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All-State midfielder Sarah Knopp flies under the radar for nationally ranked Lancers

ALL-STATE MIDFIELDER SARAH KNOPP 
FLIES UNDER THE RADAR FOR
NATIONALLY RANKED LANCERS

Brookfield Central senior Sarah Knopp didn't like soccer growing up. Three All-Greater Metro Conference honors and one All-State selection later she obviously changed her mind.

Knopp is a midfielder on the nationally-ranked Lancers and defending state champions. But her love of soccer took time to develop.

"It was my least favorite sport growing up," said Sarah, who started playing when she was 6 years old. "I was really bad (at soccer). I also was in gymnastics, track and volleyball - I loved volleyball and I wanted to stick with that."

But then the summer before high school, Knopp got up at 6 a.m. every morning and worked out in her yard.

"I practiced everything from touches to volleying against the brick wall. I worked on my moves. I remember I tore up my whole yard."

Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotosLLC --- Senior Sarah Knopp is a 3-time All-Greater Metro Conference selection and a first-team All-State member.

So why the change of heart?

"After I started practicing I got better, so it became more enjoyable," she said. "When I was bad, it just wasn't fun. Soccer was more fun when I got to high school."

Lancers head coach Dan Makal saw Sarah perform during a soccer camp the summer before her freshman year.

"Seeing Sara play was impressive because she could do a lot of things a lot of girls on our (high school) team weren't capable of doing," Makal said. "We knew her freshman year she was going to be really good. She showed up at all the open gyms and was dominant in open gyms.

"Watching her play, I thought we could actually change some stuff that we do. There would be a learning curve because to take that many freshmen (Emma Staszkiewicz, Brandi Thomsen were also in the class, among others) at a school like this ... having them at such an early age and change what the long-term perspective was going to be … we figured we could do different stuff. So having players with really good ability, who knew how to play the game, plus their technical work was really good and we could change some of the things we could do."

When Sarah’s having a (good) game, she’s enjoying herself and it’s contagious. There’s a vibe and she gets everybody’s clicking.”

---Coach Dan Makal

The Lancers, who are 7-0 this year through May 1, are 47-5-8 in Knopp's time at Central. They were 15-2-2 in 2017, 15-0-3 in 2016 and 10-3-3 in 2015.  In conference play, they finished co-champs with Divine Savior Holy Angels (5-1-1) her freshman and sophomore years (6-0-1). Then they won the conference title in her junior years (6-0-1), giving the Lancers a 17-1-3 GMC record in her three years on the varsity.

They then outscored their post-season foes, 18-0, to win the state title last spring, their first since 2005.

Sarah talked about her key role with the Lancers.

"I get the ball from the defenders and either distribute or switch the field," she said. "I play dangerously and see the attackers. My role in general is fun, but when you have talent like I have playing next to me, you look better, it makes the whole team look better. We're successful, which makes it even more fun."

Thomsen and Knopp were first-team all-state last year and Staszkiewicz was honorable mention last year and first team two years ago, so Makal is blessed with talent. Then there is Jenny Cape, who will be playing at Division 1 University of Iowa. Cape had 3 goals and an assist in the state tournament. This is a very talented senior class.

Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotosLLC --- Sarah Knopp and the Lancers are nationally ranked and No. 1 in Wisconsin. They have a target on their back, but Knopp feels that helps keep them focused.

When asked about Knopp's strengths, Makal had an interesting answer.

"Her sense of humor - that's paramount," Makal said. "On the field, her work ethic is incredible. I find myself sometimes backing off a little bit because I want to ask her for more just because I know she's capable of giving more. You don't ask that to a lot of kids all the time.

"Her ability to lead by being a positive role model all the time. She plays with a lot of intensity. She plays with a lot of knowledge of what should happen and she's always willing to learn.

"People who are competing with her, well she's in a different class. There aren't a lot of kids who can perform at her level consistently across the state. She can make an elite pass and just break a team down.”

With Staszkiewicz (14 goals, 1 assist, 29 points) and Thomsen (8-5-21) doing most of the scoring, Knopp (5-4-14) is the Lancers main playmaker.

"Last year after 10 games, she was leading the state in assists," Makal pointed out. "Yet other girls behind her had played 5-10 more games. She is excellent at distributing the ball."

Makal, when asked what Sarah needs to work on, thought a minute before answering.

"I would like to see her run the ball back faster," he said. "Also her decision making - get the ball out quicker to a more advance position. I always say (passing) the ball is faster than you can run. Your brain is faster. You think faster and need to see the pass before it happens."

Makal talked about Sarah's leadership role.

"When Sarah's having a (good) game, she's enjoying herself and it's contagious," he said. "There's a vibe and she gets everybody's clicking.

"You can't have everyone be a captain. But if there is a meeting of leadership, Sarah's in that conversation. I don't know how to replace her next year."

Sarah shared her thoughts on leadership.

"Being a senior you know that all the freshmen, sophomores and younger people are looking up to you, no matter what you do," she said. "You have to set a good example. It's inevitable, you have to be a good leader. You're setting the stage of what the future program will be. It's very important.

"And I like to bring a sense of humor, some positivity to this game."

Makal agreed with that last statement, when asked about Sarah off the soccer field.

"She's a great student, but unpredictable," he laughed. "You never know what will come out of her mouth. Maybe something funny, a joke, but she is usually involved. Maybe putting someone else up to it, but she is always behind it."

Knopp needs that sense of humor, because the Lancers have a target on their back every game.

"It is a lot of pressure (national ranking), but it's keeps you in the right place (mentally) because each game is a big game, because everyone wants to beat us."

                        HANGING WITH SARAH KNOPP

  • FAVORITE FOOD:   Shrimp Alfredo
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:   Pop
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:  'Tommy Boy,'  Scary movies
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:   'That 70's Show'
  • FAVORITE CLASS:   Latin
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:   Jamaica
  • WHAT YOU DO TO RELAX:  Tandem bike with Jenny Cape, listen to music
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:   Divine Savior Holy Angels
  • MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:   Winning state as a junior
  • WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE:   Attend University of Wisconsin, try out for varsity or play club soccer. Undecided on her major  

Packers need some luck in the draft

It will be interesting to see how truly aggressive Packer GM Brian Gutekunst will be in this week’s NFL Draft. Here are some thoughts on what the first-year GM is facing.

