THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Berth and Wagner Voted Top Cagers
The best player in the M-O Conference came from the best team as 63 junior forward Jordan Berth helped spark the Peshtigo Bulldogs to a third straight 16-0 campaign and of course, a third straight league title.
Add in a record 52 straight conference victories and you can see how the Bulldogs and Berth dominated the M-O hardwood courts. For his efforts, Berth was unanimously selected as the most valuable player in the 9-team circuit.
You name it and Berth did it with ease. His stats were very impressive, averaging 15.7 points per game and 7.8 rebounds, shooting 79.9% from the free throw line while recording five double-doubles.
Jordan does a lot for our team including defending, hitting perimeter shots, handling the ball and scoring inside, which of course is where he is pretty tough to stop, Peshtigo coach Ryan Spaulding said. His consistency throughout the season separates him from most players.
Berth is the only returning first team selection from last season.
Joining Berth on the starting unit was backcourt buddy Zack Neumann. The 62 Neumann also played a huge role in Peshtigos success, averaging 12.7 points per game and shooting 75.8% from the free throw line.
Zack shot twice as many shots inside ten feet than last season, showing his ability to get the ball to the rim has greatly improved and has resulted in many more free-throw attempts. Zack was our primary ball handler even though that isnt his natural position and became more of a leader for us this year, Spaulding added.
Despite finishing with a dismal 6-10 conference record, the STAA Cavaliers saw their scoring ace, Kiefer Powers, get voted to the first team. Another one of those talented juniors, Powers captured the conference scoring title with 295 points for an 18.4 average. He also collected 7.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game.
Kiefer worked very hard in the off-season between his sophomore and junior years and it paid off for him. He played out of position most of the year but still managed to be very productive. He is respected amongst his teammates and with other players in the conference, coach Ric Powers commented.
A pair of seniors rounded out the first team in Jordan Zawada of Niagara and Surings Cody Christensen.
Zawada helped to lead the Badgers to a third place conference finish at 11-5 and a berth in the Division 5 sectional title game before being eliminated by state runner-up NEW Lutheran.
Working his way to the hoop or launching from behind the arc, the southpaw shooting Zawada averaged 13.9 points per game in conference play, which put him 8th in the scoring race and collected 9.2 rebounds, both of which were team highs.
At times it seemed that if Jordan did not get the rebound, we never got a rebound. He has such a natural instinct for the ball. He shot just over 50% from the floor and 33% from behind the arc, Niagara coach Jim Hoogland said. Jordan was a 3 year starter, our Most Valuable Player last year and honorable mention all-conference. The year before, he was named our Most Improved Player.
Battling a broken wrist to open the basketball season, Christensen played in 13 of the 16 conference clashes and was still named to the first team. Thanks to the play of their 63 forward, Suring claimed the number two spot in the conference standings at 14-2 with Christensen averaging 14.8 points per game.
The second team was dominated by seniors and Suring with a trio of players. Heading the list is last seasons player of the year in Jay Tienor along with guards Blake Strehlow and Dan Sweda. Strehlow was also voted the leagues defensive player of the year.
Rounding out the second unit are Gillett big man Clint Long (65) and Wausaukee guard Ryan Nystrom.
Nine players earned honorable mention votes..Shane Anderson, Gillett; Jameson Bardowski, STAA; Matt Borkovec, Peshtigo, Ben Fischer, Crivitz; Justin Heimke, Lena; Colton Lange, Crivitz; Austin Malecki, Coleman; Aaron Schlies, Wausaukee and Joey Swanson of Niagara.