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Late fade leaves GHS girls looking for answers PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Steve Ostermann   
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 17:04

Inability to protect lead against Germantown extends Hawks’ home losing streak

Things looked quite rosy for the Grafton girls’ basketball team late in the third quarter of a North Shore Conference game last Friday.

With less than 30 seconds left, guard Kaitlyn Brandenburg sank a pair of free throws that put the Black Hawks up, 40-32, and seemingly in control against Germantown.

But that’s when the home team’s highlight reel ran out.

Fueled by the high-energy play of guard Melissa Klemm and center Eliza Wortman, Germantown quickly wiped out the deficit and roared to a 58-47 victory that
stunned the home fans and left Grafton coach Bob Maronde shaking his head.

“We just seemed gassed in the fourth quarter,” said Maronde, whose team lost for the fourth straight time at home and fell to 3-3 in conference play.

“We’re not a veteran team, and we just don’t have the feel and understanding of when to control the ball and when to go out and attack.”

It was Germantown that did nearly all the attacking down the stretch. The Warhawks (4-2) started a 26-7 run that closed the game with a three-pointer by Klemm
in the final seconds of the third quarter that pulled them within 40-35.

During the final period, the 6-foot-2-inch Wortman took over inside and scored 11 of her 14 points for the game. She went 7-for-9 at the free-throw line in the
final seven minutes as Grafton struggled to stay in contention.

The Black Hawks pulled within 51-47 with 2:23 left on two free throws by Emily Fatla but couldn’t score again during a flurry of hurried layups and three-point tries.

“We had an eight-point lead and then we let Klemm take an open three in the corner,” Maronde said. “We didn’t guard them, and it really cost us.”

Klemm, a senior, did most of the damage by repeatedly answering each Grafton run with a basket of her own. Her game-high 18 points included nine in each half, and she had eight steals and four assists.

Wortman, the Warhawks’ best front-line player, failed to score in the first half before breaking loose the rest of the way.

The Black Hawks, who had a four-game winning streak snapped and fell to 7-4 overall, were led by Myranda Tyler’s 11 points.

Abbey Benzschawel and Hannah Eichler added nine and eight points, respectively, but Grafton was missing a leader at crunch time.

The Black Hawks also struggled against Germantown’s trapping defensive pressure and turned the ball over repeatedly.

“Germantown has a very good team that’s senior dominated,” Maronde said. “We just didn’t have the answers.”

Grafton will try to get back on track this Friday when it hosts Port Washington (1-5) at 5:45 p.m. The game will be part of a co-ed doubleheader that includes
the boys’ contest at 7:30 p.m.

 
Home mats keep Warriors sharp PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Mitch Maersch   
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:53

 

Strong individual efforts help Ozaukee hang tough in own duals tournament

A senior and a freshman both posted 5-0 records and five other wrestlers went 4-1 to help the Ozaukee Warriors hold their own in a home duals tournament last Saturday.

Ozaukee finished with a 3-2 meet record in the round-robin competition.

The Warriors defeated Lake Mills (52-24), Homestead (44-35) and Arrowhead (54-30) and lost to Merrill (39-33) and Oshkosh West (46-34).

“We usually wrestle pretty well in our gym,” Ozaukee co-coach Luke Gundrum said.

Senior Pat Leonard excelled at 140 pounds for the Warriors by pinning four opponents and defeating Jack Osness of Merrill, 9-4.

Leonard pinned Blaise Holter of Homestead (in 40 seconds), Jack Neuens of Lake Mills (1:10), Arrowhead’s Curtis Corlett (1:12) and Luke Lubenow of Oshkosh West (1:40).

“Pat had a good day. He probably wrestled the best he’s wrestled this year,” Gundrum said.

Ozaukee freshman Ian Hughes (103 pounds) pinned Arrowhead’s Peter Rowe in 4:59 and scored a 17-4 major decision over Frank Frassetto of Oshkosh West.

Hughes’ other wins came on forfeits.

Going 4-1 for the Warriors were freshman Ethan Brouillette (119), junior Brady Watry (125), senior Matt Stockwell (135), senior Scott Watry (145) and junior Vince Cardarelle (152).

Brady Watry “had a pretty decent weight class with some pretty tough kids in there,” Gundrum said.

“He’s probably wrestling as well as he has this year.”

Gundrum singled out Watry’s 8-7 win over Homestead’s Spencer Bold.

“Brady came through with a big win against a pretty tough kid. It was one of the best matches of the day,” he said.

Ozaukee forfeited matches at 160, 171 and 189 pounds. If the Warriors had wrestlers at those weights, the outcomes of their two team losses may have been
different.

