All Posts by Sky Skibosh

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

STEINBACH STEPS DOWN AS LANCERS BOYS TENNIS COACH

For a guy who wanted to be a high school basketball coach, Dave Steinbach put together quite the tennis coaching career.

Steinbach, who has coached boys and girls tennis at Central since 1982, recently informed Don Kurth, the Lancers athletic director, he is stepping down as boys coach.

“The impact Dave Steinbach has had on Brookfield Central is hard to quantify,” Kurth said. “As a  teacher, coach and mentor, Dave has taught and coached thousands of kids spanning five decades, and in 2018, he is as relevant as ever.

“His no cut tennis program has set the standard for all others. We are lucky to have had Dave lead our kids over the course of his career. He is a class act, and his presence in our boys tennis program will be missed.”

Taking a look at the depth of Steinbach’s boys teams’ accomplishments is amazing. He is the only tennis coach in Wisconsin to win 500 matches for boys and 500 matches for girls.

His boys teams compiled a 513-147 (.777) won-lost record, winning 10 Greater Metro Conference championships and four state championships. They were runner-ups six times. They also won 19 sectional titles while finishing second eight times.

On the individual front, he had 61 singles players qualify for state and 60 doubles teams.

Steinbach, who will turn 82 years old this month, explained his decision to step down from coaching the boys program at this time.

“I have to give credit to the parents and the athletes, my assistant coaches (44 over the years) and the administration over the years,” he said. “My coaching successes have been dependent on them.”

“I have many facets in my life. Coaching is the one I controlled the least. If you don’t have good players you don’t win. for example, in one of my other facets, I umpired. Nobody had more control than me. I’ve broken my life down to 10-12 tennis facets and two coaching ones – girls coaching and boys coaching.”

But obviously, Steinbach had something to do with this team’s success.

“Now the fact that we have a big program – that’s me,” he said. “I decided not to cut. So many of these kids have more talent than I had when they were 14 or 15. If someone had told me I couldn’t play tennis, I wouldn’t be where I am today. So I wouldn’t want to do that to anyone else.”

When then athletic director Jack Charlesworth offered Steinbach the tennis coaching position in 1982, Steinbach said he had to have a non-cut program.

“I coached basketball for 17 years and I was forced to cut,” Steinbach recalled. “When Jack Charlesworth asked me to coach the boys tennis team I told me I would do it if I wasn’t forced to cut players.

“I told him it’s a lifetime sport and if I cut a player he would never play tennis again. So he agreed. The first year we had 32 kids on the team. Kids heard we weren’t going to cut and pretty soon we had 34, then 36. Then the next year I had 45. It just kept getting bigger and bigger. Once year we had 132 kids come out, but we ended with 120 – 12 didn’t finish that year.”

Steinbach points out he is the longest employed Elmbrook employee, having begun teaching at Dixon in 1960. He began coaching at Burleigh Junior High, Brookfield East’s feeder program, in 1965. Since the high schools were three-grades at the time, he coached freshman football, track and basketball.

“My real goal was to coach varsity basketball but (Laverne) Luebsdorf was at Brookfield East and he was going to be there forever and Bill Graf was at Central and he’d be there forever,” Steinbach said. “I was a good freshman (basketball) coach.

“Tennis would be my best option to be a varsity coach. I wanted to see if I could be a good varsity coach. Those two guys (Luebstorf, Graf) were entrenched and there was nothing I could do.”

Steinbach did plenty to keep busy as he also refereed football and basketball too. He also was a referee in a state championship football game.

“I was also game manager in 1982, which is like an assistant athletic director,” he said. “I did it for all the sports.”

Another reason he stepped down from coaching boys in the spring first was the weather.

“We’re leaving for Arizona and California this month,” Steinbach said. “I’ve been cutting certain facets out of my professional life. I stopped teaching tennis at UWM. I stopped officiating the Big Ten 10 years ago. I’m trying to eliminate some of the facets. Playing facets I eliminated a long time ago (he was a state-ranked player tennis in the 35 and 45 age category, but an injury stopped him from competing at 55).

