Monthly Archives: January 2017

Little change in My Girls Prep Basketball Rankings


New Berlin West (16-1, 11-0, first)

Tip of Sky Cap: First-year coach Collin Thompson has his team on a 14-game winning streak, as Alyssa (Chubby) Nelson (15.4 pts), Morgan Henrichs (8.1 points, 5.5 rebs, 4.5 assts) and Maddie Fritz (7.9 pts) lead the way along with great defense.

New Berlin Eisenhower (11-5, 9-2 in second)

Tip of Sky Cap: Sophomore Julia Hintz (13 pts, 5 assts), Katie Ludwig (9.4 pts, 3.8 rebs) and Hannah Plockelman (8.0 pts, 7 rebs, 2 assts) have been consistent during the 2-game win streak, with two winnable games on the horizon.

Brookfield Central (7-7, 5-4, tied for third).

Tip of Sky Cap: Senior Leah Swenson has stepped up to help out senior Caroline Busch and freshman Anna Mortag offensively. But the best news of all, senior Claire Haynes has worked hard to return after a bad back injury and her leadership and timely play has been important. She had two key assists and a steal in the final minutes in the 48-43 win over Divine Savior Holy Angels.

Brookfield East (9-9, 4-6 tied for sixth)

Tip of Sky Cap: junior Molly DeValkenaere has been a steady influence (13 pts, 7 rebs), but junior Emma Ralfs (9.6 pts, 5.0 rebs, 3.1 assts, 3 steals) has been playing an excellent, consistent floor game. Brookfield East finally snapped a 6-game losing streak last week.

Wauwatosa East (12-4, 5-4 tied for third)

Tip of Sky Cap: Sophomore Brooklyn Blackburn tops the team (15.2 pts, 8.7 rebs and senior Johanna Taylor (9.8 pts, 7.1 reb) have played well. But the Red Raiders have lost two straight and they have Divine Savior Holy Angels (twice) and Menomonee Falls coming up.

Wauwatosa West (5-12, 2-9 fifth)

Tip of Sky Cap: To Dasia Davis, who tops the team in pts (11.0), rebs (8.7) and assts (2.4). Trojans approaching last year’s Woodland West win total (3) with two of the next three games very winnable. West must improve their defense, though.


Jan. 25 Ranking my Boys Prep Basketball Teams

1. Brookfield Central (13-1, 7-1) – The Lancers lack of height is starting to come to light a little more, but they still only have one loss. But they have impressive wins over Wisconsin Lutheran (58-47), Menomonee Falls (78-75) and Wauwatosa East (59-53) in the last 10 days.

Gage Malensek has continued to show why he is one of the best players in the area, scoring 49 points (16.3 ppg) and hitting 24-of-25 free throws as Central puts the ball in his hands down the stretch.

Junior Andres Peralta-Werns continues to step up his game (14, 16, 15) and sophomore Cole Nau has chipped in with 7 rebounds, 4 assists vs. Wisco, 19 points vs Falls and 7 points and 6 rebounds vs Tosa East.

They host Germantown (6-7) in the Luke Homan Memorial Showcase on Saturday and former Brookfield Central coach Mark Adams will be honored in a pre-game ceremony at 3:45 p.m. The host West Allis Central on Feb. 1.

2. New Berlin Eisenhower (8-5, 5-4) – Ike is starting to get their act together. Coach Dave Scheidegger has 4 solid starters in guards Bryce Miller and Bryce Wesling and forwards Sullivan Kulju and Matt Rolefson and plenty of solid depth.

The Lions have won two of their last three games, beating Brookfield East and Wauwatosa West and losing to powerful Pewaukee in a close game. This week they have Shorewood and Greenfield on Friday and Tuesday in conference games and face Wauwatosa East in the Luke Homan Memorial Showcase on Saturday night at 9 p.m. That game could affect my rankings next week.

3. Wauwatosa West (8-6, 4-4) – West gets the benefit of the doubt because they beat Wauwatosa East, but after watching the Red Raiders almost beat Brookfield Central on Tuesday, this could be reversed.

Coach Craig Stelse’s guys lost a thriller at Pius XI (71-67) and dropped their second game to Eisenhower (71-60), so I won’t hold that against them. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why they can’t beat the Lions.

Up next for the Trojans are Cudahy (1-7) and Brown Deer (7-2), with the latter game being an extremely telling game.

5. Wauwatosa East (7-7, 5-3) – The Red Raiders have lost two of their last three games, losing to Marquette and Brookfield Central. They had a bad first half against the Hilltoppers and were never in the game. They could have beat Brookfield Central, but missed 14 contested lay-ups. They rallied in the second half to beat Brookfield East.

The Red Raiders will see what they are made of, because they face three tough games in a row against Eisenhower on Saturday before hosting Marquette on Tuesday and Menomonee Falls on Friday.

5. Brookfield East (7-7, 5-3) – The Spartans lost close games to Eisenhower and Tosa East and then blew out West Allis Hale so they played better than the scoreboard showed. They face Menomonee Falls on Tuesday and Sussex Hamilton on Feb. 2 and the young Spartans continue to get their act together.

6. New Berlin West (4-8, 1-8) – With the loss of sophomore point guard Joe Robey to a leg injury, this is not the same Vikings team. Senior Fred Cottrell has taken on the bulk of the scoring load.

The Vikings lost to Greenfield and Pius XI to extend their losing streak to three games as Cottrell had 31 points in the two games.

Next up are winnable games with South Milwaukee, Holman and Shorewood as each team as one conference win.


Tosa West’s Dasia Davis – Helping to change the culture


Senior Dasia Davis, a key player on this season's Wauwatosa West girls basketball team, first discovered the game down in Mississippi.

