Packerland Boys Hoops Race Heats Up

It’s a little more than halfway through the Packerland Conference boys basketball season, and three teams have separated themselves from the rest of the league.

Kewaunee and Sturgeon Bay have split a pair of games and sit atop the league, tied at 8-1. Kewaunee stopped Sturgeon Bay 56-45 on Dec. 5, and the Clippers beat the Storm 74-59 Friday night. Kewaunee has a 10-3 record, and Sturgeon Bay sits at 9-3.

“Our goal every year is to continue to improve,” Sturgeon Bay Coach Jim Benesh said. “We have traditionally gotten better [as the year goes on]. But our main goal is always to compete for the top spot.”

Southern Door has a 7-2 mark in the Packerland and is 9-4 overall. The Eagles lost 66-59 to Sturgeon Bay and fell to Kewaunee 44-43.

“I did think we would have a chance to contend for the conference championship,” Southern Door Coach Pete Claflin said. “I knew the team had lost a lot of talented players and a great deal of scoring in particular [more than 3,000 career points]. I also knew we had some key returning players from last year’s team and some other players who were talented but hadn’t had much of an opportunity to play many minutes.”

Ryan Carmichael is the leading scorer for the Storm at 19.8 points per game. University of Wisconsin football signee Tanor Bortolini – at six feet, four inches and 270 pounds – scores 14.1 points per game and grabs 10.3 rebounds per outing. Kewaunee will play four of its remaining league games at home, including the season finale against Southern Door on Feb. 27.

Ryan Claflin – a UW-Green Bay signee – leads the Eagles in scoring (22.8) and rebounds (6.8). Alex Daoust checks in with 16.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. 

“Alex continues to improve not only athletically and physically, but also from a basketball skill level standpoint,” Claflin said. “He is an excellent competitor and has really developed his overall game to help take some of the pressure off of Ryan.”

Aside from their game against Kewaunee to end the season, the Eagles will host Sturgeon Bay on Feb. 18. The Eagles also have a tough matchup Saturday against 5-3 Peshtigo. 

Gunnar Tebon and Jake Schneider are the stat leaders for the Clippers. Tebon is the top scorer at 20 points a game, and he also averages 6.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists. Schneider averages 15.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists.

Sturgeon Bay has the toughest road to the title: Five of the Clippers’ final seven league games are on the road. 

“Good teams win at home. Great teams win on the road,” Benesh said. “We’re going to have to win this on the road.”