Winter Sports Profile: Merrill Boys Basketball go from hunter to hunted
Head Coach: Jake Schalow – 2nd Year
Assistant Coaches: Robin Smith – 10th Year, Tom Curry – 1st Year, Tom Andreska – 8th Year, Jay Peterson – 22nd Year.
2016/17 Record: 13-9, 6-6 in conference.
2016/17 Post Season: Lost to Rhinelander in Regional Semi-Final 57-54
SR – Zach Mootz – 1st Team All Conference
SR – Jared Ollhoff – Honorable Mention All Conference
Key Returners: Zach Mootz – SR, Jared Ollhoff – SR, Kade Bonnell – SR, Tyler Baade – SR, Logan Bennett – SR, Nate Grefe – SR, Brant Raleigh – SR, Quinn Steckbauer – JR, Chase Bonnell – JR, Kordell Renken – JR.
Key Losses: Ben Tabor – Forward, Jon Gruetzmacher – Post, Cody Kleinschmidt – Forward.
Key Newcomers: Michael Casper – Guard, Caleb Timm – Post.
2016/17 Recap: “We made some strides from the start of the year to end. It was a little bit of a roller coaster ride, we had two winning streaks of five or more games but also had a four-game losing streak mixed in. Our biggest win of the year was beating Marshfield at their place at the end of January. We finally played a complete game on both ends of the floor and finished the game out by making free throws to seal the win,” coach Schalow states.
2016/17 Outlook: “I believe that we will take another step forward this year,” coach Schalow said. “We are returning a big group of players from last year’s team, and also have added a couple of underclassmen who will contribute. We have raised our strength of schedule this year, playing three non-conference games in invite showcase shootouts, two of which finished last season ranked in the top five of the state for Division 2. We will rely heavily on our returning nucleus of players who started and played a lot of minutes last season. I believe that we will have more depth at many positions as well, which is a testament to the work that the players have put in throughout the off season.”
A Final Word From The Coach: “We enter this season with a different outlook on the season. With a new system and no returning starters, last season we were picked to finish last in the conference, but we fought and scrapped our way to a 6-6 finish which put us tied for third. This season we come in projected to finish third. We have six players returning from last year’s team who played many minutes, and a team that understands our system. Our biggest adjustment will be going from the ‘hunter’ to the ‘hunted.’ We will need to continue to get better each day, but we have a team full of players who are working very hard at it. Come out and support your Merrill BlueJays!”
Merrill Boys Basketball Schedule 2017-18
Friday, Dec 1, 2017 – vs. Antigo, 7:15 pm
Tuesday, Dec 5, 2017 – vs. Hortonville, 7:15 pm
Saturday, Dec 9, 2017 – @ Kaukauna, 2:45 pm
Tuesday, Dec 12, 2017 – vs. Wausau East, 6 pm
Friday, Dec 15, 2017 – vs. Wausau West 7:15 pm
Tuesday, Dec 19, 2017 – @ Marshfield, 7:15 pm
Thursday, Dec 21, 2017 – @ Medford, 7:15 pm
Wednesday, Dec 27, 2017 – vs. Luxemberg-Casco, @ Kress Center, Green Bay, 5:30 pm
Thursday, Dec 28, 2017 – vs. Beaver Dam, @ Kress Center, Green Bay, 12:05 pm
Tuesday, Jan 2, 2018 – vs. Lakeland Union High School, 7:15 pm
Friday, Jan 5, 2018 – vs. SPASH, 7:15 pm
Tuesday, Jan 9, 2018 – @ Wisconsin Rapids, 7:15 pm
Friday, Jan 19, 2018 – @ D.C. Everest, 7:15 pm
Tuesday, Jan 23, 2018 – @ Wausau East, 7:45 pm
Friday, Jan 26, 2018 – @ Wausau West, 7:45 pm
Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 – vs. Marshfield, 7:15 pm
Friday, Feb 2, 2018 – @ SPASH, 7:15 pm
Tuesday, Feb 6, 2018 – @ Rhinelander, 7:15 pm
Friday, Feb 9, 2018 – vs. Wisconsin Rapids, 7:15 pm
Tuesday, Feb 13, 2018 – vs. D.C. Everest, 7:15 pm
Monday, Feb 19, 2018 – vs. Mosinee, 7:15 pm
Tuesday, Feb 20, 2018 – @ Shawano, 7:15 pm