“I’m eventually going to have to get out of coaching, but I didn’t want to do it all in one shot. I don’t want the program to lessen. In March I’m involved in the Indian Wells Tennis Tournament in Palm Springs. We’re always in California from end of February through March then coming back to Wisconsin in April. Well I eliminated that first.”

Other than the Grand Slams, Indian Wells is the biggest tournament in the world.

“I supervise the fitness area for the pros,” Steinbach said. “I get to see all the coaches and their pros to see what they do for their pre and post match fitness. I can bring it back to my team. They think being a good tennis player just happens in the court and not in the weight room.”

Steinbach has won 72 different awards on some level, topped off by winning the United States Professional Tennis Association Award twice (boys and girls). He also won the prestigious ‘Starfish’ Award (boys and girls) presented by the United States Tennis Association.

He was also named to the Brookfield Central Hall of Fame and the Wisconsin Tennis Association Hall of Fame.

Steinbach smiled when asked the difference between coaching boys and girls.

“The first 15 minutes of the practice,” he said. “For the girls it’s social time. You let them talk about what happened in school. Then when it’s tennis time that’s all done with. Otherwise you are going to have them talking when they should be concentrating on tennis. Most schools don’t have girls as good as we have. Brookfield Central girls are very competitive. When boys come out you’ve got to work them right away, they’re so hyped.”

Steinbach also pointed out another difference.

“Girls don’t like challenge matches,” he said. “Boys can play challenge matches and the next day they’re buddies. Girls – if they get beat – hold it. Girls would rather me tell them who they’re playing or what position they’re playing. Boys would rather say ‘let me play him and see if I can beat him or not.'”

 

WORK ETHIC, HUSTLE KEYED TYLER TOROSIAN

WORK ETHIC, HUSTLE KEYS VIKINGS'
TYLER TOROSIAN'S SUCCESS

To say that New Berlin West's Tyler Torosian got the 2017-18 basketball season off with a bang would be an understatement.

Torosian scored a school record 44 points in a 101-95 win over Milwaukee Golda Meir in the season opener on Friday, Nov 24, in the Fresh Coast Classic at the Klotsche. He broke Charlie Averkamp's record of 42 points.

The Vikings trailed 39-33, but rallied to tie the game at 88 and send it into overtime where they outscored Golda Meir, 13-7, to win the game.

Torosian hit 13 of 18 shots from the field, 3 of 4 from 3-point range and was 9-of-12 from the free throw line. He also led the team with 10 rebounds.

Photo by Tom "Sky" Skibosh --- Senior forward Tyler Torosian set a school record in the opener this season, scoring 44 points as the Vikings defeated Milwaukee Golda Meir in overtime. He also led the tream with 10 rebounds.

"I don't think anyone was really expecting it," Tyler said. "I wouldn't say it was out of no where, but it wasn't like we were running a whole lot of plays for me. I started outworking everyone, getting rebounds, hitting a few 3s. I got to the line 12 times. I made my free throws, just put in shots all around.

"Everyone knows - even myself - that I'm capable of having a game like that. It's more of a 'We know he can score so we can trust him when he has the ball down low.' It's more of a trust thing."

Torosian talked about his role on this year's Vikings team.

"I play a forward. I'm not the big guy, but I play the wing," he said. "We cycle it through guys, extend the floor, get up the floor, shoot the 3, drive the hoop. I do just a little bit of everything."

Tyler began playing basketball at an early age and knew it was the game for him.

"I started in first grade when my dad (Greg) introduced it to me," he recalled. His dad played at New Berlin Eisenhower and at UW-Whitewater."It was a fun game. He played NBAA for three years and from fourth to eighth grade I played on the school's select team.

He’s a gym rat, a serviceable big man,” Mattox said. He likes running, he can dunk, pick and roll. What I like about him the most is he has the versatility to guard multi-positions. He is a tough kid with a nose for the basketball.”

--- Coach Brandon Mattox

"I was always a little taller than everyone, so I had somewhat of an advantage. I just like the competitive nature of it. I was never really into football or any other sports."

Despite his height - he is currently 6-feet, 5 inches tall, he pointed out a lot of his success comes from the way he plays the game.