SORRY, BRIAN
Based on all the draft prep I have read, I don’t think the following players will be there (whether the Packers wanted them or not – i.e. the quarterbacks).
QB: Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield
RB: Saquon Barkley
OL: Quenton Nelson
DE: Bradley Chub
DL: Vita Vea
LB: Roquan Smith, Tremaine Edmunds
DB: Denzel Ward, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Derwin James.

Do the numbers – that’s 13 guys and the Packers’ pick 14th.

THOUGHTS: Unless another quarterback is taken – a possible trade up – those are the difference-makers in my mind. If something unexpected were to happen, I think Vea, Fitzpatrick or Edmunds might slip to 14. But Gutekunst needs some luck there.

PACKERS PICK POSSIBILITIES: In the order of how I like them – Edge Harold Landry, the only guy in my opinion, who is not a reach here. Edge Marcus Davenport (great potential, but weak competition), a workout warrior (?) and defensive backs Mike Hughes or Josh Jackson would be next. I would be pleased with Landry and I could easily live with the other three.

TRADE THOUGHTS: Gutekunst could be aggressive and trade up, but should only do that for Chubb (would have to give up too much), Smith or the DBs. But the steep price is the key.

TOO MANY DRAFT CHOICES: I have heard experts say “Gutekunst won’t use all 12 picks.” Why not? Because the Packers have so few holes to fill? Give me a break. I have seen Swiss cheese with less holes than the Packers roster.

MY MAIN FEAR: I don’t want to give up a lot of high picks picks to move up. Those picks could also be difference makers if Gutekunst and his scouts did their homework.

FREE AGENTS: There are people still out there that could help the Packers. Bashaud Breeland (if healthy), Eric Reid, Kenny Vaccaro, Tre Boston and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are better than some of the players the Packers have in their secondary to be polite.
There are also longer shots like WR Jeremy Maclin or tight ends Julius Thomas, Marcedes Lewis or Antonio Gates.
If Gutekunst can sign someone to fill the holes in the draft – and not just college free agents – you will get a better idea of the how the draft went.
SUMMARY: That talk about it takes a few years to judge a draft won’t appease me. The Packers, at the best, are now the sixth best team in the NFC.
They need results and they need them now.

Golfer Jack Anderson – leads Brookfield Central on and off the course.

GOLFER JACK ANDERSON LEADS
LANCERS ON AND OFF THE COURSE

Brookfield Central golf coach Brian Scrobel had known the Anderson family, all avid golfers, for several years. Carl and Kim and their three boys, Evan, Eric and Jack.

Scrobel had coached the two older brothers, but he wasn't sure he would get a chance to coach Jack, the youngest, who played basketball his freshman year.

"We had a golf unit at Wisconsin Hills and I could see Jack was really good," Scrobel recalled. "But he was into basketball. He had very little interest in golf.  But after the summer of his 8th grade year he caught the bug and got really good, really fast."

Jack remembered he started golfing with his dad when he was 8 years old, but he admitted he didn't get into it.

"But during spring break of my 8th grade year I played as much as I possibly could. And I became a regular on varsity as a freshman."

So what changed his mind?

"I could spend time golfing with my dad, with his friends too," Anderson said. "I could meet more people. I enjoyed being outside. I really like being outdoors." 

Scrobel was asked was he surprised that he suddenly made the team as a freshman after not deciding to go out until the last minute.

"He had a great work ethic and support to do what he wants to do," he said. "I watched the passion develop and then I knew he was going to be very good. And once the passion developed, I knew he was going to be very good RIGHT AWAY."

Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotosLLC --- Jack Anderson made it to state with the Lancers his freshman and sophomore seasons and this year he is Brookfield Central's top returning starter.

Scrobel was right about Anderson, as he became a starter his freshman year.

His first year at the WIAA State Golf Championships he finished tied for 67th, shooting a 20-over par 164 (83-81). But then he showed a big improvement last spring at state, finishing 17th, 10 over par, knocking 10 strokes off his score with a 154 (77-77).

Anderson had an excellent sophomore season, earning first-team All-Greater Metro Conference honors, third team All-Area and honorable mention All-State, shooting a 74 in the conference championship. He was also named to the  GCAW Academic All State team, showing he was talented on the course and in the classroom.

He averaged 39.4 strokes and was named the Lancers Most Valuable Player.

Everyone likes him so it’s easy for people to gravitate towards him. With his success on the golf course – his success hasn’t come easy – he really works hard at it. And I think the kids notice and they see how much time he puts into it. He leads by example and does a really good job that way.”

--- Coach Brian Scrobel

Anderson was pretty low-key when I asked what his strong points on the course were.

"I'm pretty good with the irons and overall, keeping myself out of trouble, which can be pretty helpful most of the time," he said. "I like to motivate our team too."

Scrobel was more specific.

"He's not great at any one thing, but he is good at just about anything thing," he said. "He has good length off the tee. He hits his irons well. His short game is good and he is a good putter. So he is not excellent at  any of those, but he is really good at all of them."

But Anderson, being only a junior, has things to work on.

"Definitely my short game - chipping, putting, 80 yards in and everything," he said. "I've just got to get to the next level. I really got to dial that in; any of those times I have a chance to make a birdie or par. If I miss the green, I would have a good chance of getting up and down then."

Scrobel - on the other hand - was complimentary when talking on what he needs to improve on.

Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotosLLC --- Coach Brian Scrobel says Jack Anderson isn't excellent at any one thing, but he is very good at every part of his game.

"Consistency. I think his ball striking is good, but consistency on the golf course when you have a bad shot or a bad hole, being able to show the resiliency in bouncing back quicker and being able to manage those bad shots and the bad holes is important," he said.

"I think this is a big year for Jack. We would like bad rounds of golf to be in the high 70's. That's a bad round of golf. He has the ability to go really low. You can always track people's progress - not necessarily as how low they go - but how high is their high. If they can keep their high scores manageable, that's good progress."

Both Anderson and Zack Mindel are co-captains this season and Scrobel talked about Jack's leadership style.

"Everyone likes him so it's easy for people to gravitate towards him," the veteran coach said. "With his success on the golf course - his success hasn't come easy - he really works hard on it. And I think the kids notice and they see how much time he puts into it. He leads by example and does a really good job that way."

Jack was excited about his role as one of the Lancers captains.

