Veteran Blue Dukes cagers will have to battle to keep pace in rugged North Shore
Boys basketball team routs South Milwaukee in opener
Whitefish Bay - An experienced Whitefish Bay boys basketball team opened what could be a very good season with a 73-43 rout of South Milwaukee on Friday.
The Blue Dukes, who finished a sound 16-7 last season, are hoping to build on the North Shore Conference championship WIAA State Division 2 semifinal season of the football team.
"It's not bad so far, not bad at all," Blue Dukes coach Kevin Lazovik said. "We're just trying to get the football guys acclimated. … It's been a little bit of learning process in that regard, as we have six guys who were on the football team this fall. We're still trying to get everyone in one place."
Bay was third in the powerful North Shore last season behind state Division 1 champion Germantown and Homestead. Germantown has been ranked first in preseason state D1 polls and Warhawks coach Steve Showalter thinks so highly of the Blue Dukes that he thinks with their experience, they could make another run at a D2 crown like they won in 2011.
Lazovik won't go that far in his assessment of his squad, but admits that expectations will be fairly high this winter.
The reason behind that optimism is the return of three starters and several other experienced players.
Leading the way will be senior, four-year letter-winner 6-3 point guard Kelin Johnson (13.5 ppg), 6-6 junior forward Joe Sherburne (11.7 pgg) and 6-7 junior center Christian Lane (4.2 ppg, 5 rpg), all of whom started last season.
Other experienced hands include 6-2 sophomore guard Miles Sigh, 6-3 senior forward Grant Menard and 5-11 senior guard John Markwiese. Menard will not be available for several weeks as he is still recovering from an ankle injury suffered in the state semifinal football loss to Waunakee. Menard was the first-team All-North Shore Conference selection for the Blue Dukes at quarterback this fall, while Sigh has worked his way into the starting lineup for Bay.
Also working his way into the starting lineup this winter is 6-2 junior newcomer Jake Casey.
Other newcomers include seniors 5-8 Brian Jordan, 5-10 Peter Sandvick and 6-2 Darrein Walker, who had a good season as a receiver on the football team.
Juniors include 6-7 Ryan Olver, 6-1 Rashad Gray, 6-4 Riley Breitenbach and 6-1 Cole Stasiak while sophomores looking to make an impact include 6-3 Isiah Johnson and 6-4 Mitch Rogers.
Lazovik said he will rotate Sigh and Jordan into the point position from time to time to try and open up Johnson's offensive capabilities.
Hungry to make a mark
"I like the intensity of our practices," Lazovik said. "We're going to be a deep team so I liked that we finally got all our guys back (into practice). It made it more competitive. This group is also definitely hungry and we, as a coaching staff, have been talking about what they need to bring to practice (to make things work).
"The big thing for us right now is getting everyone on the same page."
And Lazovik sees challenges everywhere, especially in the early schedule. They will be at University School at 7 p.m. Friday, but then take a steep incline in the caliber of competition.
They visit an experienced Nicolet team in their North Shore opener on Nov. 27 and then visit Germantown on Nov. 30. Then, in a late adjustment to the schedule, the Blue Dukes added a 7 p.m. Dec. 4 visit to the team that Germantown beat for the 2012 state title, Milwaukee King.
"We want to see the best competition," Lazovik said in a bit of understatement. "There are no easy games out there."
King is ranked fifth in state D1 preseason polls while Bay is ranked eighth in state D2 tallies.
In the win over South Milwaukee, Sherburne led the way with 20 points while Lane had 12 and Casey and Walker seven apiece.
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