Back-to-back championships bolster SPASH basketball legacy
The Stevens Point Area Senior High School (SPASH) boys basketball team captured its second straight Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Division 1 State Championship, defeating Muskego 89-64 Saturday night, March 19.
The Panthers went through the season undefeated, compiling a 28-0 record just seven years after the 1-20 season the team went through in 2008-09. The titles add more hardware in the trophy case, as Stevens Point previously won State Championships in 1926, 1954 and 1994.
The back-to-back championships are the first in school history and this year’s title comes in the final season for eight seniors, Trev Anderson, Sam Hauser, Ted Kearney, Evan Mallek, Jamison Kryshak, Jake Hofmeister, Mack Journell and Joe Fasula.
The back-to-back wins have also propelled SPASH into discussions as one of the best teams in state history, with three Division 1 college recruits, but that talk is better reserved for sports pundits.
Basketball is a team sport, there’s not just one individual responsible for the achievement. The team is the ultimate champion. When one person stumbles, others have to be there to pick a teammate up and help work toward the goal of winning. A championship requires players to handle stress and pressure, and the Panthers showed they were prepared mentally and physically.
The team featured the Big Three of Anderson, Sam Hauser and Sam’s younger brother, sophomore Joey Hauser, but the others, not only the seniors, filled a niche, playing staunch defense, making passes, hitting timely shots and controlling the ball when needed. That speaks highly of the prospects for next season and beyond.
The championship comes at the end of a long and arduous basketball season that officially started in November for high schools, although many players practice and play year-round to sharpen their skills. Winning a championship requires motivation, attitude, sacrifice, desire, dedication, concentration, determination and often a little bit of luck.
While the players display their athletic skills on the basketball court, these young people also attend classes, complete their homework and partake in other activities with their friends and classmates.
Stevens Point area residents take a great deal of pride in championships, and deservedly so because they aren’t routine. But nothing can surpass the joy that the athletes, their families and their fans feel for the accomplishments.
Without their coaches to prepare and guide them through the season, however, the players don’t win championships. Head coach Scott Anderson of SPASH and his staff spend countless hours with the players during the season, and they deserve admiration and thanks for their devotion to the teams and the game of basketball.
Congratulations to the SPASH team. The championship is something you’ll never forget. Just ask anyone who has won a championship.
– Gene Kemmeter