Davis has helped first-year coach Gordon Nikolic change the culture at West, already surpassing last year's victory total (4-20) with a 5-10 overall record. The Trojans are already within one win of tying last year's Woodland West total (3-13) with a 2-7 record in conference play.

Davis, a transfer from Whitefish Bay Dominican, currently leads Tosa West in points (10.4 per game), rebounds (8.5), assists (2.5), steals (2.2), blocks (1.4), field goals, field goal attempts, free throws and free throw attempts.

"I saw my cousin Portia play in Mississippi," said Davis, who was in first grade at the time. "She was one of the best players on one of the best teams. She had courts by her house and we started shooting around. I enjoyed the thrill, the rush playing the game."

Not long after her brothers started playing basketball for middle school. Her dad was a coach and she started sitting in and watching their practices even though she was the smallest ones back then.

"They were in seventh grade and I was in first," Dasia said. "They were blocking my shots, but that's when I realized I wanted to be a basketball player. It's physical and I just like contact. I like to drive to the basket. Half of my shots were drives."

Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotos LLC

She first became interested in the school because of her cousin, Ania, who is is on the freshman team. Davis has been thrilled with her move to Tosa West and helping her new teammates begin to get back to respectability.

"I wanted to get them past four wins, help improve the program here," she said. "When people heard I was going to transfer here, they kind of talked down about the program. I told them you can't look at previous years and now we look to put Tosa on the map."

Davis had nothing but good things to say about Dominican.

"It is an excellent school academic-wise. It pushed me to do things that my middle school didn't. Basketball-wise the program was good. We had a solid team, but after three years I just needed a different look.

"It's been wonderful here. Academically I have the things I had at Dominican, so I could easily apply them here."

Davis was also accepted by the student body.

"The students are very nice," she said. "I was invited to sit at different tables. The basketball team I first met at fall ball. They were welcoming and when I first met them they were full of life. At the first open gym with the rest of the girls it was just fine. There wasn't any 'This is the new girl, we have to treat her different."

This will be Nikolic's fourth head coaching job, as he previously led the girls basketball programs at Cudahy and Burlington and spent one season as the boys basketball coach at Westosha Central.

From 1999-2010 he coached at Cudahy, where he had the most wins in program history with 146. He led the Packers to nine straight winning seasons from 2001-2010 and won regional championships in 2008 and 2009.

She is very aggressive, drives well, is a good rebounder. She anticipates the passing lane, so she’s a good passer. She’s our best defender. She just knows the game of basketball.”

- Coach Gordon Nikolic

Nikolic first met Dasia at open gym and he did see her play for her AAU team, the Playground Elite.

"She's a great kid, very coach-able to have," he said. "As a basketball player, she is a young lady who is aggressive. Right away I knew we were going to get along.

"Off the court she is quiet, well-mannered and can blend in with the crowd."

Being new to the Trojans, it is not often a player is called on for leadership.

Dasia sees Cheri'a Adams and Libby Fassbender, the other senior captains, as all having different leadership roles.

"Cheri'a is the more organized captain, Libby is the uplifting captain, I'm more the basketball athletic captain," Davis said, talking about her role on the court.

"On the court leadership is very important," she said. "Being aggressive, making sure that everyone touches the ball, trying to get everybody in the game. Just making sure that everybody on the court is ready to play basketball.

"Girls look at you on the court and see you as a leader and if you're on a downer, they might follow you. But I'm lucky enough to have a team that will lift me up. It rubs off on the other girls and that's what holds this team together."

Davis will play basketball at Ripon College after she graduates.

"It doesn't matter what grade that you started playing basketball, it just matters the time and effort that you put into it to get better," Dasia said. "A couple years ago playing college basketball wasn't even a thought. Then when I got to high school, people (including Allazia Blockton, sophomore at Marquette University) pushed me into thinking I could play college ball."

Nikolic spoke about Davis' strengths and weaknesses.

"She is very aggressive, drives well, is a good rebounder," he said. "She anticipates the passing lane, so she's a good passer. She's our best defender. She just knows the game of basketball.

"She will be seeing more double teams, so she has to be more patient. She's a better passer now."

Davis also knows what she is good at and what she needs to work on.

"Driving and finishing, just being aggressive," she said about her strengths. "But I have to develop my jump shot when I get a little stronger. When I went to visit Ripon I went to realize, 'Yeah, I'm not the biggest person. They told me I'm smaller, I like to drive a lot, but I'm going to get a lot of shots blocked. So that's why I realize I have to develop my jump shot more."

Davis, who is listed at 5-foot, 9 inches, is the second tallest Trojan, as two sophomores are listed at 5-10.

"Since I first started playing basketball all the way until eighth grade, I was one of the biggest on the team," Dasia said. "So I always played down low. Even when I got to high school. We had a 6-5 girl and she was pretty solid. And we had a 6-3 girl and our coach told me there was a chance I might never play post in high school."

Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotos LLC

​The roster actually lists Davis as a guard-forward-center, showing her versatility, something she had to deal with at Dominican.

"So for two years I played around the wing, but when one of those girls graduated I went back and played post. For AAU we had a 6-5 player and I never played down low. That drove me out to the wing."

Nikolic sees his team as a work in progress, as he tries to build a winning culture and maybe eventually make the regional finals.

And Dasia Davis will probably be a big part of any success the Trojans will have in the 2016-17 season.

Nikolic told Davis he expected a lot of her going into her one and only season at Tosa West.

"At the beginning of the year he told me "You're the one I expect to hold us together.' He expected me to drive more," Dasia said.

"He said 'I want you to score too. You could score 19-20, but I want you to distribute the ball, forcing the girls to score.' Now we have more balanced scoring."


