TRAILWAYS SOUTH CONFERENCE
Team: Conf., All
Palmyra-Eagle: 11-1, 18-6
Orfordville Parkview: 10-2, 17-7
Deerfield: 7-5, 12-13
Johnson Creek: 6-6, 10-13
Williams Bay: 6-6, 8-14
Madison Country Day: 2-10, 6-16
Madison Abundant Life/St. Ambrose: 0-12, 1-22
Top WIAA tournament performances: Orfordville Parkview lost to Belleville, 70-66, in D4 sectional semifinal.
RETURNING ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS
First team: None.
Second team: Tyler Haak, sr., Deerfield; Ben Venteicher, jr., Williams Bay.
Honorable mention: Nate Mannelli, sr., Williams Bay; Jaden Randall, jr., Williams Bay; Brandon Wilde, sr., Palmyra-Eagle.
1, Palmyra-Eagle; 2, Deerfield; 3, Williams Bay.
Palmyra-Eagle returns senior playmaker Brandon Wilde (4 ppg, 8.2 assists per game) and 6-6 senior Danny Hammond (7.5 ppg). … Williams Bay, under 18th-year coach Troy Nottestad, returns four starters, led by 6-3 junior Ben Venteicher (14.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and double-digit scorers Jaden Randall (10.3 ppg) and Nate Mannelli (10.7 ppg). … Orfordville Parkview faces a rebuilding season, with all five starters lost … Johnson Creek, under third-year coach Ryan Lind, returns senior starters Alex Garza (10 ppg) and Justin Swanson (7 ppg, 7 rpg).
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Coach: Dave Borgrud, 15th year (227-85).
Returning starters (2): Tyler Haak, 6-2, sr., F (16.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg); Clayton Mathweg, 6-0, jr., G (3.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg).
Other returning letterwinners (3): Sam VanderGrinten, 6-0, jr., F (3.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg); Reil Bonjour, 5-11, jr., G (2.8 ppg); Dayton Lasack, 6-1, so., F (1.3 ppg); Sean Gjermo, 6-3, jr., F (0.8 ppg); Cole Nehring, 5-10, sr., G (0.2 ppg); Christ Doyle, 5-10, sr., G (0.2 ppg).
Key fact: Senior Tyler Haak returns after averaging 16.6 points per game last season, the second-best mark in the Trailways South last year.
The lowdown: The Demons will need some surrounding pieces to step up and complement Haak if they expect to make a run at Palmyra-Eagle in the Trailways South. The graduation of Carson Knapp and Wills Manning will significantly hinder Deerfield’s ability to improve on their third-place conference finish last season.
Quotable: “We have depth with quality players, but don’t have the offensive firepower we’ve had in previous years,” Borgrud said.
Madison Abundant Life/St. Ambrose Challengers
Coach: Michael Thies, first year.
Returning starters (4): Seth Byington, 6-1, jr., G (8.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg); Phil Emmel, 6-1, sr., F (4.4ppg, 3.4 rpg); Caleb Gerry, 6-4, sr., F (3.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg); Ryan Rockwell, 5-10, sr., G (6.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg).
Other returning letterwinners (3): Brent Schmiesing, 5-5, so., G (4.3 ppg); Andrew Galvin, 5-10, jr., F (1.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg); Steven Loomans, 5-10, jr., G (0.1 ppg, 1.3 rpg).
Key fact: The Challengers have only notched one total victory in the last two seasons, building their program from the ground up.
The lowdown: Despite losing Michael Rhatican, their leading scorer from a year ago, enthusiasm is high for the Challengers with the experience they return this season. Seth Byington will look to improve upon his impressive sophomore year. Thies, a 1998 graduate of Abundant Life, will look to turn this program around in his first year as a head coach.
Quotable: “There is much enthusiasm about this year’s team and the direction the program is headed in future years,” Thies said.
Madison Country Day Prairie Hawks
Coach: Brian Lutz, first year.
Returning starters: None.
Other returning letterwinners (1): Colin Young, 6-3, so., F (4.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg).
Key fact: Head coach Brian Lutz brings 12 years of previous coaching experience to a program that earned only six wins a year ago.
The lowdown: The Prairie Hawks enter the 2019 season with some major questions. A large portion of the roster will be composed of freshmen and sophomores. Country Day has recruited a handful of players that did not play last year, and will hope to see some of those players develop into dependable pieces.
Quotable: “This year will be about establishing ourselves, developing a style, culture and identity and putting in place the necessary building blocks for future success,” Lutz said.