"I think it's pretty crucial, especially with guys who have their first year on varsity," he said. "I try to calm them down and let them know, that even if they play bad they're going to be OK.

"There's a lot of time where if you're in the wrong place mentally, it might even affect your swing. It's important to help yourself if you're in that position or if someone else is. Let them know they are better than what they are going through. It happens to everybody, you just need to get through it and overcome it. It might take time, but eventually you will through it."

Anderson is not afraid to help them with the physical part of their game.

"If I see something in their swing and I can help them out, I will jump right to it and help them out."

Anderson surprised me when I asked him who his favorite professional golfer was and he responded "I like Tiger (Woods), he's by far my favorite. He was totally dominant. He just beat everybody. I watch videos of him. It's just crazy to see how good he actually was."

Scrobel had an interesting comment on Anderson's makeup.

"He has the type of personality that he's equality comfortable talking with his friends and peers as he is with adults - and that's a compliment," he said. "He's got great perspective on life. He has great humor. Although he likes to have fun, he's also very mature."

With Anderson, Mindel and Jack Sonsalla leading the way, the Lancers sound have an opportunity to return to state this season.

Scrobel then talked about the mental part of the game and how it helps the physical play of the team.

"Oh yeah absolutely. To be successful in conference, you need to have success 1-5," Scrobel explained. "If the 4-5 players play (well), the more relaxed our 1-2-3 will be. If they're more relaxed then they're scores are going to go down. As their scores go down, it was be easier for the 4-5. It's cyclical. As soon as you see the better players in the lineup really start to feel comfortable and playing to their ability, everyone will play more relaxed."

Which is good news for Anderson and company.

HANGING WITH JACK ANDERSON

  • FAVORITE FOOD:   ​Pepperoni pizza
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:   ​R & B in winter, Country Music in summer
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:  'School of Rock,' Comedies
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:   'Breaking Bad'
  • FAVORITE CLASS:   ​Economics
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:   ​Arizona.
  • WHAT YOU DO TO RELAX:    Work out and play basketball with friends
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:   ​Marquette
  • MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:   Going to the state tournament as a freshman and shot a 76 in the sectional. 
  • WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE:   Attend college, play golf and study finance. Looking to be an Investment Banker.  

FREE AGENTS AREN’T FREE

Green Bay Packers new general manager Brian Gutekunst said all the right things at his first meeting with the media when he was hired and since then at other various events (Senior Bowl, NFL Combine).

Gutekunst said he was going to be aggressive in the free agent market. Being aggressive and ‘doing something’ are two different things. Personally, I think his statements while truthful are going to leave the Packer fans extremely disappointed.

The Packers need some big time talent signed for their defense and at tight end. DT Muhammad Wilkerson is an example of this. He is also meeting with New Orleans, a better team than Green Bay, and Kansas City, a team which will take a step back this year. Hopefully, Wilkerson’s relationship with DC Mike Pettine will be the key.

But if Wilkerson signs with the Packers, he won’t be cheap. And that’s the problem.

Gutekunst can say all he wants about “being aggressive” in free agency, but the Packers – unless they cut or work out pay cuts for people like Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb – don’t have a lot of money to spend once they sign their draft picks.

They desperately need a edge rusher and a cornerback and to find them on the free agent list is easy – signing them is not.

Believe it or not, they are even more desperate for a tight end – and there are good ones in the draft – but there are also some good ones on the free agent list – they won’t be free.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Wilkerson and then on March 14 when the signing period begins.

I just wouldn’t hold my breath.

 

COLE NAU – THE LANCERS’ VERSION OF THE SWISS ARMY KNIFE

COLE NAU - THE LANCERS'
VERSION OF THE SWISS ARMY KNIFE

Brookfield Central basketball coach Dan Wandrey has had many talented players over the years on his girls and boys teams.  But for the past three seasons, he has been pleased with the likes of Cole Nau, the Lancers version of a Swiss army knife.

For those not familiar with a Swiss army knife, it is one of the handiness tools made. It has two blades, big and small, and some of the many additions include nail filers, fish scaler,  scissors, pliers, Phillips screwdriver, tweezers, toothpick and can opener to name just a few.

Wandrey can call on Nau to do several duties on the basketball court, just as easily as people can use a Swiss army knife for various functions.

Just listen to how the veteran coach responded when asked about Nau's strengths.

"His biggest strength is he doesn't have one thing that's better than anything else," Wandrey said. "His court awareness, his basketball IQ and acumen are outstanding. He plays every position on the floor for us. He handles the ball, he posts up. he gets the No. 1 defensive assignment. His versatility is irreplaceable. He really makes the players around him better."

But what really makes Nau valuable is his ability to play defense.

"He can guard 6-5, 6-6 guys," Wandrey said. "Obviously we're a little vertically challenged. With Cole's length and athleticism he can play guys who are bigger. And with his quickness and athleticism and anticipation he can guard smaller guys too. It's great."

When asked if he liked guarding the other team's top player, Nau had an interesting response.

"I like it because I like controlling one of the best guys in the game," he said. "If someone else is guarding the best guy, it kind of makes me feel weird. I like having an impact, I like playing the game both ways."

Photo by Al Herzberg, SportsPhotoLLC --- Junior guard Cole Nau does it all for the Lancers and is one of the major reasons for winning another Greater Metro Conference Championship.

Cole is listed as a 6-foot, 3 inch guard, but he can pretty much play any position.  And his regular season numbers are just as impressive.

He finished second in scoring (13.3 points per game), 3-point shots made (28), rebounding (5.1 per game), assists (4.2 per game), steals (27) and blocked shots (14). He shoots .467 percent from the field, including .522 from the free-throw line.

But where Cole really stepped up was a 4-game stretch - including 3 Greater Metro Conference games - when four Central players had to sit out because of an off-the-court situation.

Nau was the key to keeping the Lancers in the conference race by leading them to a 3-0 mark against Menomonee Falls, Germantown and first-place Brookfield East.

In a 91-60 win over Falls, he scored 21 points, handed out 10 assists, grabbed 7 rebounds, blocked 5 shots and had 3 steals.

In a 79-53 win over Germantown he scored 16 points, had 10 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and a blocked shot.

He was in there with his dad and a couple other coaches playing on a (third-grade) AAU team. He looked like a 15-year old basketball player in a 7 year old’s body. That’s when I knew he was something special.”