  • FAVORITE FOOD: Spaghetti
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:  Friday, Comedies & Drama.
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW: Family Guy & American Dad
  • FAVORITE CLASS: Pre-Calculus & Spanish.
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED: Goodman, Mississippi.
  • WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX?  Watch TV, Listen to Music, Hang out with best friend.
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY/ATHLETE: Racine Prairie, Kenosha St. Joseph.
  • MOST MEMORABLE SPORTS MOMENT:  Career-high 26 points as a sophomore vs Martin Luther.
  • WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO IN THE FUTURE? Attend Ripon College, study Criminal Justice, Social Work or Physical Therapy.

Jan. 24 Ranking my Girls Prep Basketball Teams

1. New Berlin West (14-1, 9-0) – The state-ranked Lady Vikings beat Bay View, 67-38, in a non-conference game, and Greendale, 56-29, in league play. Alyssa (Chubby) Nelson (21 points) and Morgan Henrichs (7 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists) led the way vs. Bay. Henrichs (13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals), Nelson (12) and Lily Adkison (10 pts, 7 rebs) led the way vs the Panthers.

The Lady Vikings have big games with Pius XI and South Milwaukee this week.

2. New Berlin Eisenhower (9-5, 7-2) – The Lady Lions had a 4-game losing streak through Saturday, playing ranked King closely, 57-53, but getting blown out by Pewaukee, 61-33. Julia Hintz put on a show with 26 points vs. the Generals but no one reached double figures in the loss to Pewaukee.

Coach Gary Schmidt’s team faces Wauwatosa West and Shorewood this week and should get back on the winning track.

3. Wauwatosa East (12-2, 5-2) – The Red Raiders defeated Brookfield East, 48-35, in their only game of the week. Sophomore Brooklyn Blackburn had 12 points and an amazing 18 rebounds and Johanna Taylor had 11 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks.

The Red Raiders play Brookfield Central and Sussex Hamilton this week.

4. Brookfield Central (5-7, 3-4) – The Lady Lancers lost to Menomonee Falls, 53-42, last week and they face a tough schedule against Wauwatosa East and Divine Savior Holy Angels this week. Freshman Anna Mortag continues to improve as she had 22 points and Caroline Busch had 12 vs the Indians. Point guard Amanda Miller and forward Ellery Nordling as also picked up their games.

Claire Haynes, who suffered a severe injury (back) in the second game of the season, has been given the green light to slowly work her way back onto the court. Her presence and leadership alone could be a boost to this club.

5. Brookfield East (8-8, 3-5) – The Lady Spartans have a 5-game losing streak going with games against West Allis Hale and and West Allis Central this week. They need to get back on track or see a good season go down the drain.

They lost to Catholic Memorial, 53-37, and Tosa East, 48-35, last week. The Crusaders blew them out in the second half, 29-15. Molly DeValkenaere had 15 points, 8 rebs, 2 blocks, while Emma Ralfs had a good all around game (7 rebs, 6 assists, 4 steals). In the loss to Tosa East, Nikki Pink and DeValkenaere had 10 points each. The Red Raiders outscored them by 5 points in the first half and 8 in the second.

6. Wauwatosa West (5-10, 2-7) – Lost a 65-33 decision to Pius XI at home. Irene Phillips had 9 points, Margaret Radske had 8 and Cheri’a Adams had 7. Look for my feature on Dasia Davis, who leads the team in several categories, beginning on Thursday at

West plays New Berlin Eisenhower and at Cudahy this week. Trojans have lost 3 straight and 5 of 6.

Luke Homan Memorial Basketball Showcase

The Luke Homan Memorial Basketball Showcase will be held Saturday, January 28, 2017 at Brookfield Central High School.  This year marks the 10th anniversary for the holiday basketball tournament.  This will be the 1st year the tournament will be played in a showcase format after being run as a bracketed tournament in the past.

The 2017 Homan Showcase features 26 teams, including 5 ranked in the state polls.  In addition, it boasts several top players.

 Play begins at 10:30 am with Franklin facing Kettle Moraine Lutheran.  Franklin’s top player, Max Alba, is one of Wisconsin’s best all around athletes.  He is an all state performer in both football and baseball and is currently leading the Sabers in scoring.

Early afternoon action features a great match up of WIAA state tournament hopefuls.  Whitnall, a tournament participant in 2016, faces Cedarburg, which lost in a D2 Sectional final in 2016 at 2:30 pm.  Whitnall is led by Tyler Herro, a University of Wisconsin commit and also features Winona State (NCAA D2) commit Kevion TaylorCedarburg, coached by the legendary Tom Diener, features Junior John Diener, a DePaul University commit and senior Jordan Johnson, who currently has multiple offers from NCAA D2 schools.  Another afternoon game of interest matches Brown Deer and Racine Case.  Brown Deer enters the game with a high octane offense led by senior forward Jay Gentry as Case is led by senior guard Koreem Ozier, a D1 prospect averaging over 31 points per game.

 Headlining the list of other teams are Pius XI Catholic, with seniors Zach Zavada, Victor Nwagbaraocha & Michael Pitrof and juniors Preston Maccoux & Bilal Shabazz, Martin Luther, Sun Prairie, host Brookfield Central, Racine Horlick, and Racine Park with talented sophomores Nobal Days, Larry Canady, & Demonta Hudson. 

A list of some of the top players in the Showcase include:  Greg Foster, Jr. & Jack Quinleven of Homestead, Ryan Haertel of West Allis Hale, sophomores Traquan Carrington & Xavier Jones of Martin Luther, Jalen Johnson-one of the state’s top freshman, of Sun Prairie, Alex Setzer & Aidan Clarey-another top freshman- of Brookfield Academy, Kyle Chlow of Germantown, Marquis Milton of Racine Case, Sullivan Kulju of New Berlin Eisenhower.





