CAPITOL NORTH CONFERENCE
Team: Conf., All
Lakeside Lutheran: 9-1, 17-4
Lake Mills: 8-2, 18-6
Watertown Luther Prep: 6-4, 14-10
Lodi: 4-6, 11-13
Columbus: 3-7, 13-12
Poynette: 0-10, 3-19
Top WIAA tournament performances: Lakeside Lutheran lost to Martin Luther 67-33 in D3 regional finals
RETURNING ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS
First team: None.
Second team: Jack Persike, sr., Lodi; Ben Emler, sr., Columbus; Charlie Bender, jr., Lake Mills; Adam Moen, jr., Lake Mills.
Honorable mention: Matt Johnson, sr., Lake Mills.
1, Lake Mills; 2, Lodi; 3, Lakeside Lutheran.
Coach: Ben Schambow, 10th year (110-128).
Returning starters (2): Ben Emler, 6-5, sr., F/C (17 ppg, 8.5 rpg); Caden Bieker, 6-0, sr., G (7.9 ppg)
Other returning letterwinners (7): Alex Campbell, 5-9, sr., G (3.9 ppg); Caden Brunell, 5-9, jr., G (3.6 ppg); Connor Schroeder, 6-5, sr., F (2.7 ppg); William Cotter, 6-2, jr., F (2.0 ppg); Evan Anderson, 5-10, sr., G; Ryan Schulte, 5-9, sr., G; Zach Osgood, 5-10, sr., G.
Key fact: Emler passed 1,000 career points and could break the all-time school scoring record with a big senior season.
The lowdown: Emler, one of the top players in the conference, will be leaned on heavily for offensive production after the Cardinals lost a large chunk of their scoring punch to graduation. The Cardinals won’t necessarily be a bottom-rung team, but they aren’t projected to challenge for the title. “We will have a lot of holes to fill,” Schambow said. “We lose almost 70 percent of our offensive output, so we’ll need minutes and points to come from players who haven’t seen a lot of experience.”
Quotable: “We’ll need consistent scoring from our guards this year to take some pressure off of Emler,” Schambow said. “We’d like to pick up the tempo of our team since I believe we’ll be fairly deep off the bench.”
Lake Mills L-Cats
Coach: Steve Hicklin, eighth year (133-39).
Returning starters (4): Matt Johnson, 6-1, sr., G (11.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.9 apg); Mike Herrington, 6-1, sr, G (8.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 3.1 apg); Charlie Bender, 6-2, jr., G (11.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.4 apg); Adam Moen, 6-3, jr., F (10.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.0 apg).
Other returning letterwinners (7): Eli Wagner, 5-7, sr., G; Kyle Templin, 5-10, sr., G (0.3 ppg, 0.4 rpg); Mike Sehmer, 6-1, sr., G; Jaxson Retrum, 6-4, jr., F (5.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 0.8 apg); Drew Stoddard, 5-11, jr., G (5.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.0 apg); Grant Horkan, 6-1, jr., F (1.8 ppg, 0.5 rpg); Jon Lund, 5-10, jr., G.
Key fact: Many of the key players on the team have been playing varsity basketball since they were freshmen.
The lowdown: The L-Cats bring back four of last year’s the five starters, and many of the seniors are entering their fourth year on the varsity. As a result, the L-Cats are a conference championship contender and may build into one of the best Division 3 programs in the state. Charlie Bender is an extremely versatile wing player who can play inside and outside and can handle the ball well; he was a second-team all conference pick last year. Adam Moen, expected to miss some early play due to an injury, also was second-team all conference last year. Senior Matt Johnson is a very good shooter and a strong all-around athlete.
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Quotable: “We feel if you can win the Capitol North, you will be positioned well for the tournament and try and make a deep run,” Hicklin said. “We have the potential to be one of the best teams in the state, and with our regional grouping, we will need to be in order to advance in the tournament.”
Lakeside Lutheran Warriors
Coach: Todd Jahns, first year at Lakeside.
Returning starters: None.
Other returning letterwinners (4): Carter Schneider, 6-0, sr., guard (5.2 ppg, 0.8 rpg, 0.7 apg); Matt Davis, 6-1, sr., guard (4.6 ppg, 1.0 rpg); Collin Schultz, 6-1, sr., guard (2.9 ppg); John O’Donnell, 6-3, jr., guard (2.5 ppg, 1.0 rpg).