--- Coach Dan Wandrey on when he first saw Cole Nau play

But then in a 53-44 win over then undefeated Brookfield East, he scored 21 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, had 8 assists, a steal and a blocked shot.

He scored 58 points (19.3 average), handed out 28 assists (9.3), grabbed 18 rebounds (6.0) and had 7 blocked shots and 6 steals. He also hit 22 of 42 shots (.524 percentage) from the field and ran the Lancers offense.

He even scored 17 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and had 3 assists in the only loss in that stretch, coming against state-ranked Sun Prairie in the Luke Homan Memorial Tournament.

Wandrey was asked if he stepped up his game during this stretch when the team was short-handed.

Photo by Al Herzberg, SportsPhotoLLC  --- Brookfield Central junior Cole Nau tries to stay out of the spotlight . But this season the Lancers captain helped led the team when they were short-handed, winning 3 key games which enabled them to win another Greater Metro Conference title.

"That doesn't even do it justice," the emotional coach said. "He was like out of this worldly. The first game he had almost a quadruple double. 21 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds, 5 blocks. The game was like his chess game.

"He did things. Cole brought those guys in gym (the players who started instead) early and went over things so they knew what to do."

Cole also talked about having to step up his game.

"I felt a little pressure, but when I got on the court - I play point guard with my Ray Allen select team and I really enjoy it," he said. "Jack (Brady) really stepped up. He's like Sam (Rohde) a lot, so I got him the ball."

Brady a sharp-shooting senior also did a good job in that first game with 6 treys for 24 points. He also had 7 treys against Germantown for 25 points and continued to start the rest of the way, leading the team with 35 3-point shots.

Cole talked about his role on the team.

"I like to be a facilitator," he said. "I have to rebound and play defense too. A lot of things. I think my strength is seeing the court and seeing the court well. Looking for other teammates to score and knowing to score when you have to."

The scary part if both Cole and Wandrey know he can get better.

"Attacking the middle more, dribbling by guys, making more moves, having more counter shots stuff like that," Nau said when asked what he would like to get better at.

"I want him to play like the guy who played 5 games when those guys were not available," Wandrey said. "He just has such control of the game when he's involved in it. He's never going to be a guy who is a volume shooter. He's not going to take 15-16 shots a game - it's not in his makeup.

"When he needs to take control and be assertive, he's special. He's unbelievable. I would like to see him be that a little more. I want to say he blends in, but I don't mean it that way. He's OK with someone else taking the spotlight. but when he needs to, he's outstanding."

Cole is the Lancers captain and he talked about his role.

"I think leadership takes the team from good to great actually," he said. "Teams that have leaders can excel off the court and on the court. I like to be the kind of leader to talk to you when you need to be talked to, but I don't want people hating me. I want people to like me. But if I have to do something and make a tough decision, I'm not afraid to go that way."

Wandrey agrees with Cole's assessment.

"Cole is, I don't want to say soft-spoken - because that would indicate he's shy - but he's a man of few words," he said. "When he does speak, he's very poignant, it's very on point. He's that kid whose actions on the court, off the court - his work ethic, his commitment his dedication - makes him a great leader."

Cole has a first this year - playing with his brother, Ben, a 6-0 freshman point guard.

"In an official game, no we have never played together. I played with Gage (Malensek) in Jr. Lancers and we won state every year. I like it a lot (playing with his brother). It's really cool. Our parents really like it too."

Wandrey was asked about Cole away from the court and he was very complimentary.

"I was talking to a teacher here today, who had Cole in a class for the first time and she said 'Wow he's just an amazing kid. Everyone told me I would like him and he's even better.'

"He is almost like that kid you'd want your son to be like," Wandrey said. "You'd want your daughter to bring a guy like him home. He has high character. He's hard working. The kid next door. Respectful gracious."

Wandrey knew Cole was going to be good when he saw him play in third grade.

"I was coaching the girls and we couldn't use our gym so we played at a church," he said. "He was in there with his dad and a couple other coaches playing on an AAU team.

"He looked like a 15-year old basketball player in a 7 year old's body. That's when I knew he was something special."

HANGING WITH COLE NAU

  • FAVORITE FOOD:   Steak
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:   ​Rap
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:   'Stepbrothers,' Action movies.
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:   'The Office, Game of Thrones'
  • FAVORITE CLASS:   Math
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:   Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  • WHAT YOU DO TO RELAX:    Watch TV
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:   Brookfield East
  • MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:   Going to the state tournament as a sophomore. 
  • WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE:   Attend college, play basketball and study Business.  

SOPHOMORE SAM McGRATH, SPARTANS’ QUIET LEADER

​SOPHOMORE SAM McGATH
SPARTANS' QUIET LEADER

If you looked up the definition of a 'quiet leader' you would probably find Brookfield East's Sam McGath's photo next to it.

McGath is a talented sophomore, who has played key positions for the Spartans in football (quarterback) and basketball (point guard).

"He's a quiet leader," second-year basketball coach Joe Rux said. "Sam is the kind of kid who will do what's asked of him. He is going to set the right example by how he conducts himself on and off the field. That's his strength right now.

“I think all of us would like to see him take the next step in that role and be a little vocal and be more assertive as a leader. But that comes also with maturity. When you're thinking about a 15-16 year old, it's hard to have every quality."

McGath, who started at quarterback last fall as a sophomore and led the Spartans to a 7-1 record in the Greater Metro Conference and a 10-2 overall mark, understands he is a sophomore and has a role.

"It's really important," McGath said about leadership. "As a sophomore on the football team I let the seniors do what they needed to do. They were the vocal leaders. I didn't really say a lot. On offense I just tried to lead when I needed to. I didn't go out of my way and say stuff I didn't need to say. I left that for the seniors to do."​

Photo by Al Herzberg, SportsPhotoLLC --- For the second straight season, sophomore Sam McGath started at point guard for coach Joe Rux and is one of the key reasons the Spartans are in a first-place tie with Brookfield Central in the Greater Metro Conference.

Football coach Ben Farley talked about McGath's leadership style.

"Quarterback is a natural leadership position and he leads by example," he said. "He is not a big rah-rah screamer. He doesn't know how to ever raise his voice. But a lot of people follow him. He is humble and doesn’t draw attention to himself."

