pandemic abruptly ended their season. ….
pandemic abruptly ended their season.
“It was out of our control,” Ewan said. “We had a good season and we can’t complain how it ended because there were plenty of other teams that had it end the same way. “We’re definitely proud (of what we accomplished).”
The boys all-star games this year are moving away from the North vs. South format. Players, instead, were selected to Red and White squads. Ewan is on a White team that includes Adam Diedrich of Hilbert, Caleb Williams of Wild Rose, Carter Lomas of Wauzeka-Steuben, Dylan Schmitt of Hustisford, Elijah Kollock of Almond-Bancroft, Ethan Breheim of Alma Center Lincoln, Grant Manke of Bangor, Nicholas Edge of Potosi, Peyton Moldenhauer of Randolph and Reece Rufer of Monticello.
The team’s head coach is Curt Lamb of Almond-Bancroft. His assistants are Spence Bunders of Almond-Bancroft and Jeff Murphy of Wild Rose.
Ewan and the Redmen played against Williams and Murphy of Wild Rose in the regional championship game March 7.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “It should be a lot of fun. Hopefully it doesn’t get canceled.”
The Red team, coached by Mercer’s Adam Miller, features Matthew Kissner of Pittsville, who Rib Lake defeated in its final game in the sectional semifinal round, Ethan Reis and Isaac Soumis of Thorp and the state’s leading scorer Jacob Ognacevic of Sheboygan Lutheran.
Ognacevic, Diedrich, Kissner, Lomas, Manke and Williams all were first-team Division 5 All-State picks by the WBCA.
Ewan said he has also been chosen to play for the Northern Wisconsin squad in the seventh annual Kiwanis Classic Border Bash, currently scheduled to be played June 3 in Ironwood, Mich. The WBCA game threw one wrinkle into his summer plans. If played on June 20, that is the day of his graduation party, so he’s fortunate the Division 5 game is at 9 a.m.
“I’ll be coming back right after my game probably,” he said.
Grunseth made the girls Division 5 North team after a standout four-year varsity run with Gilman that included a first-team All-Eastern Cloverbelt selection this year, two second-team awards and honorable mention as a freshman. She was named Gilman’s female Cloverbelt Conference Scholar Athlete for this year.
Grunseth averaged 13.9 points per game in 25 games played this season and made strong contributions in other statistical areas, pulling down 5.2 rebounds per game and collecting 3.8 assists and 3.1 steals per outing. She finished with 1,206 career points.
Rueth is the North’s head coach and he’ll be assisted by Tony Wilke of Loyal and Mike Schiszik of Elk Mound. The roster includes Julia Seidel and Jadelyn Ganski of state-qualifying Newman Catholic, Remi Geiger of Loyal, Madison Zimmer and Julianna Rosen of statequalifying Clear Lake, Anna Caswell of Wild Rose, Brianna Nelson of Eleva-Strum, Katelyn Slowik of Elcho and Madelyn Schlies of Wausaukee. Geiger, Nelson, Seidel and Zimmer were first-team All-State selections this season by the WBCA.
“It was interesting because when I first read (Rueth’s) message I was like, ‘why is he calling me?’” Grunseth said. “Then I listened to it and I was like, ‘wow, I didn’t think I was going to get picked.’ It’s interesting because Remi Geiger is on the team too and all these years we’ve been playing against each other. It’s going to be interesting to play with her for once. Two of the girls are from Clear Lake. I don’t know them personally but I’ve played against them. Two girls are from Newman Catholic, so I’ve seen them play before. All the rest I kinda know but I’ve never seen them play or anything.”
Grunseth was part of a Gilman team that went 18-7 this season, marking the program’s highest win total in 19 years. The team lost to Clear Lake in its first regional final appearance in 14 years.
“I can’t even put into words how grateful I am for all of the coaches that have been with me, all the players I’ve played with,” she said. “It’s crazy to think that once I was a freshman and now I’m a senior and I’m with a whole different team. Coming from a year when our basketball team was struggling to now where we’re getting to a regional championship game and finishing in the top of our conference made me feel like we made a difference. You can tell my freshman year, looking at the people in the crowd, compared to senior year in playoffs when everybody was there, there were no seats available. It just makes you feel good about the community coming out and supporting you. So many people come up to you after the game and say, ‘good job.’ It makes you feel really good about what you’re doing for a small town.”