Key fact: Jahns comes to Lakeside Lutheran after a successful 20-year run at Jackson Kettle Moraine Lutheran.
The lowdown: The Warriors won the conference title last year, but must replace all five starters. It’s a perfect time (if there is such a thing) to bring in a new coach and system. But with the new players and new systems, expect the Warriors to be more of a middle-of-the-pack team in the conference race.
Lodi Blue Devils
Coach: Mitch Hauser, 13th year (170-121).
Returning starters (1): Jack Persike, 6-1, sr., G (13.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg).
Other returning letterwinners (7): Logan Richards, 6-0, sr., G (5.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg); Quinn Faust, 6-0, jr., G (3.0 ppg, 0.8 rpg); Connor Faust, 6-1, jr., G (1.2 ppg, 0.5 rpg); Greg Lins, 6-2, jr., F (0.7 ppg, 0.5 rpg); Cayden Coddington, 6-2, jr., G (0.5, 0.8 rpg); Trey Traeder, 6-2, jr., G (0.5 ppg, 1.1 rpg); Kade Parsons, 6-2, sr., F (0.3 ppg, 1.1 rpg)
Key fact: Jack Persike is the only returning starter, but led the team in scoring average last year and was named second team all-conference.
The lowdown: The Blue Devils have a lot of guard depth and senior leadership returning. A lack of size creates questions in the departments of rebounding and inside scoring. Aside from Persike, Logan Richards will be counted upon as a key player. Richards came off the bench last season and will move to a starting guard spot.
Quotable: “Our goal every year is to establish a winning process and a winning culture,” Hauser said. “We will work to maximize our ability and strive to be the best team possible.”
Coach: Cody Odegaard, fourth year (13-55).
Returning starters (3): Brayden O’Conner, 5-8, sr., G (4.8 ppg, 2.1 apg); Noah Stark, 5-11, sr., G (5.7 ppg); Nik Feller 6-3, jr., F (10 ppg, 3.7 apg).
Other returning letterwinners (5): Colby Savich, 6-2, sr., F (3.7 ppg, 2.8 apg); Jake Buss, 6-2, sr., F (2.8 ppg, 3.0 apg); Kelby Peterson, 5-10, jr., G (4.9 ppg); Conner Peterson, 5-10, jr., G(4.5 ppg); Parker Walstad, 6-0, sr., F (2.2 ppg, 1.5 apg)
Key fact: No all-conference mentions on the Pumas roster.
The lowdown: While the Pumas feature a solid shooting team, as usual, Odegaard would like to see the crew grow stronger defensively. The coach said Nik Feller is a natural scorer, Brayden O’Conner is team leader who provides solid play on both ends of the floor, and Noah Stark is a strong all-around player. “We lack size, but have athleticism at every position,” Odegaard said. “We have to be disciplined on both ends of the floor and focus primarily on the defensive end to reach our goals and expectations.”
Quotable: “We have a lot of players back from a team last year that lacked experience,” Odegaard said, “(and) one of the best shooting teams I’ve had since I’ve been coaching here.”
Watertown Luther Prep Phoenix
Coach: Nate Kieselhorst, 14th year (181-113).
Returning starters: None.
Other returning letterwinners (8): Paul Frick, 5-10, sr., G (4.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.6 apg); Nate DeGalley, 6-1, sr., F (7.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.8 apg); Cole Burow, 6-1, sr., F (2.5 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 0.6 apg); Adam Brands, 6-2, sr., G (2.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 0.6 apg); Caleb Heckendorf, 5-9, sr., G (1.1 ppg, 0.4 rpg, 0.8 apg); Silas Steinbrenner, 6-1, sr., Ff (0.6 ppg, 0.5 rpg, 0.2 apg); Nick Montgomery, 6-2, jr., F (1.1 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 0.2 apg); Micah Larsen, 6-0, sr., G (0.5 ppg, 0.2 rpg, 0.2 apg).
Key fact: Coach Kieselhorst stands nine victories away from the 200th of his career at Luther Prep.
The lowdown: The Phoenix aim to be competitive in the Capitol North. Nate DeGalley and Adam Brands are both consistent scorers and rebounders. Cole Burow is a strong rebounder, and Paul Frick is a playmaker who will be looked upon to set up his teammates in good spots.
Quotable: “Hopefully (we’ll be) right in the thick of the conference race,” Kieselhorst said. “We will be very unselfish with a great work ethic, but consistency on the offensive end and inexperience are a cause for concern.”