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  • Jason Zaleski

GIRLS AND BOYS BASKETBALL POWER 5

Updated: Jan 20

Girls basketball Power 5

Loyal (9-2) – Coach Mike Rueth’s Loyal Greyhounds have only played two games through 19 days in 2020, both wins by a combined score of 114-56. Their next three games are all on the road and will test the Hounds perseverance in a long and cold January. First up is a trip to Marshfield to take on the Columbus Catholic Dons (watch live at zaleskisports.com) on Monday, January 20th. Then the road show continues on Thursday, January 23rd at rival Greenwood.


Marshfield (6-5) – The Tigers hit the Power 5 for the first time this season as they have climbed all the way to second place in the Wisconsin Valley Conference (5-1). Are the Tigers this good, is the WVC not good? We do know two things. One, the Tigers feature one of the best and youngest coaches in the area in second year skipper, Taylor Varsho. Coach Varsho has taught her physical, gritty playing style to this current group of girls and it appears as though they have bought in.

Marshfield Head Coach Taylor Varsho

Second, the Tigers have only one win out of conference, that coming against Oshkosh North (0-14). It’s an important week for Marshfield that begins on Tuesday, January 21 with a home game against Oshkosh West (6-7). Then it’s a home contest against first place SPASH (6-0 WVC) on Friday, January 24th (watch live at zaleskisports.com). A win on Friday would tie Marshfield for first in conference and answer our first question.


Neillsville (10-1) – Basketball is a team sport and perhaps no team in the area exemplifies that more than the Neillsville Warriors. Coach John Gaier seemingly can draw every ounce of basketball prowess out of every player on his roster. Team leaders Bella Opelt (14.7) and Allie Schoengarth (10.0) average double-digit point production. Terren Stockheimher leads the team with 15 made three-pointers, Emma Mosely is a match-up mismatch, Jaden Barth leads the team with catalystic shot making and the bench sees virtually no drop off in production. Neillsville has a non-conference game at McDonnell on Monday, January 20th and then a home game against Gilman on Thursday, January 23rd.


Newman Catholic (10-3) – A road upset on Thursday at Marathon gave Newman Catholic it’s first Marawood Conference loss of the season. First year coach, Paul Haag, would likely admit that when you only score 11 points in a half it instantly makes you beatable. Newman held a 27-22 halftime lead at Marathon then were outscored 18-11 in the second half and leaving with the 40-38 loss. With five of the six Marawood South teams playing above .500 in conference, the Cardinals will get a competitive second half of the season. The Cardinals play their next three on the road before finishing with five of six at home to close out the regular season.


SPASH (9-4) – SPASH has been on this list all season and figures to be on a while longer. Coach Kraig Terpstra and his first place Panthers (6-0 WVC) have won three straight and distanced themselves from rival Wausau West (4-2 WVC) with a home win against the Warriors on Friday, 75-56. Leah Earnest is clearly the best player in the Wisconsin Valley and shows it night in and night out. On Friday, Earnest piled in an astounding 38 points. She averages 27.2 ppg, 12.9 rpg, good for tops in the conference and leads her team with 3.1 assists per game. Valparaiso head coach Mary Evans surely liking what she sees from one of her top recruits. SPASH will rest for the entire week until they travel to Marshfield on Friday, January 24th to take on the second place Tigers (watch live at zaleskisports.com). SPASH demolished Marshfield (5-1 WVC) at home back on 78-42 back on December 10th.



Boys basketball Power 5


Auburndale (12-1) – Auburndale High School is in the midst of a name change and its boys basketball team is in the midst of another dominating season. Coach Weinfurter has his boys averaging 70 points per game as they have torn through all but one opponent this season. With three averaging double-digit scoring, good luck figuring out how to slow down the Auburndale Whatchamacallits. Cooper Weinfurter (18.4), Hunter Wright (17.2) and Fletcher Raab (13.2) will hit from anywhere on the court.

Cooper Weinfurter

Maybe a good new name for this team should be the Weinwrightraab’s? A fun week in store for Auburndale begins on Tuesday, January 21st against visiting Spencer (8-2) and then a road game on Thursday, January 23rd at the Levi Ewan led Rib Lake Redmen (10-1), watch live at zaleskisports.com.


Marshfield (7-5) – Like their female counterparts, these Tigers hit the Power 5 for the first time this year. Coach Scott Scheuer has his boys in first place the Wisconsin Valley and looking to stay there. After 11 days of rest, Marshfield should be ready for what will be the biggest game of its season thus far when SPASH comes to town on Friday, January 24th. SPASH (4-1 WVC) and Marshfield (4-1 WVC) share first place for the next six days, that will all change around 9pm on Friday night. Watch the first place collision live at zaleskisports.com.


Neillsville (10-2) – The Neillsville Warriors sit all alone in first place in the Cloverbelt East (7-0) after a convincing 63-46 over Spencer (7-1) on January 10th. The prolific trio of Alex King (20.2), Braden Trunkel (15.8) and Alex Brown (10.3) go for nearly 50 per game and test even the most experienced scoreboard operators to keep up. Two home games for the Warriors this week with Columbus Catholic visiting on Tuesday, January 21st and Owen-Withee on Friday, January 24th. You can watch Neillsville vs Columbus Catholic live at zaleskisports.com.


SPASH (7-5) – Before you accuse of a big school bias in this list, stay calm, friends. One of Marshfield or these SPASH Panthers will not make a return next week. It will all be settled on the court at the Boson Fieldhouse in Marshfield on Friday as was mentioned above. The Panthers are a tough handle, scoring nearly 70 points per game and led by Nate Streveler (18.8 ppg). Coach Jon Krull has his guys on a roll, winning five of their last six as they lead up to Marshfield on Friday, January 24th. You can watch the game live at zaleskisports.com.

Stratford (11-0) – The best Tigers on this list reside in Stratford. Many Stratfordians have already received quotes on hotel prices for the 2020 boys state basketball tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison. Can you blame them? Their Tigers hammered the best team they’ve played, the aforementioned Auburndale Weinwrightraab’s, 61-34 back on January 3rd. They outscore their opponents by an average score of 70-34 and outrebound them 34-12. The high-low show displayed by 1,000 point scorer Vaughn Breit and soon to be 1,000 point scorer Ben Barten is a beautifully orchestrated masterpiece and their guards are faster and quicker than yours. How do you beat these Tigers? So far there has not been an answer to that question. Stratford plays G-E-T on Tuesday, January 21st at home and then travels to Phillips on Friday, January 24th. Both games are live at zaleskisports.com.