BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW: VETERAN STRATFORD SQUAD HAS EYES SET ON FIRST STATE TRIP
By Paul Lecker For Zaleski Sports
STRATFORD – The Stratford boys basketball team rolled through the regular season undefeated last year, claiming the Marawood Conference South Division title and a WIAA Division 3 regional championship.
However, the Tigers were derailed in the sectional semifinals by Wisconsin Dells 70-64, leaving them a bit short of the ultimate goal of advancing to the first state boys basketball tournament in program history.
Stratford returns a number of key players, including four all-conference honorees, from that squad a year ago that finished 24-1 overall and a perfect 16-0 in the Marawood South, leaving it with the same goals as a year ago.
Seniors Vaughn Breit (13.2 points, 7.2 rebounds per game), Ben Barten (15.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg), Chandler Schmidt (7.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg), Teddy Redman (6.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg), and Dawson Danen (3.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg), and junior Max Vanderhoof (2.1 ppg) all return after earning letters last year and playing prominent roles in the Tigers’ success.
Barten, who shot 70.3 percent from the field, and Breit, were first-team all-Marawood South selections, Schmidt was a second-team selection, and Redman earned honorable mention status last season.
Seniors Chase Flink and Tyler Lappe, and juniors Cody Miller, Jake Skroch, Riley Bauman and Kale Weisenberger will also look to contribute.
“We hope to be one of the top teams at the end of the season,” 16th-year head coach Curt Schmidt said. “We need to be, and stay, healthy throughout the season. We need to be able to defend night in and night out (to be successful).”
Stratford Boys Basketball Schedule Fri., Dec. 6 PRENTICE, 7:15 p.m. Fri., Dec. 13 at Wausau Newman Catholic, 7:15 p.m. Tue., Dec. 17 MARATHON, 7:15 p.m. Fri., Dec. 20 ATHENS, 7:15 p.m. Fri., Dec. 27 *STRATFORD TOURNAMENT, TBA Sat., Dec. 28 *STRATFORD TOURNAMENT, TBA Fri., Jan. 3 AUBURNDALE, 7:15 p.m. Tue., Jan. 7 at Owen-Withee, 7:15 p.m. Fri., Jan. 10 ABBOTSFORD, 7:15 p.m. Tue., Jan. 14 at Wis. Rapids Assumption, 7:15 p.m. Fri., Jan. 17 at Edgar, 7:15 p.m. Tue., Jan. 21 GALE-ETTRICK-TREMPEALEAU, 5:45 p.m. Fri., Jan. 24 at Phillips, 7:15 p.m. Tue., Jan. 28 WAUSAU NEWMAN CATHOLIC, 7:15 p.m. Sat., Feb. 1 Spring Grove (Minn.) at La Crosse Central, 11:30 a.m. Tue., Feb. 4 at Marathon, 7:15 p.m. Fri., Feb. 7 CHEQUAMEGON, 5:45 p.m. Thur., Feb. 13 at Rib Lake, 7:15 p.m. Fri., Feb. 21 at Auburndale, 7:15 p.m. Mon., Feb. 24 EDGAR, 7:15 p.m. Thur., Feb. 27 WIS. RAPIDS ASSUMPTION, 7:15 p.m. Tue., March 3 WIAA Div. 4 regional quarterfinal, 7 p.m. Home games in CAPS, at Stratford High School *Stratford Tournament opponents: Altoona, Northland Pines, Wausau East
Paul Lecker is publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com, a contributor to Zaleski Sports.