Players are required to raise a minimum of $500 each that will be donated to the MACC Fund. Since the All-Star Games started in 1978, they’ve raised over $2.8 million for the MACC Fund. When the games started, the success rate of saving a child with cancer was near 10%. Now, with the help of the WBCA All-Star games and many others, the success rate of saving a child is about 80%.
“I’m trying to raise as much money as I can for this cause. It’s all really cool,” Grunseth said.
Grunseth is Gilman’s first WBCA All- Star since Nicole Johnson played in the Division 4 girls game and Jacob Doro and Michael Mudgett played in the Division 4 boys game in 2007. Ewan is Rib Lake’s first since Katie Cardey in 2018. Daniel Petkau was Rib Lake’s last boys all-star in 2011.
All-GNC coaching staff
Brown was picked for his post on the Division 2 White boys coaching staff by Lakeland’s Rich Fortier, who will serve as the head coach. Lakeland assistant Brian Maki rounds out the staff.
“I was just honored that (Fortier) would think of me and he wanted me to be able to work with him and help run the practices and just help be a part of this whole process,” Brown said. “I’m super excited about it. We’ve had a great relationship, he’s always been very complementary of what we do when we talk in and out of season. I know we’ll get along real well and it should be a fun time.”
The White team includes University of Wisconsin recruit Jordan Davis as Terrance Thompson of La Crosse Central, Michael Casper of Merrill, Logan Jedwabny of Kaukauna, Jourdan Weddle of Milwaukee Lutheran, James Monogue of Jefferson, Jacksun Hamilton of La Crosse Logan, Garret Locy of New London, Adam Hobson of Stoughton and 2018-19 Great Northern Conference Player of the Year Luke Spink of Mosinee.
The Red team, coached by Seymour’s Jon Murphy, includes Wausau East’s Gabe Krueger, New Richmond’s Joey Kidder and Seymour’s Riley Murphy, all players Medford faced this season, and first-team All-State picks Carson Arenz and Tyrell Stuttley of Onalaska and Johnny Davis of La Crosse Central, the state’s Mr. Basketball for 2019-20 and another Wisconsin Badger recruit. Brown said there are rumblings Johnny Davis is not going to play in the game, but his twin brother Jordan sounds committed to playing for the White team.
“I’m excited,” Brown said. “It’s always fun to see kids that just love to play basketball and interact with, especially some of these kids I’ve coached against, so to interact with them in a different way and see how they are on and off the floor. It’s probably the best part about coaching is just building relationships with the kids you get to coach and even other kids that you’ve coached through something like this, through a camp or through an AAU program. It’s just fun to see who they are and how they continue to develop even after they leave high school.”
Brown was named the Great Northern Conference’s Coach of the Year for the second time this past season after leading Medford to a perfect 12-0 league record and a 19-5 record overall. Since taking over the Raiders’ program in the middle of the 2014-15 season, Brown’s teams are 80-53 overall and 41-27 in the GNC with two conference titles and one regional championship.
“I don’t think practices will quite be like the practices I would normally have,” Brown kidded about the days leading up the all-star game. “I don’t know how much time will be spent on boxing out or sink-and-fill rotations. But it will be fun to get to know a different group of kids and coach them and just see what we can do with a bunch of high-level players. It’s more about getting guys out there and having fun.”
Coaches are asked to raise a minimum of $750 to donate to the MACC Fund.
“I think last year they raised over $200,000 for the MACC Fund. It’s a good thing,” Brown said, noting that he’s guessing with the current pandemic, kids and coaches are likely having a tougher time than normal finding donations. “It hopefully won’t be too much of an issue because you still want the kids to be able to go out there and play and have the opportunity. I personally wouldn’t want that to hold them back, especially with the current situation.”
Katie Messman was Medford’s last WBCA All-Star in 2013. Paul Henrichs was the last Medford boy selected way back in 2002. Medford’s Paul Woletz and Bryce Kelley coached the 2005 Division 2 girls North team.