Panthers hope to continue strong tradition

BOYS BASKETBALL
by Matt Kraus
Review Co respondent


ZAC CAIN (5), pictured in last season’s regional basketball fi- nals against West Bend East, is a key returning player for the Plymouth Panthers. Cain, a senior forward, led PHS in overall field-goal shooting last season. – Review file photo ZAC CAIN (5), pictured in last season’s regional basketball fi- nals against West Bend East, is a key returning player for the Plymouth Panthers. Cain, a senior forward, led PHS in overall field-goal shooting last season. – Review file photo PLYMOUTH – Change is inevitable in high school sports and the 2014-2015 Plymouth Panther boys basketball team will see significant change this season.

A coaching change leads the way as Butch Cain takes over the head coaching reigns from 2013-2014 Eastern Wisconsin Conference Coach of the Year, Jason Duff, after Duff left the school district to pursue other employment opportunities. Duff left after an impressive fouryear run that included the last three conference championships.

Cain, himself, is very familiar with athletic coaching success, coming off a 2014 trip to the state summer baseball semifinals as the head coach of the PHS baseball team.

“The Panthers feel they will be a close-knit group that will compete together for four quarters every night out. The program has had a great amount of success in the past and we look forward to building on the tradition hear at PHS,” said Cain.

Graduation took its toll on the Panthers’ roster as six players, including all five starters from last season’s undefeated (14-0 in EWC, 21-4 overall) EWC champions, need to be replaced. PHS won a Division 2 regional crown and advanced to the sectional semifinals where it lost to Port Washington.

Among the starters who graduated were Kollin Neils, EWC Player of the Year, Division 2 allstate honorable mention and Plymouth’s all-time leading scorer; and Tom Jankowski, All-EWC first team along with Neils. Neils and Jankowski were Plymouth’s toptwo scorers last season with 19.2 and 14.8 points-per-game averages, respectively.

The Panthers return seven senior letter winners from last season’s team, including senior forward Zac Cain as the top returning scorer with a 7.2 average (fourth on the team last season) and rebounder with a 4.4 average (third on the team last season), Matt Olig, Brady Grapentine, Dominic Bocchini, Nick Casper, Drew Schweiger and Carter Krzyzaniak.

“We believe our entire senior class is prepared to step up this season,” said coach Cain.

“Any one of the seven juniors moving up, after a successful junior varsity season, appear ready to step in and do some positive things for the squad. In addition, we have some sophomores who look poised and talented enough to push for some playing time.”

A team philosophy was emphasized by the coach.

“We are an athletic team that looks to use this to our advantage on both ends of the court. All of our guys bring different skill sets to the floor and we are confident that this will create some mismatches in our favor,” he said.

“We have confidence in all of our guys and this depth will allow us to substitute freely. We expect all of our team members to defend, rebound, share the ball and score – making us a difficult team to prepare for.”

The coach pointed out the keys for having success this season.

“The Panthers must pride themselves in getting better daily as individuals and as a unit. The ability to play together as a team, displaying communication, enthusiasm, commitment, pride and belief in one another at all times will be keys to what the Panthers can accomplish on the season,” he said.

“Being able to stay emotionally focused through the successes as well as the setbacks that are sure to arise during the course of the season is also a priority.”

In conference play, coach Cain expects Waupun to be an early title favorite with the team returning many of its starters, led by senior guard Mason Domask who was an All-EWC first-team pick last season. The Warriors finished second last season. He thinks Kiel, Two Rivers and Campbellsport will challenge in the league race.

“New Holstein and Sheboygan Falls are young teams with talented players who can help put their teams in contention as they develop,” observed the coach.

Cain indicated he looks forward to building on the tradition in Plymouth and the Panthers battling for an EWC championship.

“With a tight conference race and a challenging nonconference schedule. the Panthers hope to be ready for the potential of a deep postseason run,” he said.

“Playing every possession as if the game is on the line will have to be our primary goal.”

PLYMOUTH BOYS
BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Varsity/JV/Freshman
Nov. 28 – @ Oshkosh West (Fr.)
Nov. 28 – @ Oshkosh Classic (JV-V)
Nov. 29 – @ Oshkosh Classic (JV-V)
Dec. 2 – @ Menomonee Falls
Dec. 4 – New Holstein, here
Dec. 9 – Kewaskum, here
Dec. 12 – Sheboygan Falls, here
Dec. 16 – @ Sheboygan South
Dec. 18 – @ Waupun
Dec. 23 – Manitowoc Lincoln, here
Dec. 30 – Slinger, here
Jan. 6 – @ Campbellsport
Jan. 9 – Kiel, here
Jan. 15 – @ Two Rivers
Jan. 20 – @ Kewaskum
Jan. 23 – @ Sheboygan Falls
Jan. 29 – @ New Holstein
Feb. 6 – Waupun, here
Feb. 7 – Oostburg, here

Feb. 12 – Campbellsport, here
Feb. 17 – Port Washington, here
Feb. 20 – @ Kiel
Feb. 26 – Two Rivers, here
PLYMOUTH VARSITY
BOYS BASKETBALL ROSTER
Name Gr. Ht. Pos.
Dominic Bocchini 12 5-9 G
Zac Cain 12 6-4 G/F
Nick Casper 12 6-1 G
Brady Grapentine 12 5-11 G/F
Drew Schweiger 12 5-11 G/F
Carter Krzyzaniak 12 6-4 F/C
Matt Olig 12 6-4 F/C
Dayton Krueger 12 6-1 G
Layton Albright 11 5-10 G
David Hassel 11 6-4 F/C
Ben Potrykus 11 5-11 G
Gage Nischke 11 6-2 G/F
TJ Moegenburg 11 6-4 G/F
Will Hunter 11 6-3 F/C
Alex Shutter 10 5-11 G


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