All games played at Brookfield Central High School

10:30 AM                  Franklin vs. Kettle Moraine Lutheran*

11:00 AM                   Homestead vs. West Allis Hale

12:15 PM                   Martin Luther vs Messmer*

12:45 PM                   Brown Deer vs Racine Case

2:00 PM                    Sussex Hamilton vs Sun Prairie*


2:30 PM                    Whitnall vs Cedarburg

3:45 PM                    Grafton vs. Brookfield Academy*

4:15 PM                     Brookfield Central vs Germantown

5:30 PM                    Racine Horlick vs Greendale*

6:00 PM                    Marquette vs Pius XI Catholic

7:15 PM                     Milwaukee South vs West Allis Central*

7:45 PM                    Milwaukee Rufus King vs Racine Park

9:00 PM                    New Berlin Eisenhower vs Wauwatosa East*

*Brookfield Central Auxiliary Gym.


Ranking my Boys Prep Basketball Teams

Earlier this week I listed my Top 6 Girls Basketball Rankings for my teams in New Berlin, Brookfield and Wauwatosa. Today I will list my boys teams.


  1. Brookfield Central

The Lancers are currently 11-1 overall and are tied for first with Menomonee Falls in the Greater Metro Conference, each with 5-1 records. The Lancers host Falls on Friday night, with the winner taking the conference lead.

Senior big man Chris Post has stepped up lately, using his 6-foot, 2 inch frame to score inside and grabbed some rebounds for coach Dan Wandrey’s crew.


  1. New Berlin Eisenhower

I feel like I’m on coach Dave Scheidegger staff since I have covered the Lions four of my last six free-lance outings for CNINOW. The Lions are still trying to find themselves, as they are 7-4 overall and 4-3 in the rugged Woodland West.

The talent is there – Sullivan Kulju and Matt Rolefson up front – and shooting guards Bryce Miller and Bryce Wesling – but the Lions are still learning to consistently play together.


  1. Wauwatosa West

When it comes to talented basketball players, coach Chad Stelse takes a backseat to no one. Led by Alou Dillon, a 6-8 forward, who is one of the best in the area, averaging around 18 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks a game.

LaRon Perine, Javaree Jackson and Se’veon James all average around 10 points a game. Perine leads them with 23 3-pointers and Jackson averages over 8 rebounds. Toss in sophomore Marquiss Childs, senior John Franks, Paris Howell and Tyrone Powell and Stelse is blessed with talent.

The Trojans are 8-4 overall and 4-2 in the Woodland West which is being dominated by Pewaukee.


  1. Brookfield East

First year coach Joe Rox – except for his outstanding senior guard Jake Graf – has a line-up sprinkled with juniors, sophomores and freshmen.

Joining Graf in the line-up is last year’s starting center Patrick Cartier, a 6-6 junior who needs to shoot the ball more when he’s inside.

Freshmen Sam McGath and Michael Poker and sophomores Riley Le Tourneau and Thomas Francken and junior Peyton Simon give Rox some young talent to work with.

The Spartans are 6-6 and 4-2 in the Greater Metro Conference, where they were win less last season. They have won 3 of 4 games, losing to Eisenhower their last time out.

East plays Tosa East on Friday and I ranked them ahead of the Red Raiders because they beat Brookfield Central and Marquette earlier this year while Tosa East lost to those teams.


  1. Wauwatosa East

Like previously mentioned, Coach Tim Arndorfer’s team is 6-6 and 4-2 in the GMC. The Red Raiders have won two of three and four of six games and there are not a lot of familiar names in the line-up.

No one is averaging in double figures, but 7 players are averaging between 5.1 and 9.8 points per game.

Seniors who contribute are Blake Kratzer, Dane Mikkelson, Mark Cole and Elijah Flenorl. Juniors are Jalen Holley, Deshun Hunter and Mahlik Lindsey.


  1. New Berlin West

Coach Brandon Mattox continues to build his program at New Berlin West, but losing sophomore point guard Joe Robey with a knee injury 3-6 weeks) will set him back a bit.

The Vikings are 4-6, but only 1-6 in the Woodland West.

West needs seniors Fred Cottrell, Zach White and Hunter Pipik to pick up the slack with Robey out. All three can score and Pipik is a key rebounder.

Freshman Desmond Polk, a 6-3 guard, leads to run the show at point guard. He had a huge game against Eisenhower and broke the Vikings back to make a game of it down the stretch.

Matt Obradovich, a 6-5 senior forward, and Tyler Torosian, a 6-4 junior forward, must also step up.

Eisenhower’s Julia Hintz – Dealing with Pressure


Last season New Berlin Eisenhower freshman Julia Hintz started on a team which won the WIAA Girls State Division 2 Championship. When asked if she feels any pressure this season since she is considered by many the top returnee, the 5-foot-7 inch guard answers candidly.

"I feel more pressure," Hintz said. "It puts a lot of pressure on me and (junior guard) Katie (Ludwig) because we always have to have a good game on shooting and I think that's really hard. But Katie and I are doing well in getting the offense set and really ready for upcoming games."

Hintz is coming off a season where she was second-team All-Woodland as a freshman. She led the Lady Lions in free throw percentage (.761), 3-pointers (52), 3-pointer percentage (.423), 66 assists and 49 steals. She was second in points per game (8.5) and third in field goal percentage (534).

The Lady Lions are off to a good start with a 9-4 start, currently in second place (7-1) in the rugged Woodland West. Hintz is doing her part, as she tops the team in scoring (13 points), field goals made (57), free throw percentage (.920), 19 3-pointers, 49 assists (4.5) and 28 steals (2.5) and is fourth in rebounds (3.0).

The Lady Lions were an inside team last year with Player of the Year and Bradley recruit Chelsea Brackmann, a 6-2 forward, anchoring the offense. This season the offense has changed, with the pressure being on the perimeter people (mainly Hintz and Ludwig) to score.