"A lot of my buckets are from outworking other players," he said. "My rebounds are from out muscling guys, getting up the court. That's just how I've always played. Just trying to get easy buckets."

Mattox and Tyler arrived at New Berlin West at almost the same time.

"His first year was my first year. I knew his dad," Mattox said. "Tyler hadn't grown into this body yet. But he was coachable and he wants to play well."

After playing on the freshman team, Tyler made the varsity as a sophomore, played in 21 games and averaged 5.5 points per game, shot .577 percent from the field and .767 from the free-throw line.

He started 6 of 22 games as a junior, averaging 4.9 points and this year he has played well following his huge opener.

Photo by Tom "Sky" Skibosh --- Work ethic, hustle best describes the 6-foot, 5 inch Tyler Torosian's success on the basketball court.

In 9 games, he leads the team with a 20.7 points average and 14 steals and is second in rebounds (6.8). He continues to shoot well, hitting .595 from the field, .350 from 3-point range and .692 from the free-throw line.

He has scored in double figures every game, following the opener (44 points) with totals of 13, 14, 26, 10, 17, 10, 23 and 29. He has also been consistent in rebounding, grabbing 10 7,7, 5, 6, 7, 2, 9 and 8.

When the Vikings defeated Greendale, 57-48, on Dec. 8, it was their first win against a Woodland West opponent since Mattox took over and Torosian had 26 points in the game.

"He's a gym rat, a serviceable big man," Mattox said. He likes running, he can dunk, pick and roll. What I like about him the most is he has the versatility to guard multi-positions. He is a tough kid with a nose for the basketball.

"He has a knack for getting involved. I had no idea he had set a school scoring record in that first game. We did not run one play for him. He has no ego, he just wants to play. He's a team guy, I love coaching him. I told him to be physical, that's OK. He does have to be more consistent at the free-throw line. That part of his game must continue to evolve."

Torosian was candid when he talked about his strengths and weaknesses.

​"I'm good at finishing around the basket and I'm a decent rebounder for not being big and wide (he weights only 180). I'm pretty good at that. I also enjoy running the court in transition.

"But I need to work on my all around defense. I feel that's not the strongest part of my game. I'm working on quickness, keeping guys in front of me, trying to guard smaller defenders."

One thing Mattox doesn't have to worry about is Torosian slacking off.

"I love the game so much, I try to get better at it everyday," Tyler said. I like shooting around after practice, just going hard all the time. I try to out work everyone else, getting better, working in the off-season, lifting weights, putting shots up. I'm working on basketball all the time."

For a big man, Tyler loves the transition game.

"I enjoy running the court instead of being in a half-court setup," he said. "When I'm up the court, passing everyone else, even when they have a guard back, it's hard for the guard to stop someone who is 6-5, if they're smaller - even 6-1 - it's hard to stop me."

Both Tyler and Joe Robey are team captains and Tyler is happy to take on the responsibilities.

"Being a captain you need to bring leadership," he said. "With me and Joe - we're two of the four seniors - we have to make sure to hold guys accountable for what's going on. For stepping up when the team needs us, being an overall leader.

"It's important to me being a captain. I've always been a quieter guy. This year has been a little bit of a change, taking charge, leading the rest of the guys. We're a younger team. We have like five juniors, five sophomores.

"I wouldn't say I'm the most vocal guy, but I think I lead by example in practice, running drill to drill, not walking around, making guys follow by example."

But earlier this year, Mattox saw a different side of Tyler when New Berlin West was trailing West Allis Central by one point at half time.

"We were losing and I felt we played a really bad half," Tyler said. "We should have been up. We really weren't rebounding well at all. They were just out hustling us. I just wanted to get guys pumped up to go out there and just win it."

West went on to beat the Bulldogs, 68-63, outscoring them, 41-35, in the second half.

Mattox laughed when I asked what kind of kid was Tyler off the court.

"He's kind of a goof ball," he said. "He has this big Russian fur hat he wears. He's playful, but real laid back. He's a different kid. I love coaching him. He's very social. I think he has a bright future."

Torosian has been happy with the direction of the program under Mattox.

