Sentry Classic set for next week
Portage County Gazette
By John Kemmeter
Some of the top high school basketball teams in the state will be on the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) campus next week for the 47th Sentry Classic holiday basketball tournament.
A total of 16 boys and girls high school basketball teams from throughout Wisconsin will compete at Bennett Court at Quandt Fieldhouse Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 27-29, with a National Division and American Division for both the boys and girls.
The Stevens Point Area Senior High School (SPASH), Pacelli Catholic High School and Amherst High School boys and girls basketball teams will each compete in the tournament, along with the Almond-Bancroft High School boys basketball team.
In the Girls National Division, SPASH (6-3) is among a four-team field that includes a pair of returning WIAA State Champions from a year ago in Division 3 top-ranked Marshall (7-0) and Division 4 top-ranked La Crosse Aquinas (8-0).
SPASH is led by 5-11 junior forward and NCAA Division 1 Valparaiso recruit Leah Earnest (27.0 points and 12.6 rebounds per game, 39.3 percent on three-pointers), 5-4 senior point guard and NAIA Division 1 William Penn (Iowa) recruit Madisyn Rogan (15.2 points, 4.1 assists), and 5-7 senior guard Rachel Lummis (8.0 points, 5.0 rebounds), and will open at 6 p.m. Thursday against Watertown (7-0), which is led by 6-0 sophomore forward Teya Maas (12.0 points), 5-5 senior guard Jenna Koepp (11.0 points) and 5-8 sophomore guard Aubrey Schmutzler (10.0 points).
The SPASH girls will also play at 5:15 p.m. Friday against Marshall, which pulled away in the closing seconds to beat Amherst 63-55 in the Division 3 State Championship Game last year and is led by the return of 6-0 sophomore forward Anna Lutz (16.0 points, 6.6 rebounds), 5-7 sophomore point guard Mia Morel (14.4 points, 4.0 steals) and 5-11 sophomore forward Laura Nickel (12.6 points, 6.0 rebounds).
In a battle of returning State Champions, Marshall will open the Girls National Division play Thursday at 4:15 p.m. against La Crosse Aquinas, which is led by 5-10 junior point guard and NCAA Division 1 Iowa State recruit Lexi Donarski (21.8 points, 5.8 assists, 3.8 steals), who is the 19th-ranked player in the nation in the ESPN Class of 2020 rankings, along with 6-0 junior forward Courtney Becker (15.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.4 steals), 5-7 junior guard Taylor Theusch (12.5 points) and 5-10 freshman guard Jacy Weisbrod (10.1 points).
Reigning State Runner-up Amherst (7-1) is ranked fourth in Division 3 and will compete in the Girls American Division, along with Pacelli (5-1).
Amherst is led by five seniors in 5-7 forward Lindsay Dose (12.3 points), 5-7 guard/forward Ashley Groshek (9.8 points), 5-9 forward Lauren Boelte (9.7 points), 5-7 guard Grace Moe (8.2 points) and 6-0 forward Geena Jensen (5.7 points), and will open at 12:45 p.m. Thursday against Wautoma (0-7).
Pacelli is led by 6-0 junior forward Sarah Mueller (16.8 points, 8.5 rebounds), 5-7 sophomore guard Emma Van Order (9.5 points, 5.5 rebounds) and 5-7 sophomore forward Sami Miller (8.0 points) and will play in the opener of the Sentry Classic at 11 a.m. Thursday against St. Mary Catholic (6-2), which is led by 5-10 senior guard/forward Abbi Thelen (12.1 points, 6.3 rebounds) and senior guard/forward Sydney Anderson (10.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.3 steals).
The Pacelli girls will also take on Wautoma at noon Saturday, while Amherst will face St. Mary Catholic at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
In the Boys National Division, SPASH (3-3) will play in the final game of the day Friday at 7 p.m. against Oak Creek (4-2), which is led by 6-1 senior guard Quinn Stulo (18.5 points), 6-6 senior forward Zach Nystch (16.8 points) and 6-2 sophomore guard Jasin Sinani (16.0 points).
