Fall Creek hopes to stay on top and other hope to get there

2022-23 Tri-County Area Prep Boys Basketball Preview

If there's one Tri-County Area team that couldn't wait for the 2022-23 prep boys' basketball season to start it was Fall Creek.

The Crickets claimed their second consecutive Western Cloverbelt Conference championship last season along with a full Cloverbelt Conference title as well. As they posted a very impressive 21-5 overall record. They lost a heart breaking last second 38-36 WIAA Division 4 Regional Championship game at Durand to end their season.

Fall Creek lost two starters from last season. Cameron Martzke , (5’11), who averaged 13.5 ppg and (6’5) Soren Johnson who averaged 9 ppg. Also lost through graduation, Kael Sanfelippo and Eric Steinke. Martzke led the state last year among Division 4 players in 3 Point Shooting %. They do return starters, junior (6’6) Bo Vollrath. Who averaged 19 ppg and was named Conference Player of the Year last season. Seniors (6’3) Jeffrey Ritger 7.1 ppg and Leo Hagberg (6’1) 7 ppg, also return. Others who saw extensive varsity action that return are, Ben Kelly (6’) senior (5.1 ppg) and (6’5) junior Isaac Steinke 2.3 ppg. Players that also saw some varsity action include Senior, Eli Laube and Juniors, Jacob Wathke and Jack Walden.

The Crickets JV team posted an outstanding 19-3 mark and many of those players will be looking for a varsity roster spots and the C Team also posted an outstanding 21-1 mark last year. Overall, the three teams combined were 61-9 on the 2021-22 season.

The Western Cloverbelt looks to be very tough again this season. As most experts are expecting Chippewa Falls McDonell and Eau Claire Regis to be the favorites. Yet, Fall Creek looks to be in that mix and contend again for another conference crown. The non-conference schedule again will prove to be tough as many teams from the Dunn St. Croix and Dairyland conferences will be on it and the Crickets will also tangle with state power, Prescott at UW-Stout in early December and then will face Pardeeville in Wisconsin Dells on February 4th.

So far the results have been encouraging as the Crickets have a 2-1 overall record. FC blasted Tri-County rivals Eleva-Strum (86-38) on Nov. 28 and Augusta (73-30) last week Monday, Dec. 5 at home. Against the Beavers FC's Ben Kelly led the way in scoring with 16 points while teammate Bo Vollrath finished with 14. Even a 81-71 loss to Prescott Saturday, Dec. 10 in the Northwest Tip-Off Classic in Menomonie was encouraging as the Crickets came back from down 16 to lead by four late in the second half until their run was exhausted. The Classic is intended to showcase top basketball talent in the region and that was certainly true of Prescott's Jordan Malmlov as he scored a game-high 36 points but FC's Vollrath and Leo Hagberg had fine displays themselves, especially Vollrath in the second half where he scored 18 of his team-best 23 points while Hagberg scored 19 points, including five three-pointers. Kelly finished with 11 points.

FC Head Coach Rick Storlie returns for his 24th season at the helm of the Fall Creek Boys Basketball program. Joining him as JV and C Team coaches respectively will be, Kris Jaenke and Matt Prissel. Both will be in their 18th season at those levels. This is believed to be one of the longest tenured coaching staffs in the entire state at any division. Fall Creek has been in 14 Regional Championship games during the past 23 seasons, winning ten of them. Their last state trip happened in 2009.

Also taking part in the Classic was Osseo-Fairchild. The Thunder finished 5-19 last season with a young squad, including a 0-7 start to the season. In 2022-23, O-F is 2-2 so far with wins over Augusta (70-37) back on Nov. 29 and Elmwood/Plum City (64-45) on Dec. 1. Their losses were their season-opener in double overtime to Cochrane-Fountain City (68-63) and to Clear Lake 65-54 at the Northwest Tip-Off Classic on Saturday, Dec. 10 at UW-Stout's Johnson Fieldhouse.

Osseo-Fairchild has a bevy of returning letter-winners from last season including seniors Chase Insterness, Brody Seefeldt, Braeden Metzler and Ashton Oliver, juniors Spencer Osmonson and Lucas Frase and sophomores Drake Swett, Tyrggve Korger and Jack Steinke. Frase led the team in scoring vs. Clear Lake with 14 points.

"Our players did a lot of offseason work and participation and you can see they're better shooters and they're stronger physically," O-F head coach Tim Popple said. "What we need to have a good season is better defense. We've got the players to do so. Lucas is very quick and Braeden has the tools to be a great shot-blocker and defend the middle for example. We just have to work hard and be consistent at it and defense as a team. So far the work and leadership has been there but we have a long way to go."

After getting pounded by Fall Creek and Osseo-Fairchild and losing also to Chetek-Weyerhaeuser (62-47) in the season-opener and Boyceville (65-62) on Dec. 1, Augusta notched its first win of the season in its Dairyland Conference opener vs. rival Eleva-Strum at home 51-32 on Friday, Dec. 9.

The Beavers only lettter-winning experience back from last season's 11-12 team are seniors Drew Jacobs and Brennan King. They led AHS in scoring vs. the Cardinals with 18 and 17 points respectively. More importantly they provided a blueprint for how the Beavers will have to win games.

"Brennan got us going early on and Drew was very solid in the paint this evening," Augusta head coach Chris Schmitt said. "They're both three-year starters so we have to play very smart because we can't afford them to get into foul trouble because we don't have a lot of experienced depth. We have to play smart especially on defense so we have their scoring on the floor which you see made a big difference. We didn't have deep rotation tonight but as we get players back from injury and suspension we can give our bench players more game-experience so we can be a solid team at end of season."

Schmitt lauded the play of junior guard Cashton Leslin. He finished with 11 points and giving good minutes to the Beavers were senior starters Levi White and Logan Barnett.

For Eleva-Strum there's nowhere to go but up as they finished 3-20 last season but return lettermen junior Carter Gunderson and seniors Nick and Bradyn Olson and Nathan Bemis. E-S has a 1-4 overall record so far with their lone win coming against Lake Holcombe last week Monday, Dec. 5 at home 73-52. They lost to Cadott back on Dec. 1 at home 54-41. Against the Chieftains, Gunderson had a career high 27 points while fellow junior Jovanny Stevens and Olson both finished with 11 points each and Bradyn Olson and Stevens finished with nine rebounds. It was a also a blueprint for how the Cardinals will have success this season.

"We have a lot of seniors but not a lot of senior experience," E-S head coach Paul Janson said. "But already we've seen improvement in defense and shooting and I like the effort we've shown so far. Now it's a question in being consistent in our play, especially when it come to limiting turnovers. We just can't afford to throw away possessions on offense while we're trying to improve in that part of the game. We have to value each one."


GMD Media

See Contact Button at top left for each office Phone Number,
200 Industrial Court Suite 100
, Wabasha, MN 55981

coloring pictures
télécharger reddit video

Sign Up For Breaking News

Stay informed on our latest news!

Manage my subscriptions

Subscribe to GMDMedia Newsletter feed
Customize This