Eisenhower coach Gary Schmidt and his assistant Andy Monfre are working on constantly making adjustments.

Photo by Tom "Sky" Skibosh

"Every coach, every year is dealt a new hand," Schmidt said. "Hintz, Ludwig and others key the offense. Our perimeter is important. We have to find that right combination.

"Julia and Katie can't keep getting open all the time. Teams have already thrown a triangle and two and a box and one at us. We as coaches are trying to adjust. We need to change the dimension and dynamics. We need to put more pressure on the opposition, get some easy buckets. That's why coaching is so exciting when you make those adjustments."

Looking back Hintz talked about starting as a freshman on a state championship team and how it has helped her the second time around.

"It was awesome," she said. "I expected nothing more just coming on the team and just having a season on varsity basketball, but it definitely helped me this year coming up. It helped me so much.

"I've definitely gained more confidence and it helped the team in general. Our team is doing a lot better from the start of the season. We have confidence coming into this season more than we had last season."

Julia's play didn't surprise Schmidt, who saw her come up through the system.

"I knew in fifth grade she was something special," he said. "She played up a grade all the time and I saw her development. I liked the way she was poised on the court. I was impressed with her ball handling and passing skills. She reminded me of Nicole Bauman (a former Ike player who went on to play at UW)."

Hintz got into basketball early since her father (Dan) coached her older brother (Anthony) and sister (Christina).

"He's the one who taught me and always went to the gym with me," Julia said. "He always rebounded my shot and really helped me. That's the person who taught me the game."

Her knowledge of basketball; she’s very intuitive, very smart She gives you an edge.”

Coach Gary Schmidt

Hintz first played organized ball in third grade with the Eisenhower youth program.

"The girls made it super fun," she said. "It was just an overall fun sport. Even if you weren't working out it was still fun."

Schmidt remembers Julia's maturity back in grade school.

"She stopped and talked to me in neighborhood in sixth grade," he recalled. "She was confident, but had no ego. Last year even the TV announcers at the state said she did not play like a freshman, she played like a junior to have that big of an impact."

Hintz, who also plays tennis (singles and doubles) for Eisenhower, had no doubts about playing basketball in high school.

Julia does see the Lady Lions improving and knows it's how you finish the season that's important. Eisenhower started 7-4 last year and finished with a 23-5 record, going 16-1 the rest of the way.

"We're definitely working on Erin (Hedman, 6-2 freshman) in the post and Hannah (Plockelman, 6-2 junior forward) is a lot stronger now. I think it will get there once this season ends. I'm feeling good with the offense. I like having the ball in my hands. It makes you more confident because you know the calls."

Schmidt feels that's one of Julia's attributes.

"Her knowledge of basketball; she's very intuitive, very smart," he said. "She gives you an edge. She recognizes a situation. She can put up 20 points, but she would sooner get others involved. She picked up on those little things that make players great."

Not surprising Hintz agrees with her coach.

"People think it's all about scoring, but I take pride in assists and I really want to get everyone involved. Getting assists is way more important than points and getting everyone else involved is definitely a strength I have."

Schmidt has also pounded home the point of how important defense is.

"Coach always tells us you can have an off-game on offense, but you can't have an off-game on defense. I think that really gets in our head. We always have to have a good game on defense."

Despite her impressive numbers, Julia had an interesting answer when asked what she needed to work on this year.

"I definitely need to work on shooting," she said. "That's a negative I have this year. My shot hasn't been all that well. I just have to stay confident and hopefully it will go. You just can't get down on yourself. If you miss a shot, you have to have a short-term memory and get back on defense, get a steal and take another shot when you're open."

When Schmidt was asked about what Hintz needed to work on, he took a while to answer.

"That's a good question," he said. "She's a good practice player. Of course, she wants the team to be good first. Maybe her mental aspect. She'll get down on herself because she wants to be perfect. But she can't go out every time and be perfect.

"She'll practice on her own. I try to tell her not to worry so much about being perfect. But she is constantly trying to get better. She feels people say 'I'm pretty good. But I can get better. Especially if I want to play at that next level.'

"She is always in the gym trying to perfect her game."

Photo by Tom "Sky" Skibosh

Despite being only a sophomore, Julia is considered a leader by Schmidt, who officially has seniors Jasmyn Somarsingh and Abby Szukalski and junior Ludwig with the captain titles.

"I don't want her to be forced into that role," he said. "But she is liked and respected by the people around her. People respect captains and on the court she is a leader without a doubt. She leads by example."

Schmidt flashed a big smile when asked what Julia was like off the court.

"She is a wonderful young lady, great personality," he said. "On and off the court she has a wonderful demeanor. She's a nice young lady and lot of fun. She's smart, good in school. She comes well prepared.

"It's uplifting as a coach. She is someone who has more fun practicing than just in a game."

Julia just feels having fun and winning go hand in hand.

"We always say in the locker room before games to have fun and after the games just smile," she said. "When you have fun, you have success."


  • FAVORITE MOVIE: Soul Surfer, Comedies & Horror.
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW: Disney Channel.
  • FAVORITE CLASS: Algebra.
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED: Riviera Maya, Mexico.
  • WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX?  Snapchat on phone.
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY/ATHLETE: Pewaukee, Pius XI, New Berlin West
  • MOST MEMORABLE SPORTS MOMENT:  Winning State Basketball Championship as a freshman.
  • WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO IN THE FUTURE? Attend college and play basketball.

Ranking my Girls Prep Basketball Teams

If you follow me on Twitter (@skyskibosh), you know I worked for CNINOW the past 14 years and retired on June 30. But I still free-lance for the paper/web site and my teams reside in Brookfield, New Berlin and Wauwatosa.

This week I wanted to rank my girls teams.

  1. New Berlin West (12-1)

The Lady Vikings sit on top of the Woodland West with an 8-0 record, having won 10 straight games going into a non-conference game with Bay View on Tuesday, Jan. 17.