McGath, who started on the JV as a freshman, was moved to wide receiver and played with the varsity during the Spartans run to the state title. Last ​fallhe started at quarterback and earned second-team all-conference honors.

Although he was a running quarterback - he rushed for 645 yards and 7 touchdowns - he also passed for 727 yards and 11 touchdowns showing his versatility.

"As a quarterback you have to make sure your team is playing well," he said. "If someone is getting down, you have to make sure you're picking them back up and being a leader.

"I enjoy running the ball and making the right reads, making the right decisions. But I need to improve my throwing accuracy and being able to get the ball there on time and in the right spot."

His maturity didn't surprise Farley.

"I was not surprised," he said. "He had a very good freshman year and started the last five games. He's a special kid, there's lot of poise about him, how he carries himself. You can't rattle him.

"We brought him up to play wide receiver and to mainly block. But in the level 4 vs Menomonee Falls he was involved in a trick play and gained 40 yards."

There’s not one thing where you look at Sam and say that’s where he’s really great. He’s pretty well-rounded as a basketball player. But certainly on the defensive end he’s really made a living. He’s able to deny people and work hard and get some rebounds.”

--- Coach Joe Rux on sophomore point guard Sam McGath

Farley also helped coach him in basketball his first year.

"He started and was one of our best players," he said. "You got to see that first hand, his athleticism, his physical talent, he's a smart kid."

Rux had the opportunity to see Sam play in the Jr. Spartans since he was hired in the spring before McGath's freshman year.

"Obviously he's a natural athlete physically and he is mature for his age as well," Rux said. "While we were watching him in the youth games, we saw how focused he was and that was the giveaway. He was more advanced at the freshman level."

As a result, he ended up starting for Rux as a freshman at the important point guard position.

"He's a competitor. You can pretty much ask him to play defense on anyone you want him to," Rux said. "He's going to take that as a challenge and you can trust that with him.

Photo by Al Herzberg, SportsPhotoLLC  --- Sophomore Sam McGath led the Spartans to a 10-2 record last fall and finished second-team All-Greater Metro Conference.

"There's not one thing where you look at Sam and say that's where he's really great. He's pretty well-rounded as a basketball player. But certainly on the defensive end he's really made a living. He's able to deny people and work hard and get some rebounds."

Sam talked about his role with the Spartans and what he felt his strengths were.

"Playing good defense, getting steals, doing the dirty work," he said. "Going to the hoop and driving. And getting assists and making sure everyone is playing well."

But being a sophomore, Sam still has things to work on.

"The biggest steps he can make is developing his shooting and work on going to the rim," Rux said. "It's hard when you are young going against kids who are more developed than you are. They're stronger and more athletic, so it makes it more difficult.

"He's going to get stronger, he's going to get quicker with his releases, so the 3-point shot won't be as much of a problem. When he gets to the basket he'll be able to finish it."

Currently, Sam is third on the team in scoring (8.6 points per game average) behind Patrick Cartier (20.8) and Thomas Francken (11.1), an improvement over his 5.6 points per game average his freshman year. He is tied for second in 3-point shots this year, the same as his freshman season.

"I'm working on being a more consistent shooter," McGath said. "Being able to knock down open shots."

McGath, who also is a sprinter on coach Mike Steiner's outstanding track teams, talked about what he likes most about basketball and football.

"Basketball is fast paced, not that many breaks," he said. "It's fun running up and down the court. It's a team game, everyone has to work together. You have to know everyone's strength and you have to know you own strengths. What you can do, can't do, what other people can and can't do.

"Football is fun because of the contact, being able to hit people. It's easily the biggest game in sports. It's fun being around the guys, in the weight room, the summer workouts."

The Spartans have been one of the top-ranked basketball teams in the state this year. McGath was asked if he expected such success.

"I knew we could be really good this year with have all the parts - especially Patrick in the middle - but I didn't know we'd be this good - but that we would have a better year than last year. Coach Rux is a good guy, a great coach, who pushes you to do your best and give 100 percent."

The veteran Rux had his own thoughts going into the season.

"In my 18 years of coaching, I don’t set any expectations on how low things can get or how high," he said. "I know it's a coaching cliché, but a good way to live. One day at a time.

"It happens when it's ready to happen and here it was a scenario where we had kids who work hard. We were able to find some success this year and concentrate on little things."

HANGING WITH SAM McGATH

  • FAVORITE FOOD:   ​Hamburgers
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:   ​Rap
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:   ​​'Sandlot,' Action movies.
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:   'Walking Dead'
  • FAVORITE CLASS:   ​History
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:   ​Barcelona, Spain
  • WHAT YOU DO TO RELAX:    ​Lay on couch and watch TV
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:   ​Brookfield Central
  • MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:   ​Winning state football championship as a freshman. 
  • WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE:   Attend college and study Business.  Would like to play football.  

TOSA EAST’S BROOKLYN BLACKBURN TWO-SPORT SENSATION

​TOSA EAST'S BROOKLYN BLACKBURN
​​TWO-SPORT SENSATION

When Brooklyn Blackburn enrolled at Wauwatosa East High School three years ago, the athletic department had no idea they would be getting two athletes for the price of one.

Then basketball coach Rob Hamill was familiar with Brooklyn's talents having watched her in the Tosa Basketball League growing up.

When Brian Hendricks applied for the open girls basketball job in the spring, he did research on Brooklyn and also found out she was a developing track star as well as being an outstanding basketball player.

"I looked up the roster and saw two all-conference players (Blackburn, Liz Bueckers) returning," Hendricks said. "I said that's a good start. I then started Googling her and saw she was a great hurdler. So I started following newspapers article on her and followed her in another sport. I saw her play basketball all summer. I said we're getting a pure athlete."

Blackburn finished fourth at state in the 100 hurdles as a sophomore and was part of the 4x400 relay (10th) and 4x200 relay team (20th).

Since she never participated in track before her freshman year, I asked her why she went out.

"I thought I was fast," she laughed. "I gotten hurt half way through track season - I only ran one meet outside - so I was coming into it saying 'Oh my God, I probably got way worst.' But at the conference meet I broke my PR (personal record), I broke the school record it was just like 'wow, for this to be my second year…'

When asked the difference between basketball and track, she laughed.

"Basketball is totally different, but speed helps," she said. "But basketball running and track running are totally different things."