“It’s hard to come back from that. You start duals down by 18 points,” Gundrum said.

Arrowhead entered its junior-varsity squad in the tournament after West Bend West dropped out at the last minute, Gundrum said.

Ozaukee 52, Cedar Grove-Belgium 21

The Warriors won easily in a forfeit-filled Central Lakeshore Conference meet at home Jan. 14.

Ozaukee won six matches by forfeit and the Rockets won one. At 189, neither team had a wrestler.

“We’re struggling a little bit with numbers and they’re struggling a little more,” Gundrum said.

The best match was at 119 pounds, where Cedar Grove-Belgium’s Zach Schulz edged Ethan Brouillette, 7-5, in overtime.

In matches won by Ozaukee, Alex Thill (130) defeated Zach Peiffer, 13-0; Stockwell (140) pinned Eric Pribernow in 42 seconds; and Scott Watry (152) pinned
Xorge Mendoza in 1:34.

Winning for the Rockets were Dalton Peiffer (135), who pinned Andrew Lorge in 3:51, and Matt Mueller (215), who pinned Ben Brouillette in 2:56.

Ozaukee 48, Oshkosh Lourdes 31

The Warriors prevailed Jan. 12 in a nonconference makeup meet that had been postponed Jan. 7 due to snow.

There were eight pins and four forfeits in the meet.

“That was kind of feast or famine. Not a lot of six-minute matches,” Gundrum said.

Lourdes was missing two wrestlers who are state-qualifier caliber, Gundrum said. The outcome of the meet might  have been different with those two in the lineup, he added.

Six Warriors won by pin — Scott Watry in 1:08, Cardarelle in 55 seconds, Ethan Brouillette in 2:53, Brady Watry in 1:15, Thill in 55 seconds and Stockwell in 38 seconds.

Ozaukee is now on a 12-day break from competition.

“It gives us a chance to push a little bit here. We’ll have some pretty tough practices this week,” Gundrum said.

The Warriors will take a 3-0 record in conference duals into a Jan. 28 meet at Oostburg.

The overall conference team title is determined by combining dual-meet records and conference tournament finishes.

If the Warriors remain undefeated in dual meets, they will enter the Feb. 6 tournament with the No. 1 seed. They could finish second in the tournament and still
win the conference title.

Cedar Grove-Belgium’s next meet will be Jan. 28, when it hosts Random Lake.

On Jan. 30, the Rockets will wrestle in the Deerfield Invitational while Ozaukee participates in the Pewaukee Invitational.


OZAUKEE’S ETHAN BROUILLETTE held the upper hand against Eric Brill of Merrill during last Saturday’s Ozaukee Duals tournament. Brouillette won by pin.         Photo by Sam Arendt
 
Friends, rivals and record setters PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Steve Ostermann   
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 16:36

Port’s Gasser, Cedarburg’s Rank forge special bond while traveling shared path to basketball excellence

It was one of those take-no-prisoners scenes.

Midway through the second half of the Port Washington boys’ basketball team’s road game Jan. 8, Cedarburg’s Chip Rank went after a rebound with a pair of opponents in front of him.

Rank landed in a heap, draped over Port’s Josh Gasser, a player he’s tangled with many times before.

Amid a few catcalls from the Port crowd, Rank was whistled for a foul, but he got up, helped Gasser to his feet — and on went the game.

“We’re friends, but we like to compete,” Rank said afterward. “We always play hard.”

Gasser got the last word that night, scoring a game-high 27 points in leading the Pirates to a 58-44 win. Rank had 16 points for the Bulldogs, who fell short after upsetting Port on the same court last season.

“It’s always a challenge to play against Cedarburg, especially with Chip,” Gasser said. “He’s their best player, so we had to do what we could to stop him.”

Rank is also one of Gasser’s best pals.

The two seniors first squared off on a basketball court when they were in fourth grade — playing for different teams from different towns with little in common other than every boy’s dream of becoming a standout athlete.

Eight years, dozens of games and countless exchanges of baskets, bumps and bruises later, the dream lives on.

So does a friendship between teens whose shared path to success has forever linked them as rivals, teammates and record setters.

For Gasser, the road has led to a pinnacle in Port sports history. At the end of this basketball season, the 6-foot-4-inch guard will cap a four-year varsity career as his team’s all-time scoring leader, a record that stood for 56 years until he broke it as a junior. After last Friday’s game against Homestead, he had 1,454 career points.

This fall, Gasser will take his talents to the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a scholarship player on the men’s basketball team.

Rank’s legacy as one of the top athletes in Cedarburg High School history has led him to the No. 1 spot on the Bulldog boys’ career scoring list.