West has three solid starters to lead this team, including two outstanding shooters in 5-foot, 8 inch guard Alyssa (Chubby) Nelson and 5-10 forward Maddie Fritz.  Senior Morgan Henrichs, a 5-9 forward, has been the straw that stirs the drink for the Lady Vikings according to assistant coach Jef Radtke.

“It depends on how Morgan plays,” Radtke told me before the West-Ike game on Jan. 13. “We go, how Morgan goes.”

Henrichs had a team-high 15 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals in the 41-33 win.

But first-year head coach Collin Thompson has plenty of depth in starters Ewelina Schlomann, a 5-8 senior guard, Lily Adkison, a 5-9 senior forward, and Skylar Berens, a 5-4 senior point guard, among other.

West has 8 games left, including battles with Pius XI (8-5, 6-2), Pewaukee (11-3, 5-3) and Eisenhower (9-3, 7-1).

  1. New Berlin Eisenhower

Coach Gary Schmidt’s team has lost two straight games to top-ranked Beaver Dam (13-0) and New Berlin West and face Milwaukee King (14-0) on Jan. 17.

Sophomore guard Julia Hintz and junior guard Katie Ludwig lead the backcourt-oriented offense, while Olivia Canady, a 5-8 junior guard, rounds out the backcourt.

Hannah Plockelman, 5-11 junior forward, and Jasmyn Somarsingh, a 6-1 senior forward, give the Lady Lions a solid post combination.

Schmidt has plenty more depth, but a possible difference-maker down the stretch is 6-2 freshman Erin Hedman, who moves well and has an outside shot like most guards. But she is still a freshman.

  1. Wauwatosa East

Coach Rob Hamell’s Red Raiders are 11-2 and in third place (4-2) in the Greater Metro Conference race.

Like the New Berlin teams, Wauwatosa East has a solid three-person trio to work with – led by sophomore Brooklyn Blackburn, a 6-0 guard/forward (15.3 points, 8.0 rebounds).

Johanna Taylor, a 6-2 senior post, averages 10.1 points and 6.8 rebs, and junior forward Eric Bueckers averages 7.1 points, 4.8 rebounds. Add Mariana Ibanez-Baldor, a 5-6 junior guard, who averages 8.2 points, 3.5 assists and a team-leading 22 3-pointers and you can see why Tosa East has only lost 2 games.

Junior guard/forward Molly Persin averages 6.4 points and is second in 3-pointers with 14. Sophomore guard Sydney Halstead (4.6 points) also contributes.

  1. Brookfield Central

The Lady Lancers have won 3 of 4 games to improve to 5-6 overall and are now 3-3 in conference play. They have a tough schedule coming up with Menomonee Falls (3-4), Tosa East and Divine Savior Holy Angels (5-1). They beat the Indians, but lost to the Red Raiders and Dashers.

With senior All-GMC forward Claire Haynes still out with injury, and senior All-GMC guard Caroline Busch, now Central’s second all-time scorer, coach Mallory Liebl needed some offensive help.

Expected to be the third wheel, freshman Anna Mortag (10.1 points, 5.4 rebounds) has stepped up to No. 2 to give Busch (15.3 points, 4.8 rebounds) some help. Mortag scored 15 points in the upset of Brookfield East, 16 against West Allis Hale and 17 vs Menomonee Falls.

  1. Brookfield East

The Lady Spartans are 8-6, but only 3-4 in the GMC. They should be ranked higher, but have lost 3 in a row and 4 of 5.

There are no seniors, but plenty of talent and I do expect them to get better as the season goes on. Molly DeValkenaere and Lizzy Cagle are two of the best big players in the area. Nikki Pink, Adriana Plavsic and Emma Ralfs are sharpshooting 3-point guards.

Experience comes by playing together for coach Michael Goodman’s squad.

  1. Wauwatosa West

The Lady Trojans are 5-9 overall, already surpassing last year’s win total (4) under first-year coach Gordon Nikolic, going 2-4 in conference play.

Senior Dasia Davis, a transfer from Dominican, leads the team with averages of 10.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists. Senior Cheri’a Adams, sophomore Irene Phillips, junior Emma Elliott and junior Emily Wagy give Nikolic some talent to play with as the Lady Trojans are deep, but must learn to play together.

East Looking for a leader – Molly DeValkenaere fills the role


Several coaches have come up to Brookfield East girls basketball coach Michael Goodman this year and told him how good his team will be next year.

"Heck, I think we're going to be good this year," the soft-spoken Goodman said.

The reason for this sort of thinking is the Lady Spartans have no seniors on this season's team. Goodman has 11 juniors, 2 sophomores and a freshman to call on.

But perhaps the best of the group is 6-foot forward Molly DeValkenaere according to Goodman.

"It starts with the drive that she has," he said. "Because I've known her since seventh grade, being honest I always felt that she was pretty good. She was their best player. She's a good basketball player but she's better people. She wants it. She wants to get better. She has become more coach-able I would say.

"Her work ethic is very good. She has to work on going left better. Work on more of an all around game. When her confidence is high then her outside game is good. Her inside game kind of drives the outside."

Goodman who would like to see her work on technique along with her athletic skills.

"She's good rebounder, but sometimes she uses her athletic ability too much," he said. "I want to see her be tougher. Box out a little bit more and then go get it. She has wonderful length, she is very athletic. In the 1-3-1 she's on top. In our press (diamond and one) she's up with our press, being able to move like a guard.

"She's running hard for 10 minutes and says 'Coach I need a break.' That's perfect. You should never come out unless you need a break."

Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotos LLC

And it all starts with DeValkenaere, who has been playing with some of her teammates since her fourth-grade Jr. Spartans days.