Although Brooklyn is the straw that stirs the drink, her teammates are the most important thing to her according to Hendricks.

"Even as she progressed, it's become more team, team, team," the first-year coach said. "There were times when she was sick and played through it. When she was injured, she would sit on the bench and she was a version of me sitting on the bench. She's coaching the girls the entire time. Where a lot of players who are as good as she is get hurt, they possibly shut down and worry about their injury.

"The other night Brook got hurt, sat on the bench icing her ankle then you could see Brooklyn hobbling all the way from the end of the bench, just to make sure she gets to the huddle. It's becoming more and more apparent as the year goes on with her."

Photo by Tom "Sky" Skibosh --- Junior forward Brooklyn Blackburn tops the Wauwatosa East girls in scoring (15 points) and rebounds (8 .0) . She was honorable mention all-conference as a freshman and  first-team as a sophomore.

Mariana Ibanez-Baldor and Sydney Halstead are captains, but because of her attitude and talent Blackburn also does her part.

"I think it's really important - being able to share my knowledge with others and to be able to carry the team in different situations," she said about being a leader. "Not only on the floor, but off the floor, being able to keep the team together.

"If I see something I will say it. Or I will basically show someone. I'll say 'You do this instead of this. (When someone asks) it gives me self-confidence that means that I'm doing something right and someone wants to lead off of me. It makes me feel good."

Hendricks sees the progress Brooklyn is making in that role.

"I think she has grown more and more comfortable with leadership," he said. "Halfway through the first semester of the year, something clicked with her and it was a lot more leading by example.

"We have a freshman on the varsity and she should take her aside and say 'You make this cut and here's why.' and then as 2018 hit, she's become coach Brooklyn. A lot has to do with trust in your coach and what can I (Brooklyn) say now. She is really believing in 'that's what's going on, I can help you guys.' The team looks to her and they believe in what she says now."

In Brooklyn's first two years the Red Raiders were 17-8 overall, 7-7 in GMC, and 19-7 and 8-6. They are struggling this year going 6-8 overall and 3-6 going into the week.

They are playing without senior Liz Bueckers, the other returning all-conference player because of a knee injury (time of return in question) and they lost their third all-conference player - Johanna Taylor - to graduation.

It didn't take Hendricks long to see he had something special in Brooklyn.

"I saw her at the first open gym of summer. We had a team meeting, I introduced myself and then I watched her on the court. When Brooklyn got the ball, everyone kind of stopped and watched. I said this is something we could really and truly build around. Watching her play, it was great, instinctual, very natural for her. Where other girls were still learning it just comes natural for her."

Blackburn talked about her role and the team and what she enjoys the most.

"I feel I'm an all-around player, so I can help everyone in different scenarios or different situations," she said. "I have the most basketball experience. I play here and AAU (1on1) year-round. I feel like I have a good basketball IQ.

As a coach it’s exciting to see where this is going to end up. She has already matured as a player and a leader in two months here. So what is she going to do next year? It’s going to be fun to watch.”

Coach Brian Hendricks on Brooklyn Blackburn

"What do I enjoy the most? I run the floor really well. I like transitioning and physical work. I like to get to other people. I like to read the floor. I like to make things happen, I guess. (When I get an assist I feel great. I feel so accomplished. With assists it's a great feeling to have when you do it. I like doing something for someone else and I think that's great."

Hendricks couldn't wait to talk about her strengths.

"She's fantastic on offense. She'll get the basket when she dribbles, there aren't many people in conference who can stop her 1-on-1," he said. "Anytime she gets the ball in the paint she's going to get a good look and she's probably going to score. We're moving her up to the wing now. She's so big (5-feet, 11 inches) and so quick on the wing it's going to be hard for post players to guard her.

"She played post her whole life and we started her at wing and she's picking it up like nothing. It goes back to the quick learning and natural ability. I can tell her she's playing point guard this week and she will look at me and say 'Yeah, sure.' And then say 'OK, let's do it.' She'll figure it out. She'll give you a little goofy funny thing, but then at the end of the day every time you are talking to her she is actually listening."

Photo by Tom "Sky" Skibosh  --- First-year Red Raiders coach Brian Hendricks talked about how much Brooklyn Blackburn has matured since November.

Blackburn also knows what the strong part of her game is.

"I feel like I can score and I use my size to an advantage most of the time," she said, adding this about rebounding strategy. "You need to find a person, box her out and I have to actually jump in the air sometimes, especially against taller girls. I'm not the tallest one out there sometimes, so I try to establish a position to get a rebound.

"I have to transition from a post to a guard sometimes. So being able to set up plays and ball handling, things like that I need to work on."

Hendricks talked about another area Blackburn needs to work on.

"Defensively, right now she relies on pure athleticism because she is so much more athletic than most people. If she can get down the fundamentals of defense - plus the athleticism. Being in the right spot at the right time with your feet, not just your hands. Fundamental stuff. She is going to be a total scary player."

Hendricks then when back to Brooklyn and the way she cares about other people, especially family.

"She's a kind person first and foremost," he said. "You can tell by the way she cares for her younger sisters (Bria, Brilee). She loves them so much. One (Bria) of them plays on our club team. They're at every game. They went to the West Allis Hale-DSHA game and Brooklyn took her youngest sister with her. She's goofing around sitting with her. She shows so much compassion for those two and she does that with everybody.

"She's a kind, passionate person and she's a funny person. She knows when it's time to get serious. But if you're getting too serious she can throw a little joke in and loosen everybody up."

Hendricks once again referred to her progress since the season started.

"The maturity and growth I've seen from November through February has been huge and I think she's seeing that. As a coach it's exciting to see where this is going to end up. She has already matured as a player and a leader in two months here. So what is she going to do next year?  It's going to be fun to watch."

HANGING WITH BROOKLYN BLACKBURN

  • FAVORITE FOOD:   ​Buffalo Wings
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:   ​Rap
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:   ​​'Freedom Writers';  Romance movies.
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:   'Chopped'
  • FAVORITE CLASS:   ​English
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:   ​Atlanta
  • WHAT YOU DO TO RELAX:    ​Sleep
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:   ​Wauwatosa West
  • MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:   ​Scored 40 points against Washington last season. 
  • WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE:   Attend college and study pre-med (Physical Therapy).  

