With four of last seasonâ€™s top players gone, OHS boys rely heavily on Street, Susen
When the Ozaukee High School boysâ€™ basketball team took the court Tuesday, Nov. 13, for its season opener against Milwaukee Messmer, it did so without one of its best-ever players in Eric Hartnett.
In addition to being the Warriorsâ€™ all-time scoring leader, Hartnett was among their top career rebounders.
Ozaukee coach Isaiah Ketterhagen knows all too well that the graduation of Hartnett â€”along with teammates Patrick Kroening, Doug Grimm and Justin St. Peter â€” leaves big shoes to fill.
â€śIn Eric, we lost a reliable double-double performer every night, and we lost height,â€ť Ketterhagen said.
â€śIn Patrick, Doug and Justin, we lost outside scoring, strong guard play, athleticism and numbers.â€ť
Even so, Ketterhagen has proven talent back to lead the Warriors this season, albeit without depth. As of last week, they had just eight players on their varsity roster, including three sophomores â€śby necessity,â€ť he said.
Leading Ozaukeeâ€™s six letterwinners is senior Steve Street, a 6 foot-6 forward.
Street, now in his fourth varsity season, is a strong all-around player. Last year, he averaged 8.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 3 steals and 2.2 blocks per game on his way to All-Central Lakeshore Conference second-team honors.
Senior Colton Susen is the top returning guard for the Warriors. He averaged 4.2 points, 2.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game for a team that placed fourth in the conference with a 10-6 record.
â€śSteve and Colton are the most experienced, and I look to them to be leaders on and off the court,â€ť Ketterhagen said.
Ketterhagen is also counting on steady play from 6-3 Andy Richter, the teamâ€™s sole junior. He averaged 4.6 points and 2.5 rebounds per game last season.
â€śI think Andy Richter has great potential as a leader,â€ť Ketterhagen said.
â€śHe will lead by his play rather than vocally. I expect him to play a much more responsible role this year.â€ť
Ozaukeeâ€™s other team members are 6-foot seniors Alex Dieringer and Tyler Bares and sophomores Owen Miller, Hunter Radtke and Tony Street.
Dieringer, a forward, â€świll really be our physical leader. Heâ€™s a get-down-to-work kind of guy,â€ť Ketterhagen said.
â€śHe does all the little things that donâ€™t necessarily show up in the stats.â€ť
Bares, a guard, averaged 2.2 points a game a year ago.
â€śWe will be very young and inexperienced,â€ť Ketterhagen said.
â€śWe have some guys back at skilled positions but are going to struggle with depth, scoring consistency and interior strength and rebounding.â€ť
After having a pair of 6-6 players the last three seasons, the Warriors will have to work hard to offset their shortage of height. Besides the older Street, Richter is the teamâ€™s only player taller than 6-1.
After facing Messmer, Ozaukeeâ€™s next game will be Tuesday, Nov. 20, when it opens conference play with a 7:30 p.m. home contest against Sheboygan Christian.
The Warriors will have their work cut out for them in league games.
â€śThe CLC will be really tough for us this year,â€ť Ketterhagen said. â€śI see three teams competing for the top spot â€” Sheboygan Lutheran, Howards Grove and Oostburg. They are in a league of their own right now.â€ť
Ketterhagen is in his 10th year as Ozaukeeâ€™s head coach and has an 87-111 cumulative record.
Last year, the Warriors finished 16-10 overall and won a WIAA Division 4 regional title.
Image Information: STEVE STREET is the top returning player for the Ozaukee boysâ€™ basketball team. Photo by Sam Arendt