Molly didn't have to look hard for a role model. Her mom, Andrea, was a member of the Pius XI teams which had a 92-game win streak from 1988-1991. The Lady Popes won four straight W.I.S.S.A. State Titles, and were able to beat the best teams in Wisconsin and nationally.

"She was a huge basketball player in high school, so she encouraged me to do it," Molly said. "Obviously I love sports. It's (basketball) physical. It's an individual and a team game. You can show what you got and make an extra play and give another person a shot. I like being physical down low and then hit a shot from the outside."

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree as Goodman recalled when he first saw DeValkenaere play as a seventh-grade Jr. Spartan.

"I watched them play throughout the season," he said. "They went to state and finished in the Top 16. Molly was taller, but you always put that into context.

"Kids who are taller when they are younger you want to make sure they develop their whole game. Will they be the tallest one when they are older or vice versa? Will they be guards when they get older. Can they handle the ball?

"I saw we could develop a full game with her, inside, outside and she has really come along well."

Molly is averaging 12.4 and 7.8 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game in East's first 12 games (8-4).

Not having any seniors on this year's team led to an interesting answer from DeValkenaere when I asked about her goals this season.

I’m trying to be a leader and be on top of my team and help everyone be a success.”

- Molly DeValkenaere

"(One of) my personal goals was to become more of a leader because last year I was an underclassmen and still trying to fit in," she said. "I'm trying to be a leader and be on top of my team and help everyone be a success."

That answer didn't surprise Goodman.

"I told the girls at the beginning of the year 'We don't have any seniors; no one who can step in for you guys. There is no one we're looking for. This is it, right here. There a lot of girls who can do a lot of things, but we aren't the type of team where we have to get this one person involved. Molly is the closest one we have to that."

DeValkenaere has accepted her role.

"When the team is down, I want to pick them up; be loud and bring them together on the court, like on a free throw," she said. "If things went wrong I want to try and bring things back. If things aren't going their way I will be like 'Do this instead of this.' Help with little reminders.

"Leadership on the court is like the key thing. That's why you have to have a leader and have someone step up in order to play as team. You can't just have people play as individuals."

Goodman talked about way he has helped his team learn more about themselves.

"We have leadership council," he said. "We're doing a book study and get to know each other beyond the basketball court. A lot of things we have learned about each other allows me to coach them differently. Pretty much half this team has admitted they've let themselves get mentally down. You can see shoulders drop, their heads drop and Molly is one of them who admits to it.

"So we are working on staying positive and you have to take care of yourself first. She realizes she has to step up. Everyone is looking at her. She knows she can't have her shoulders drop or her eyes drop. She knows she can't let her energy drop because as soon as hers drops, so does the rest of the team."

Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotos LLC

The versatile DeValkenaere talked about her strengths on the basketball court and how she feels she can help the team.

"I feel that when I'm at the elbow, I'm a good mid-range shooter," she said, an excellent plus for a tall player. "I can get the ball and I can make the shot or take the ball to the hoop and make the strong lay-up. I feel that's one of my biggest strengths."

But Molly also enjoys getting her teammates involved, one of the reasons the Lady Spartans are off to a solid start.

"I like making the pass and helping others score and seeing the other person happy," she said.

Goodman talked about the fact that DeValkenaere is more than just a tall player.

"She is an athlete," he said. "She is more than a tall girl, who is someone you put underneath the basket and kind of hope they can protect the rim. Sometimes they are afraid to attack the rim, so they really shouldn't scare you. Molly does."

Goodman explained DeValkenaere and Cagle are athletes, which makes them a big part of the Lady Spartans' defense.

"Where we press and they're part of the press," he said. "If we switch screens and go from a post to a guard, they can handle the guards. I demand a lot from guards and posts. We worked on a different type of defense that forces them to come out to the 3-point line. There is no doubt in my mind they can do that and make it all work."

Molly, who would like to make all-conference and make it to state, feels winning conference is kind of like a two-year process.' She talked about this year's squad and everyone's roles and how they believe in each other.

"I post up on the block and I have to be able to come off the post and set a good screen, be able to roll and pop or hit a power lay-up," she said. "Lizzy and I are able to run a high-low and I'm able to get a pass down to her or she can get a pass down to me. We're both able to do that. I don't have to hope she catches. I know she will catch it. We've built a trust with each other that we'll be able to do that."

And the guards?

"Nickie Pink, Emma Ralfs and Adi Plavsic come off the ball and I'm able to kick it out to them and they're able to knock down that 3. They're our best shooters on the team.

"I feel like we're underdogs and people don't really see us coming. This is a brand-new team. People don't know who we are."


  • FAVORITE MUSIC/GROUP:  Country Music.
  • FAVORITE MOVIE: Comedies.
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW: New Girl on Netfix.
  • FAVORITE CLASS: AP Psychology.
  • WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX?  Hang out with friends, family, watch movies.
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY/ATHLETE: Brookfield Central, Divine Savior Holy Angels.
  • MOST MEMORABLE SPORTS MOMENT:  Making the game-winning shot vs. New Berlin West last year in 47-45 victory.
  • WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO IN THE FUTURE? Attend college, play basketball and be a nurse.

For Lancers Claire Haynes – It’s a long road back



There is an old saying - 'Whenever you make plans, Fate laughs.' Brookfield Central senior Claire Haynes had big plans for the 2016-17 girls basketball season.

She wanted to repeat being a All-Greater Metro Conference first-team performer. She wanted the Lancers to win the conference championship. She wanted to go to the WIAA State Championship Tournament.

All that was put on hold on Nov. 25 when she dove for a loose ball and a Germantown player fell on top of her and slammed a knee into Claire's back. As a result, She broke two transverse processes (small bony projections off the right and left side of each vertebrae in the lumbar 2 & 3 lower back). It is a not an injury you see on a basketball court.