"I think the program as made tremendous steps since I was a freshman," he said. "We only on two games when I was a freshman and now last year we had our first season with double digit wins in four or five seasons.

"Coach Mattox is just doing a great job. We're just trying to change the culture. He knows what he's talking about. He's a great guy. Before every game he preaches about wanting it more. You want to lay everything out there. It's good motivational stuff."​

HANGING WITH TYLER TOROSIAN

  • FAVORITE FOOD:   ​Pizza
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:   ​Mainstream Rap
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:   ​​Horror.
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:   'Walking Dead'
  • FAVORITE CLASS:   ​History
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:   ​Phoenix, Arizona
  • WHAT YOU DO TO RELAX:    Watch TV, sleep  or hang with friends
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:   ​New Berlin Eisenhower
  • MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:   ​Scoring a school record 44 points in this year's opener.
  • WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE:   Attend UW-Whitewater, play basketball and study Business

PACKERS’ ARROGANCE GROWING OLD

I am fed up by the arrogance which is Mark Murphy, Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy.
How many times have I heard McCarthy talk about “We think about Super Bowls in Green Bay.”
But then Murphy talks about making the playoffs 8 years in a row. Who cares, Murph. Green Bay cares about Super Bowls.
People are asking for the heads of Thompson, who feels his job description doesn’t include answering questions from the media, and/or McCarthy.
But that’s not going to happen.
Aaron Rodgers got hurt and everyone is off the hook. Maybe Dom Capers will be sacrificed to quiet the crowd, but don’t expect much more.
It’s time to stop using Rodgers as a crutch. If you lose one player – yes, he is a Hall of Fame player – your season shouldn’t turn into crap.
Brett Hundley is McCarthy’s project – and I thought Mac did the right thing by playing him to see what he has learned. But you won’t see people standing in line to give up a high draft choice for him.
It does look like Thompson made good draft picks in running backs Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones. But if you aren’t going to use them because McCarthy wants to throw, throw, throw with Rodgers, obviously people aren’t on the same page.
People say get Rodgers more weapons – yet the ones he has, he doesn’t use.
As for Murphy, he sits on the top of the heap, handles building the neighborhood around Packer Stadium and makes money for the team which they don’t spend on personnel. It would be nice if he made some decisions in the football area. Saying Thompson can be the general manager as long as he wants shows how ignorant/arrogant Murphy is.
Personally I don’t think Murphy-Thompson-McCarthy are in the same book, let alone on the same page. And who suffers? The fans.
I tweeted when Rodgers got hurt that the Packers would win maybe two games the rest of the year. With two games left – vs. Minnesota and at Detroit with Hundley at the helm – they beat my prediction of two wins by one – beating Chicago, Cleveland and Tampa Bay, the latter two in overtime.
People say I’m negative. I think I’m a realist and I don’t see things changing.
And why should the Packers care. People are lined up to get season tickets and will be for years.
Not much to worry about if your names are Murphy, Thompson and McCarthy.

ANDRES PERALTA-WERNS COULD BE KEY TO LANCERS’ SUCCESS

ANDRES PERALTA-WERNS COULD BE
KEY TO LANCERS' SU​CCESS

If the Brookfield Central boys basketball team hopes to defend their Greater Metro Conference Championship and make a return trip to the state tournament in Madison, a lot will depend on the Lancers top returning senior - Andres Peralta-Werns.

When people who aren't close to the program think of the Lancers, they think of two juniors - point guard Gage Malensek or forward and defensive stopper Cole Nau.

But the play and the enthusiasm of Peralta-Werns will play a key role in the Lancers success.

The 6-foot-3 inch, 190 pound swing man (guard/forward) averaged 16.7 points per game in the early going, shooting .455 from the field and .333 from 3-point range. He was second on the team last season, averaging 15 points per game and was third in rebounds (3.7). 

Where as Peralta-Werns is known for his long-range shooting, he can put the ball on the floor and drive to the hoop and improved his defense as well, putting together a well-rounded game.

Brookfield Central coach Dan Wandrey saw good things from Andres early in his career.

"I always thought he had a lot of ability, especially offensively," Wandrey said. "His sophomore year when he played with us on the varsity, he had a handful of explosive games. Really, what I was most impressed with with Andres was from his sophomore until his junior year he really focused in on what we asked him to do.