Under first-year head coach Jon Krull, the Panthers have been led by 6-1 senior guard Nolan Blair (14.0 points), 6-2 junior guard Evan Vollendorf (12.0 points) and 6-2 senior guard Travis Johnson (9.3 points). SPASH will also play in the final game of this year’s tournament at 7 p.m. Saturday against New Berlin West (2-4), which is led by 6-7 junior forward/center Cody Soik (12.7 points, 6.0 rebounds) and 6-1 senior guard/forward Sam Melenski (11.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists).
The Boys American Division features three area teams in Pacelli (2-5), Amherst (0-7) and Division 5 seventh-ranked Almond-Bancroft (6-0), which is led by 6-1 senior guard Noah Kollock (18.7 points, 42.9 percent on three-pointers), 6-5 senior guard/forward Cade Lamb (15.8 points, 7.5 rebounds 41.9 percent on three-pointers) and 5-11 senior guard Zach Bunders (11.3 points, 3.0 steals).
Almond will open at 2:30 p.m. Thursday against Amherst, which is guided by first-year head coach Phil Jagielo and led by 5-11 junior guard Cyle Zblewski (8.8 points), 6-2 senior forward Zach Toelle (8.5 points) and 6-2 senior forward Carson Sneller (7.4 points).
Pacelli also has a first-year head coach in John Schurk and is led by 6-5 senior forward Mitch Miller (12.7 points, 7.0 rebounds), 6-3 sophomore guard Weston Peplinski (8.7 points, 5.3 points) and 6-4 senior guard/forward Jonah Peplinski (8.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists), while the Cardinals will play in the finale Thursday night at 7:45 p.m. against Stratford (4-0), which is paced by 6-6 junior center Ben Barten (17.2 points, 7.3 rebounds), 6-5 junior forward Vaughn Breit (9.2 points, 5.3 rebounds) and 6-2 junior guard Chandler Schmidt (9.2 points).
Almond will also play Stratford at 3:30 p.m. Friday, while Pacelli and Amherst will square off at 5:15 p.m. Saturday.
A presentation will take place after the final game in each division, with individual awards for the All-Classic Team, the Don Friday Leading Scorer, the Jacks’ Hustle Award and the Warren P. Choudoir Outstanding Player for each division.
All tickets are $6, with proceeds to go to the Community Parks Improvement Fund.
47th Sentry Classic at Bennett Court at Quandt Fieldhouse
Thursday, Dec. 27
Game 1: Pacelli vs. St. Mary Catholic (Girls American), 11 a.m.
Game 2: Amherst vs. Wautoma (Girls American), 12:45 p.m.
Game 3: Amherst vs. Almond-Bancroft (Boys American), 2:30 p.m.
Game 4: La Crosse Aquinas vs. Marshall (Girls National), 4:15 p.m.
Game 5: SPASH vs. Watertown (Girls National), 6 p.m.
Game 6: Pacelli vs. Stratford (Boys American), 7:45 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 28
Game 7: Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln vs. New Berlin West (Boys National), noon
Game 8: La Crosse Aquinas vs. Watertown (Girls National), 1:45 p.m.
Game 9: Almond-Bancroft vs. Stratford (Boys American), 3:30 p.m.
Game 10: SPASH vs. Marshall (Girls National), 5:15 p.m.
Game 11: SPASH vs. Oak Creek (Boys National), 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 29
Game 12: Pacelli vs. Wautoma (Girls American), noon
Game 13: Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln vs. Oak Creek (Boys National), 1:45 p.m.
Game 14: Amherst vs. St. Mary Catholic (Girls American), 3:30 p.m.
Game 15: Pacelli vs. Amherst (Boys American), 5:15 p.m.
Game 16: SPASH vs. New Berlin West (Boys National), 7 p.m.