Haynes recalled the incident recently.

"Right away I went 'Oh that hurts.' So I rolled over just to take a breath, try to regain my head and go 'Oh it's fine.' But I could not lift my head. I thought 'Oh my God' something is wrong.'

"They put me in a room and I could not get comfortable. I was in so much pain I passed out. It was so nice (passing out). I got kind of comfortable. They called the ambulance they had five of the nicest EMTs."

They went to the hospital she got a cat-scan, MRI, but she couldn't lift her head for the first two days. When all the tests were finished and finally diagnosed, Claire was told she would be OK.

"I'm so blessed," Claire said. "Sure I was (probably) missing my senior year of basketball, but I'm going to be OK."

Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotos LLC

Claire's mom Debbie recalled the moment like only a mother can.

"When they lifted her up and I saw her face that's when I knew it was pretty serious," Debbie said. "To see her in so much pain was scary. She is very tough. Seeing her in that much pain shook everybody up."

After the diagnosis was finally cleared up, Debbie had four words to describe her feelings.

"Numb, relieved, what's next?" she said after some thought.

What happened after that was what Claire Haynes is all about - a person who thinks of others first.

"I just wanted people to know I was going to be OK," she said, choking up while remembering the early days of the injury. "I didn't want them to worry. I knew people worried about me. I didn't want them to worry more. When you hear 'she broke her back' you wonder 'Is she going to walk again?'

"At first I didn't want to tell anyone (about how she felt). I wanted to get myself believing it so if they asked 'Oh my God are you OK?' I wanted to say 'Yeah, I'm fine.' I might be playing at the end of the season, I might not.' I want to play soccer (first-team All-GMC as a junior). Yes, the back injury is bad, but I got lucky."

"My teachers, my team, they were all really nice, but I was like 'Thank you, I'll be OK but I will kind of be laid up for awhile."

Debbie Haynes talked about people's response to her daughter's injury.

"I was proud of her," she said, pausing before adding. "I was touched by the outpouring. Not just from BC community but from other teams, other coaches.

"It was moving to see that kind of basketball family. Cards, text messages, emails, visits, phone calls. It was a tremendous outpouring from the community, not just the basketball community."

Debbie also made sure to reach out to the Brookfield Central administration and faculty.

"They were incredibly accommodating and supportive of her. They made the transition for her from home to school easier. The teachers have been amazing, giving her the time and support she needs. The administration had all of her accommodations set up before she went back.

"From a mother's perspective that was amazing."

Maybe in a few weeks I will be able to jog around and put up some shots. I’m doing really well. …Maybe I can see the court.”

- Claire Haynes

Claire talked about the long road back.

"I was in the hospital four days, learning how to use a walker," she said. "I had lots of visitors. My team was so nice, so understanding. I was able to get up the third day, lift my head up and sit up. On the fourth day I was walking with a walker and I was able to do stuff on my own. I was there four days, three nights."

The second week she was home, she had no school, just trying to walk. She did a lot of mall walking, to see how everything worked.

"I felt back to my normal self and felt great," Claire said. "It was a lot like any broken bone. It takes eight weeks for the bone to actually heal. It was actually the healing process of all the muscle and nerve damage I had, the doctor couldn't give me an exact date. Maybe I come back, maybe I don't.

"The third week I was at school for half days, trying to get back to normal to get caught up. The fourth week I started full days and PT (at Freedom Therapy), doing some biking.

"I had to wear a special brace, have a special chair with a high back, with a pillow. I had someone carry all my books around. All my teachers, all my friends were so nice about it. I slowly got better and now I'm practically normal."

Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotos LLC

Debbie talked about watching Claire go through what she has.

"As a mother, it's always difficult to watch your child struggle," she said. "Physically to relearn to do things, mentally to adjust her dreams and goals. It's hard, especially being her senior year. Knowing how much she was looking forward to it and how she was excited for the year.

"She has a great attitude, working hard, setting new goals for herself," she said. "Outside of when she was first injured, I have never seen her cry. Her thoughts are now with her teammates and the success that's ahead for them."

Not surprising Claire is still involved with the basketball team, which got off to a 3-5 overall start and 1-2 in the GMC.

She spends half the practice with the trainer (Greg Lucas, Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital) and biking. In the other half she is in the gym.

"I'm trying to make sure I'm current with it," she said. "The games, it hasn't gotten easier, but we've been better, which is all I can ask for. I'm happy I guess. Other people are stepping up and are really playing well.

"This injury put myself and everyone else in a tough situation. It's hard because I know what the situation would be if I was out there."

"I'm good, I'm busy, which finally feels good," she said. "I have to do my exercises, two-three times a day, an hour or so. At school I finally caught up. I can't go ice skating with my friends or sledding, but I've been able to spend more time with them.

"Maybe in a few weeks I will be able to jog around and put up some shots. I'm doing really well. I started working out elliptically which is really nice. We might want to do a little jump rope. Maybe I can see the court."

Claire has been a captain since her sophomore season. She still tries to help out with those duties any way she can.

"I do what I can - everyone still respects me," she said. "They know what I can do. But it's a lot harder when you are off the court to tell them this is what they can do better. I'm on the outside and see everything happening. Maybe I can change that in a few weeks."

Whatever happens, happens. But I will say this - I wouldn't bet against her.


  • FAVORITE FOOD: Anything Chocolate
  • FAVORITE MUSIC/GROUP:  Country Music.
  • FAVORITE MOVIE: Harry Potter Series.
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW: The Office, Friends.
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED: Boundary Waters, Canada (Church Camp).
  • MOST MEMORABLE SPORTS MOMENT:  My injury this year. But several good ones.
  • WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO IN THE FUTURE? Attend University of Minnesota. Major in College of Science & Engineering. Maybe take a double major in Spanish.