BREWERS NOT LEGITIMATE CONTENDERS YET

If the Milwaukee Brewers were to start the season with the current pitching rotation they would not be legitimate contenders. Could they earn a wild card spot? Possibly, but unless something happens to the Chicago Cubs they’re chances of winning the division or advancing in the playoffs are slim and none.

I have mixed emotions on this.

REBUILDING OR CONTENDING?

I have been in General Manager Dave Stearns‘ corner. I have agreed with most of his moves because I was smart enough to be familiar with the players in the deal or I trusted his and his staff’s judgment when I wasn’t familiar with the players.

Then when the Brewers made their blockbuster deal for Christian Yelich, who I love, and followed up with the free agent signing of Lorenzo Cain, my attitude changed.

One of the things I like about both players is they get on base and hit for average. I was sick and tired of the home run or nothing mentality and leaving men on base – constantly. It was disgusting and showed how little this lineup knew about hitting.

But with these moves, Stearns is going for it now.

Of course every team in baseball now knows they need to trade an outfielder for a pitcher, so that hurts their bargaining power. Stearns recently told baseball writer Tom Haudricourt that they might not make a move going into spring training and see what happens.

Based on the reports about what some of these starters are asking for – no one – including Clayton Kershaw – is worth $30 million a year – I understand Stearns being unwilling to sign someone even though owner Mark Attanasio is ready to write a check.

I’m also not interested in continuing to strip the farm system to get a pitcher like Chis Archer.

But the fact of the matter is, a rotation of Chase Anderson, Zach Davies, Jhowlys Chacin and take your pick of Brent Suter, Brandon Woodruff, Junior Guerra and Aaron Wilkerson, and you don’t have a real contending rotation. (I don’t even consider Yovani Gallardo a candidate because that would guarantee failure).

No matter when Jimmy Nelson returns, how soon will he be able to regain his awesome form of last season?

One stud pitcher at the top of the lineup and you have a legitimate contender.

TOUGH SITUATION

Stearns is caught between a rock and a hard place. The free agent pitchers are ridiculously priced and the cost of a good starter in a trade isn’t worth stripping your farm system.

Sure they made Yu Darish (who I don’t like) an offer, but they once made C.C. Sabathia an offer ($100 million) which wasn’t even close to what he signed for, so don’t get too excited over the Darvish offer.

One thing is for sure, this Brewers team will be fun to watch and they will score runs – they might have to some nights in order to win some games.

Just don’t get too excited if this is their rotation come Opening Day. You would be fooling yourself.

 

TRADING ‘PROSPECTS’ FOR PROVEN TALENT – REMEMBER DAVID GREEN

Milwaukee Brewers General Manager – ‘Dealing’ Dave Stearns as I call him – fired up the MLB Hot Stove League by making a trade with the Miami Marlins for All-Star Outfielder Christian Yelich and then an hour later signed former Brewer Lorenzo Cain as a free agent.
A couple things came to mind with these moves.
In order to get a talent like Yelich – and if you don’t know how good this kid is you don’t follow baseball too closely – they had to trade Lewis Brinson, their top prospect in the deal.
The Brewers have control of Yelich, 26, through the 2021 season with a club option for 2022. He is a career .290 hitter with 59 HR, 293 RBI and 72 stolen bases in 643 games with the Marlins (2013-17).
He batted .282 with 18 HR, 81 RBI and 16 stolen bases in a career-high 156 games last season. He ranked among the National League leaders in runs (T7th, 100), at-bats (8th, 602), hits (9th, 170), doubles (9th, 36) and walks (10th, 80).
Yelich led Major League center fielders last season in fielding percentage (.997) and ranked second in starts (155) and fourth in total chances (372) as he committed just a single error all year. It marked his first full season as a center fielder after winning a Gold Glove Award in left field in 2014 and being named a Gold Glove finalist in both 2015 and 2016.
Nobody wanted to trade Brinson because of all the hype that came with him. But the key is he is still a ‘prospect.’
When I worked for the Brewers I can go back to what will always be considered – ‘The Trade.’
On Dec. 12, 1980, the Brewers acquired catcher Ted Simmons, pitcher Pete Vuckovich and closer Rollie Fingers from St. Louis in exchange for outfielders Sixto Lezcano and David Green and pitchers Lary Sorensen and Dave LaPoint.
Whereas Lezcano, Sorensen and LaPoint were major leaguers, but Cards GM Whitey Herzog told Brewers GM Harry Dalton he wouldn’t make the trade without the great David Green, one of the top ‘prospects’ (there’s that word again) in baseball.
The head of the scouting department and the baseball operations personnel almost came to blows at the winter meetings over including Green in the deal before Dalton stepped in.
Lezcano went on to play 72 games with the Cardinals, San Diego, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
Sorensen played with the Cardinals one year, two years with Cleveland, Oakland, Chicago Cubs, Montreal and San Francisco, having one season over .500 (12-11) with the Indians.
LaPoint played with the Cards, Giants, Detroit, Padres, Chicago White Sox, Pittsburg and New York Yankees and won 14 games twice.
Green played six years in the majors, five with Cards and one with the Giants, finishing with a .268 batting average 31 homers and 180 RBIs and had off-the-field problems that cut his career short.
The Brewers got two MVPs (Fingers, Vuke) and an excellent hitting catcher (Simmons) in the deal.
I have nothing but respect for the four prospects Stearns traded and I hope they have good careers.
But I’ll always remember David Green.

EISENHOWER’S PLOCKELMAN NO LONGER UNSUNG

​EISENHOWER'S PLOCKELMAN
​NO LONGER UNSUNG

On Friday, Jan. 5, New Berlin Eisenhower senior forward Hannah Plockelman probably got rid of the 'unsung hero' tag forever.

That's because Plockelman was the hero in a 50-37 victory over Pewaukee which kept the Lions unbeaten (6-0) and in first place in the Woodland West.  The 6-foot Plockelman scored 18 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and added 2 assists and 1 steal. She even was the guest on Spectrum Sports post-game show.

The Lions are 10-2 overall and Plockelman leads the team in scoring (13.9 points) and rebounding (8.1) and is second in assists (2.2).

Hannah was a member of the Lions State Championship team as a sophomore, averaging 3.3 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. Then last year as a junior starter, she led the team in rebounding (6.2) and was third in scoring (7.5) and steals (31).