Photo by Alan Herzberg , SportsPhotoLLC --- Senior Andres Peralta-Werns has improved his game the last three seasons, adding defense and taking the ball to the basket to his long-range shooting arsenal.

"He's a better defender, a better rebounder, he has a better shot selection and he takes better care of the ball. You saw the improvement he made last year averaging 15 points a game, his most impressive year as he had some of his best games. He's been really good that way."

Andres considers that one of his strong points.

"One of my main strengths is I'm very coachable and I'm good at adapting to what people want me to do," he said. "People don't really know this, but I spend - right now as a senior - I spend 2-3 hours a day with my dad (Glen) playing basketball.

"He is a really good coach. He is one of these people I can't correct because he's right about what he says. When people tell me something I have a mindset of what they want now in a basketball perspective. I can comprehend what they're saying."

Ironically, Wandrey first became aware of Peralta-Werns because of his sister, Alejandra, who played for him when he was the girls coach.

"His sister played in the girls program when I was coaching there, so I knew him from middle school," Wandrey recalled. "When I accepted the boys position, he was in eighth grade. I had the opportunity to watch him play a little bit then. He made our JV team right away as a freshman. I knew who he was because of the family connection. Obviously it's not on your radar when you're coaching girls."

Andres started playing in the fifth grade with the Jr. Lancers. He only made the 'B' team, so he went out for club basketball. He played with the Ballers, a Menomonee Falls team, until early ninth grade. He played on a 17U team when he was only in eighth grade.

"I wanted to try and get better and make the 'A' team eventually. I played in the summer and a couple times played in the fall before basketball season. It was a really good way for me to work on my abilities. I wanted to get the experience and stuff, get better, scoring, running up and down the court. When I got into high school, playing club was more for recruiting purposes. Everyone wants to see you play AAU and also wants to see you play high school."

He has an uncanny knack for being able to score. In some ways he reminds me of Andrew Bruggink who played for us a few year’s ago. They kind of came to us as shooters – Andres was a really good 3-point shooter, a really good long-range shooter. As people started taking that away, he improved the other parts of his game.”

--- Dan Wandrey

Wandrey was very complimentary about Peralta-Werns' skills and compared him to a former GMC Player of the Year.

"He has an uncanny knack for being able to score. In some ways he reminds me of Andrew Bruggink who played for us a few year's ago," Wandrey said. "They kind of came to us as shooters - Andres was a really good 3-point shooter, a really good long-range shooter.

"As people started taking that away, he improved the other parts of his game. Is he a finished product? Of course he's not; he's only a senior in high school. You look at the way he's played this year and what I've seen in the off-season in the summer. He can finish getting to the rim and he has a nice mid-range game."

Peralta-Werns is always look to improve and he talked about what he needs to work on.

"Two things I want to get better at are athleticism and defense," he said. "Everyone loves to score. That's something that everybody in this generation picks up. They can shoot the ball or dribble the ball or make good passes. But a lot of people forget about the defensive side of it. I'm not the most athletic guy so any time we play a team I always try to get up there and compete at the level they've at."

Wandrey see an important area Andres can help the Lancers with.

"I think an important key for us with him is to be a better rebounder," he said. "When I say better, what I mean most is consistent, because he shows he can do it. We just need him to do it a little bit more regularly. He's gotten a little bigger, a little stronger and I think that helps him in those areas too. His ability to go to the basket - that's something he really improved on."

Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotosLLC --- When you think of Andres Peralta-Werns, you think of his impressive long-range shot.

Wandrey then had an interesting theory, comparing Andres to a good golfer.

"Just offensively, having that knack to score. He has a great short memory, but not in a bad way. Good scorers and shooters like good putters have short memories," Wandrey said. "I play golf.    If I miss a 3-foot put on the second hole, I don't want that hanging around me for the next 15. Andres has it. The game over at Tosa East last year sticks in my mind. He shot a very poor percentage, but late in the game, we're down by one or two points and he takes the ball to the rim and makes a basket and then makes a 3-pointer after going like 3-for-15. He makes that basket and it's one of the most important baskets of the game.

