The 2015-2016 season was the year of many things in Wisconsin high school basketball.
But mostly, it was the year of the Panther.
Meeting all of its high expectations, the Stevens Point boys team rolled through the season without a loss — truthfully, with hardly a challenge — in winning a second consecutive WIAA Division 1 state championship.
The leader of the Panthers’ charge was Trev Anderson, a 6-foot-2 guard who will play next year at UW-Green Bay. Anderson averaged 24.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game as Stevens Point went 28-0 and won every game except one by 13 or more points.
As a result, Anderson has been named The Associated Press’ Player of the Year in the state, leading the All-State first team chosen by a statewide panel of sports reporters.
No area player made the five-player first team, but four from the area were placed among the top four teams. Deang Deang, a 6-4 senior wing from Madison East, earned second-team honors. Tyree Eady, a 6-3 junior wing from Middleton, and Seth Kostroski, a 5-11 senior guard from Sauk Prairie made the third team. Kyle Rutkowski, a 6-6 senior forward from Evansville, made the fourth team.
The 2015-2016 season also was the year of the coach-son relationship — not only in Stevens Point, but elsewhere.
Anderson was coached by his father, Scott. And Trev’s teammate, first-team honoree Sam Hauser — a 6-6 forward and Marquette recruit who likely was Anderson’s top challenger for the Player of the Year honor — has a father, David, who was an assistant on the coaching staff.
Sam Hauser averaged 18.2 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists as Stevens Point had only one single-digit victory, a 61-52 decision over Sauk Prairie during the holiday break. The Panthers broke the 100-point mark three times and enjoyed an average margin of victory of 33.4 points.
Anderson and Sam Hauser shared the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association’s Mr. Basketball award, and Hauser earned the Gatorade Player of the Year honor for Wisconsin. Together, they went 98-6 over four years, including 47-1 in the Wisconsin Valley Conference.
“All best friends on and off the court,” Anderson said. “There’s a lot of chemistry, a lot of fundamentals.”
The 2015-2016 season also was the year of the youngster.
The youth brigade was led by 5-10 Kaukauna sophomore guard Jordan McCabe, who earned first-team honors after the Galloping Ghosts (26-2) took a 91-62 victory over Waunakee in the Division 2 final. McCabe, a highly regarded Division I prospect, averaged 25 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
La Crosse Central junior Kobe King, a University of Wisconsin commit (25.5 ppg, 10.0 rpg), made the first team along with Germantown senior point guard Juwan McCloud (24 ppg), a Northern Iowa recruit.
One more member of Stevens Point’s “Big Three” was honored: Sophomore guard Joey Hauser, a 6-7 forward who is drawing heavy recruiting attention from major-college programs, earned second-team honors after averaging 17.6 points and 7.9 rebounds.
Also, junior forward Terrence Lewis of Milwaukee Riverside made the second team and sophomore guard Tyler Herro of Whitnall made the fourth team.
Waupun’s Dan Domask earned the AP Coach of the Year honor after leading the Warriors to the Division 3 state title in the school’s first state tournament appearance in 89 years.
Domask’s son, Marcus — a freshman who earned All-State honorable mention honors — scored a team-high 15 points in Waupun’s 59-58 victory over Appleton Xavier in a thrilling title game.
“This was one of those years where everything that could go right for your team kind of fell into place,” Dan Domask said.