As for the 'unsung hero' tag?

"She was second team all-conference last year so people noticed it," Coach Gary Schmidt said of Plockelman's improved play. "It's just the way she goes about doing business. She's improved her game. I like the fact that people notice what kind of athlete she is. I don't see how she shouldn't be first-team all-conference and she should get some all-state recognition too.

"From a coaches perspective (being an unsung hero), that's awesome. She's kind of a hidden gem. I think that's a tribute to the way she has mastered her game. She just keeps getting better and better."

Photo by Tom "Sky" Skibosh --- Senior forward Hannah Plockelman leads the Lions in scoring and rebounding this season and is starting to share some of the spotlight..

Plockelman gives the Lions a multi-pronged attack with sharp-shooting Julia Hintz (13.2 points), Katie Ludwig (7.3), 6-feet, 2 inch Erin Hedman (6.3) and Olivia Canady (5.8). Hintz, Ludwig and  Canady are excellent 3-point shooters, which opens up the lane for Plockelman and Hedman.

Plockelman understands her new role this year.

"I'm more involved in the scoring aspect," she said. "In the previous years I just played defense and passed the ball but this year I'm more involved."

When asked if she feels more pressure in her new role, she talked about the talent on the team.

"I feel a little pressure, but I feel if I don't have the best game, my teammates will make up for it," she said. "We're a really deep team and everyone has a lot of strength.

"If teams focus on Erin or me, then that leaves Julia open," Hannah said. "Julia is also good at going to the basket and then dishing the ball off to us also. Katie and Olivia are also good outside shooters."

Plockelman is also a key player when it comes to defense.

"I guard the taller people and I have to make sure to box out and get rebounds," Hannah said. "I'm always working hard, I'm being aggressive. I've gotten stronger in these past years underneath the basket to get rebounds. It's very important if you're playing bigger girls, to get around them or you don't get the rebounds."

She not only wants to be out there, not just for her, but for her team. That’s part of being a good leader. It’s all about somebody else. She always reaches out to everybody. She’s just a great kid to have around.”

Lions coach Gary Schmidt

Photo by Tom "Sky" Skibosh --- Eisenhower coach Gary Schmidt has been thrilled - but not surprised - by Hannah Plockelman's progress the last few years.

Schmidt knew he had something good when he first saw Plockelman in the Eisenhower youth program.

"In fifth grade, even though she was very tall, she also showed skills, and I was pretty excited knowing she was going to be in our program for the long hall. Right back when she joined our feeder program, I knew she would be something special for us."

Schmidt then talked about one of the key strengths her coaches mentioned to him.

"When all coaches feel that they have kids who are coachable - you could just tell when she went to camps - the coaches said how good she was on the court and how she listened," he said. "That right there spoke highly of her. Not only from her effort but how well she knew the game of basketball. She really worked hard. That's why I'm impressed with her. The way she was in fifth grade and the way she is now. That tells a story - that any kid could get good if they really wanted to without a doubt."

Schmidt didn't hesitate when asked about Hannah's strong points.

"Her athleticism No. 1 and her basketball instinct No. 2," he said. "One of the things I've been most impressed with her is her speed, how quick she can get to the ball and get to the basket. I think she's very hard to defend.

"And yet she is so good to get up and get the rebound. She has quite the strong presence out there when it comes to basketball and where to be on the court. This is something you can teach to some and some kids you can't. Because of her athleticism she gets to some of the spots so quick. Her speed possesses that.

"I also think she is one of best defensive players in the state. I mean that sincerely. I also think she's one of the best rebounders.

Plockelman also talked about her quickness and defense.

"I have a quick first step, so if I have a taller and slower person guarding me I can drive past them in the lane and get to the hoop," she said. "I feel I'm good at anticipating on defense, so I'm good at being able to get to the gap or be on help side if my teammates need me.

"Defense is probably the most important thing to me. Coach says you should never have a bad game on defense."

Both coach and player almost agree on what she needs to work on.

"I need to work on my shooting," Hannah said. "I usually drive to the basket instead of taking the jump shot. I feel that I've never really been a big shooter from the perimeter, which I regret.  Coach doesn't discourage me. He encourages everyone to shoot."

But Schmidt wants her to work on the end of the shot.

"Finishing. We have to get her to be better at that," he said. "She's a great finisher as we speak. If I can find one flaw it's finishing. I would like to see her finish better around the hoop."

Not surprising, leadership is a key part of Hannah's makeup.

"It's extremely important. I think everyone is encouraging and stepping up when we have to," she said. "I think I can encourage people and pick them up when they're having a bad game. I like helping out (when younger players ask her questions). I like to see them succeed too. Once they understand it, they are really happy. That makes me happy too because they are improving and helping me too."

Schmidt is pleased with her leadership skills also.

"She leads by example," he said. "I can't think of a better kid who leads by example. She's very coachable. She listens, she responds, she never takes any time off. She's just a gamer.

"She not only wants to be out there, not just for her, but for her team. That's part of being a good leader. It's all about somebody else. She always reaches out to everybody. She's just a great kid to have around."

Schmidt was asked about Hannah's personality off the basketball court and his answer wasn't surprising.

"She's extremely polite," he said. "You can tell mom and dad (Jennifer and Mike) did a great job in raising her. She's always respectful. She treats people fairly. I never hear a bad word come out of her. She's always positive. To sum it up, she's the real deal. She treats people the way people should be treated."

Schmidt then asked if ​he could add one more thing about Hannah.

"There are two reasons people coach high school basketball," he said. "The love of game and the love of coaching kids. To have good kids is a coach's dream.

"I enjoy Hannah as much off the court as I do on. She's disciplined the way she looks at life. I'm the one who is honored to coach her."​

HANGING WITH HANNAH PLOCKELMAN

  • FAVORITE FOOD:   ​Cheeseburger
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:   ​Popular Music
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:   ​​'Safe Haven';  Comedy, Horror.
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:   'Grey's Anatomy'
  • FAVORITE CLASS:   ​AP Biology
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:   ​Phoenix, Arizona
  • WHAT YOU DO TO RELAX:    Watch TV
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:   ​Pewaukee, New Berlin West
  • MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:   ​Winning State Championship her sophomore year. 
  • WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE:   Attend UW-Parkside, play basketball and be a nurse practitioner
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