The 2023-24 boys basketball season begins Tuesday for Door County teams with Southern Door, Sturgeon Bay and Sevastopol scheduling non-conference games, while Gibraltar has its first contest set for the Monday after Thanksgiving.
The Eagles got back on top of the Packerland Conference last season and are looking to repeat. The Vikings, who appeared in a WIAA Division 5 sectional title game the past two seasons, will be seeking to play their best basketball at season’s end. Sturgeon Bay and Sevastopol will be aiming for improvement with new head coaches.
Southern Door will look to continue its conference dominance on the shoulders of junior point guard Drew Daoust, the reigning player of the year who has already surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career. Other top returning players for the Eagles include junior guard Tyler Neinas and senior inside player Matthew Malvitz.
The Eagles topped the league at 15-1 and finished the season 22-4 overall.
Fourth-year coach Josh VandenBush said this season’s team has an established scorer, three-point shooting and depth, but it also lacks experience and overall size after losing Jared Hawkey, Taylor Schaefer, Jack Peterson and Lance LeGrave to graduation.
VandenBush said the team goals include competing for a sectional championship and he looks forward to “seeing how this team learns and grows together to compete our best by the end of the season.”
Southern Door opens the season Tuesday at Seymour. The Eagles’ first conference game is Nov. 30 at Peshtigo.
After two consecutive appearances in sectional title games, Gibraltar has a lot of talent to replace in 2023-24.
The Vikings graduated seven players from the squad that finished 13-15 overall and fell one win short of a return trip to Madison. The team went 6-10 in the Packerland Conference.
The graduation losses include forward Jake Schar, who was named to the All-Conference second team, forward Will Friedenfels, guards Carl Burgess and Garrett Voight, and forwards Mateo Jauregui, Jack Duffy and Nathan Merkel.
Returning for coach Travis Ward are guard Braden Sitte and forwards Marshall Maltby and Will Lecy. Ward said this season’s team has leadership and depth, but is lacking varsity experience.
“We want to grow and learn as a team, and be playing our best basketball at the end of the season,” he said.
Ward said he is most concerned about “doing everything we can as a team to put our players in a position to succeed,” and is looking forward to “experiencing the highs and lows of the season, building relationships and making memories over the five months.”
Gibraltar opens the season at home Nov. 27 with a non-conference game against Oneida Nation before the first Packerland contest Nov. 30 at Kewaunee.
Sturgeon Bay enters the 2023-24 season with its third head coach in as many years with former assistant Zach Goblisch replacing Rodney Owens. Last season the Clippers finished 4-12 in the Packerland Conference and 7-17 overall.
The team will be looking for buckets after losing top scorer (17 ppg) and second team all-conference performer Isaak Aune to graduation. Seniors Calvin Richard and Garrett Ulberg return and will look to fill some of that void.
Also returning is senior Gannon Evers, the team’s top rebounder from last season, and junior Jackson Starr, the assist leader.
“We have an athletic and experienced team that is able to work together to generate stops on the defensive end, which can transition into great opportunities on the offensive end,” Goblisch said.
He said the Clippers are looking to improve their rebounding and turnover numbers from last season “to ensure we maximize our opportunities to finish the play on both ends of the floor.”
Goblisch said the team goals this season include building “a strong culture within and surrounding Sturgeon Bay boys basketball that gets our school and the community excited.”
“Competitively, we are striving to compete for the top of the Packerland Conference and work to bring a home playoff game back to Sturgeon Bay,” he said.
In his first season as head coach, Goblisch said he is “incredibly excited to begin working with these young men to put our program in the best position to be successful both on and off the court.”
The Clippers open the season Tuesday with a non-conference home game against Chilton. Sturgeon Bay opens Packerland play Nov. 30 at Oconto.
Sevastopol’s superintendent will also be the head boys basketball coach this season with Kyle Luedtke taking over from Ron Frank, who remains an assistant.
The Pioneers finished last season at the bottom of the Packerland Conference standings at 0-16 and went 2-22 overall.
Sevastopol returns seniors Frankie de Young and Oliver Mathews, juniors Lucas Delsart, Aiden Isaksen and Daniel Castillo, and sophomores Chase Haberli, Damien Lardinois, Norman Luedtke, Logan Schuh and Zaul Valdivia.
Luedtke said his team has depth and commitment, but lacks height and experience. He said the team aims to “play better in February than we do in November and December.”
Sevastopol opens the season Tuesday with a non-conference game at home against Suring. The Pioneers’ first conference game is Dec. 5 at Southern Door.