Last weekend, the 6-6 forward scored 22 points against Whitefish Bay and moved into a tie with Jack Friess for the school record with 1,161 points. With his first point this Friday at home against Nicolet, Rank will break a mark that has stood for 43 years.

Like Gasser, Rank will take his basketball skills to a Division 1 college program, having accepted a scholarship from the University of Northern Iowa.

The similarities between Rank and Gasser don’t end there.

They’re both honor students who were recruited for basketball by several of the same colleges, including Northwestern and Northern Iowa, and excelled as quarterbacks on their school’s football teams.

Rank received offers from several Division I college football programs before opting for basketball.

Gasser had an outstanding football season as a junior but was sidelined all of last fall after injuring an ankle while playing on a summer basketball team with Rank. The two have been on the same Wisconsin Swing AAU squad for three years, ever since Rank recruited Gasser to become his teammate.

“I saw him play at the (WIAA) state tournament as a freshman and asked him to join,” said Rank, whose real first name is Charles. “We needed a point guard on Swing, and I thought he would be good.”

Both players have been more than good. During the summers, they’ve helped their AAU team win several tournaments.

This season, they’re each averaging more than 22 points per game, which puts them among the top 10 high school players in southeastern Wisconsin. But they’re receiving even higher marks for intangible assets.

“Josh is a great athlete who’s talented, extremely respectful and leads by example, just like Chip,” Port basketball coach John Bunyan said.

“They’re both unselfish. Whenever they have the ball, they look for their teammates first. They play the game the way it should be played.”

It didn’t take Nick Weisse, Cedarburg’s first-year boys’ coach, long to notice the same thing.

“Chip isn’t a holler guy. He doesn’t run around and yell at people, even though I wish he was more assertive with his teammates at times,” Weisse said.

“Chip just tries to find ways to make everyone on the team better. I think Josh is the same way. They’re not bold and brash. They’re both the real thing.”

When they started out as rivals on youth basketball teams coached by their fathers, Gasser and Rank didn’t suspect they would become the glue in a bond between families. After years of watching their sons play against each other, Pat and Joan Gasser and Scott and Carrie “Beetle” Rank found themselves joining
forces on road trips to AAU games and college visits.

“We’ve gotten pretty close to the Ranks,” said Pat Gasser, one of Bunyan’s assistant coaches. “At first, I don’t think we really liked each other because the boys were always trying to beat one another.

“But by the time they got to high school, they were playing together more than they were against each other. It’s been a lot of fun watching them both.”

Fun is also the operative word for both players, whose outlook reflects a love of sports and a respect for their opponents as much as a desire to win. When asked who’s better with a basketball, they laughed and pointed at each other.

“Chip is really good,” Josh Gasser said. “He’s a better post player than I am, and he’s tougher physically, but I probably have a better perimeter game because that’s my role on the team.”

To Chip Rank, Port has a guard who makes everyone around him better.

“Josh sets up his teammates a lot, which makes him so tough to stop,” he said. “He can also get a shot anytime he wants. I have to work harder for mine.”

Friendly competition has helped both players improve their games.

“They are definitely two peas in a pod,” Scott Rank said. “Besides playing on the same AAU team, they’ve spent a lot of time together on trips and practicing in the summer. They’ve had some free-throw contests where they just kept making them nonstop.”

Communication between the players has been as steady as their shared workouts.

“What’s really nice is that they have had each other to talk to,” Carrie Rank said. “All through this recruiting, Josh and Chip have been bouncing things off each other to find out what they think.

“It’s not a one-upmanship but a way to help them keep things in perspective.”

The perspective includes remembering that sports is only one part of a student-athlete’s life. Stories about Gasser and Rank being courteous, friendly,
accommodating young adults are easy to find among their coaches and teachers.

“I think there are some amazing parallels with these two kids,” said Brian Leair, Cedarburg High School’s athletic director and football coach.

“They’re tough, they’re talented, and they both want to be the best they can be. They’re the kind of kids you want to see playing for your team and your school.”

Although their high school athletic careers will come to a close in a few months, these players see no end to their friendship.

“We enjoy a lot of the same things and will stay in touch. We text a lot,” Josh Gasser said.

As an appropriate send-off, they’ve planned a shared graduation party in spring. Just to be fair, though, they picked a neutral playing venue.

It will be at Lime Kiln Park in Grafton “because that’s halfway between Port Washington and Cedarburg,” they said.


SMILES ASIDE, there’s no backing down for Port Washington’s Josh Gasser (left) and Cedarburg’s Chip Rank when they square off on the basketball court. The senior standouts have played against each other since they were in fourth grade . Photo by Sam Arendt

 

 
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