Chad Donahue survived his first season as Cudahy's head coach just fine, despite a 3-13 Woodland Conference record and 5-16 overall mark. He is already thinking about next season.
"Looking forward to next year, we have four starters coming back," Donahue said. "Some of the jayvee guys will fit in well."
Cudahy will be set at point guard with Tyler Abbrederis and shooting guard with Eric Miller. Center Derric Junakin also returns, as does power forward Teontae Morgan. Abbrederis, Miller and Junakin will be seniors, Morgan a sophomore.
"We were one of the youngest teams in the conference this year," Donahue said. "We're the only team in the conference that returns four starters."
The Packers' biggest problem this season was slow starts. They only scored in a double figures in the first quarter seven times, and three of those came during the first three games of the season.
"We have to get kids mentally ready to start games," Donahue said. "They were never really tight or nervous. I didn't think that was the problem; maybe just the opposite. They were a little too loose before games. They need to be a little more focused during pregame."
The Packers started 2-1, then lost nine in a row. Donahue was happy with the way his team played through the end of the season, even though the Packers went 2-6 to close the season.
"Coaches were even complimenting how hard we were still playing, even with the record down the way it is and losing a few kids along the way," Donahue said. "(New Berlin West coach) Jeff Lewiston e-mailed me and told me he was impressed with the guys and how hard they were still playing."
Donahue says good-bye to seniors Luke Demos, Jayme Gawrych, Alex Rejniak and Ryan Schmidt and Jim Trudeau.
"This year wasn't the best, but I'm looking forward to next year without a doubt," Donahue said. "I think the kids are, too.
Coach John Riggins has never experienced a season like the one recently completed. He would rather not go through one like it again.
The Rockets averaged 44 points a game, fewer than all but a half-dozen or schools in southeastern Wisconsin. The passed 50 four times and failed to break 40 eight times. They held opponents under 40 three times, but won just one of those games.
"That was a nemesis of ours the whole year," Riggins said. "If Andrew Windler had an occasional game where he didn't shoot it well, we really struggled to put the ball in the basket.
"I know we didn't finish around the basket. We missed a lot of easy ones, a lot of layups. We did not shoot the free throw well.
"I never had a team that had so many problems scoring in my tenure."
Riggins loses Windler and his 15.3 points a game as well as George Olson and his 7.5. Windler, an all-SEC pick, will attend Samford University in the fall.
"If (junior center) Randy McMahon can have a good spring and summer, which he really seems to be attuned to doing, I'm thinking he can hopefully contribute a little bit down low," Riggins said. "We need a full season from Jordan Kelser. He missed seven games for a variety of reasons. We need a full season out of him."
Riggins could also use help from current juniors Chris Baker, Boo Gottwald and Ben Lehrer.
"Bottom line is, we need to find guys who can put the ball in the basket," Riggins said.
In addition to Windler and Olson, South Milwaukee's other seniors are Jake Frey, Ryan Maass, Michael Lewis and Doolan Wesley.
It cannot be easy to stay interested when you are on your way to a 2-19 record, but St. Francis coach John Kloppenburg said his Mariners stayed with it all the way to the end.
"I give the kids a lot of credit because they always came to practice and practiced hard," Kloppenburg said. "They listened and went just as hard on the last day as they did the first day."
Kloppenburg had fun watching 5-foot-3-inch Alde Selenica, who scored 18 or more points nine times with a high of 24 in a two-point loss Greenfield on Feb. 25.
"He was double- and triple-teamed, saw box-and-one and rarely had only one person covering him," Kloppenburg said.
Selenica, an all-Woodland South Division pick, finished the season averaging a team-high 14.3 points a game.
Kloppenburg loses Selenica, as well as other seniors Cory Knapp, Robert Hovanec and Justin Taylor.
A junior core of Andy Schmidt (5.3 points a game), Ryan McSweeney (4.2) Lance Walker and Adrian Moreno will be back. Ryan Schmidt started all season and Ryan McSweeney took the place of Knapp when Knapp sprained an ankle with four games left in the regular season. Moreno and Walker also saw significant playing time.
Kloppenburg brought up junior Craig Ziarnik and sophomores Kellen Fuerstenau, Evan Domine and Mike Borzynski.
"Borzynski could end up emerging as the best out of all of them," Kloppenburg said of the 6-1 forward. "He's a slasher type. Very good athlete.
"I just really think if he gets into the gym and works at it over the summertime, he'll really flourish for us next season."
- Jerry Karpowicz,
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