"In a good way that short memory - 'I'm not going to let it get to me' - is a good thing too."

Andres then spoke about something that is important to him - leadership.

"It's a thing that everyone should have, everyone should take ownership on what they should do," he said. "Overall perception is everyone's part of the team, so no one can blame others.

"I like working with young players. My dad told me respect the people that are older than you and respect people who are younger. When they're older, they're going to remember you (and how you treated them). When they look up to you, they want to say I want to be just like him. You don't want them to have any negative view on you and they also don't want to pick up any negative habits."

Wandrey feels Andres is on the right path.

"What I like about Andres is he is a very pleasant person, just a great kid," he said. "I wasn't sure how to take him when he was a freshman. He was always 'Thank you coach, Yes coach.' As I watched him, he's been on the team now where we've had a couple freshman when he was a sophomore - we have a couple freshman now when he's a senior. I think this is a great form of leadership - he treats those guys well. He wants them to be successful. He wants them to be an important part of our team. He looks for ways to help them and make them feel comfortable and I think that's really important.

"Even though your captains aren't seniors, I've talked to my seniors and said 'It doesn't mean you can't be a leader.'

Andres’ personality is another way he influences the Lancers.

"In some fun quirky ways at the end of practice, Andres is the guy who 'claps it up,' gets everybody fired up. He's got that vivacious personality of being up and keeping the crowd up with him."

HANGING WITH ANDRES PERALTA-WERNS

  • FAVORITE FOOD:   ​Tamales
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:   ​R & B
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:   'White Men Can't Jump.'  Comedies
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:   'Friends'
  • FAVORITE CLASS:   ​History
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:   ​Sinoloa, Mexico, mom's hometown
  • WHAT YOU DO TO RELAX:    Watch TV or go watch other sports
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:   ​Any MPS school
  • MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:   ​Fans reaction when team came out before game in sectional final.
  • WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE:   Attend college​, play basketball and study Physical Therapy

SOME PREP BASKETBALL OBSERVATIONS

Progress

With the girls and boys basketball seasons underway, here are a few observations, some based on games I saw, others I what I have talked with coaches about or read about.

AMAZING MORTAG

Sophomore Anna Mortag, who stepped up her game last year when Brookfield Central lost Claire Haynes to a back injury, has continued her performance and has taken over the top spot in the Lancers program.

The Lancers will be a work in progress this season, as Mortag has an inexperienced supporting class for the most part. She is averaging 19 points and 7 rebounds in Central’s 0-3 start (Franklin comes to town on Dec. 3). They meet Brookfield East on Friday.

Junior guard Emma Ticcioni averages 8 points and 7 rebounds a game and senior guard Jenny Cape averages 5 rebounds and does a good job team running the show.

Freshman guard C.J. Romero stands only 5-1, but she averages 3 points, 3 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game.  Against Germantown, she lead the team with 9 rebounds.

If the Lancers are going to get better, they need to shoot better, rebound better and play better defense or coach Mallory Liebl will have gray hair before the season is over.

For the first time since covering Liebl, I saw the mild-mannered coach yell at her team during a timeout and then slam her clipboard to the ground afterward.

It will be interesting to see what they do against Brookfield East on Friday.

GAGE, ANDRES SPARKS LANCERS

Junior Gage Malensek (16.5 points) and senior Andres Peralta-Werns (15.5 points, 5 rebounds) led the Lancers in their 1-1 start. Junior Cole Nau (10.0 points, 3 assists) and freshman David Joplin (5.5 points, 5.0 rebounds) have also chipped in.

The Lancers host Brookfield East on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Look for my feature on Peralta-Werns on Dec. 14 on Preps2Pros.net.

VIKINGS LOSE OVERTIME THRILLER

Port Washington nipped New Berlin West, 59-58, in overtime on Saturday afternoon at West, as senior guard Joe Robey stood out with 18 points, 11 rebounds and 3 steals.

Sophomore Desmond Polk had 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 assists and senior Tyler Torosian had 13 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists.

Coach Brandon Mattox should have a fun team to watch this year.

 

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