrollments. But winter ponds jammed with skaters in rural Wisconsin? You would have a better chance of seeing Bigfoot… or is it? Over the past two years a handful of Prescott alumni have created a private pond in the outskirts of town where Cardinal graduates of the 1990’s lace up their skates. Rumor has it several current high school students don their Bauers at this local ice sheet.
Did you know…When it comes to WIAA State Team Championships Ellsworth has won 10, Baldwin-Woodville 8, Altoona 5, and St. Croix Central 3. Prescott, Osceola, Somerset, and Amery have all won four state titles…Skiing and curling used to be WIAA sponsored sports…In 1946 Reedsville, with a high school enrollment of 87, became the smallest school to win a WIAA State Basketball Championship. At the time the tournament was made up of one class.
Ten members of the Prescott Ice Fishing Team participated in a 42-team Wisconsin state panfish tournament this past weekend. The two five-member teams dropped lines in Lake George in Spring Valley and in Mississippi backwaters near Alma, Wis. One wayward team member mistakenly ended up at the wrong lake, but joined his teammates later in the morning. For the Cardinals, ninth grader Luke Peterson hauled in the first fish of the day, an eight-inch bluegill. Cardinal sophomore Tom Kaeder caught the biggest Prescott fish of the day, landing a 10 ¼ inch perch. The two Prescott teams finished 20th and 32nd on the day with Three Lakes High School winning the tournament. The team is coached by Jason Brazzale, Kyle Schmidt, Joe Linder, and Jon Kinneman. There are 118 schools with fishing teams in the state of Wisconsin.
From the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: The DNR is hosting Free Fishing Weekend Jan. 15-16 to share the fun and excitement of winter fishing. No fishing license or trout and salmon stamps are required. Anglers can fish state waters where there is an open season. All other fishing regulations apply, such as limits on the number and size of fish you can keep and any seasons when you must release certain fish species.
Headshaker of the week: Today 40 of the 50 highest paid public employees in each state are football and basketball coaches. Badger football coach Paul Chryst is the state’s highest public employee with a salary in excess of $4 million. Nick Sabin of Alabama, Dabo Swinney of Clemson, and John Calipari of Kentucky top the list with each making in excess of $9 million a year. That’s a headshaker.