Toughness, chemistry fuel Panthers’ success

by Matt Kraus Review Correspondent


THE PLYMOUTH BOYS basketball team finished second in the EWC this past season with a 10-4 record. Team members include (front row, left to right) Will Hunter, TJ Moegenburg, Carter Krzyzaniak, David Hassel, Matt Olig, Zac Cain, Gage Nischke, (middle row) Dayton Krueger, Alex Shutter, Dominic Bocchini, Drew Schweiger, Nick Casper, Brady Grapentine, Ben Potrykus, Layton Albright, manager Austin Ramminger, (back row) coach Jason Jaeckels, manager Nick Stucke, head coach Butch Cain, manager Luke Schneider and coach Tim Schultz. – Photo by Theresa Rose Photography THE PLYMOUTH BOYS basketball team finished second in the EWC this past season with a 10-4 record. Team members include (front row, left to right) Will Hunter, TJ Moegenburg, Carter Krzyzaniak, David Hassel, Matt Olig, Zac Cain, Gage Nischke, (middle row) Dayton Krueger, Alex Shutter, Dominic Bocchini, Drew Schweiger, Nick Casper, Brady Grapentine, Ben Potrykus, Layton Albright, manager Austin Ramminger, (back row) coach Jason Jaeckels, manager Nick Stucke, head coach Butch Cain, manager Luke Schneider and coach Tim Schultz. – Photo by Theresa Rose Photography PLYMOUTH – Heading into the 2014-2015 season Plymouth boys basketball head coach Butch Cain believed the senior players were prepared to step up to the challenge of a tough season and the seven juniors moving up from the junior varsity team were ready to step in and do positive things for the team.

Fast-forward four months to the end of the season. The Panthers finished the conference season at 10-4 (14-9 overall), good for second place in the Eastern Wisconsin Conference race to the Waupun Warriors (13-1 in EWC). Despite being upset, 71-52, by Cedarburg in a Division 2 regional match-up, Cain was happy with his players development throughout the season.

“We started the year with a large group of relatively inexperienced varsity players but many of them were seniors and juniors who grew into their roles quite quickly.”

“Prior time playing together and playing in a large number of tight contests early helped with the maturation process of our team. These games enabled us to get up to speed and understand what it takes to play at this level. Because of this we were able to put ourselves in position to win some games late,” said Cain.

The Panthers set lofty goals at the beginning of the season: winning conference, gaining a high seed in the state playoffs and advancing deep in the playoffs.

“Beating most teams in our current conference twice solidified our second-place finish in the EWC,” said the coach.

“We played a challenging schedule again and beat some quality programs along the way in games that we played some of our best basketball. We were rewarded with a three seed in the tournament.”

“We didn’t win our last game and this is not how we envisioned our season coming to a conclusion,” said coach Cain.

The team’s success and hard work by the team members allowed all 15 Panthers to earn a varsity letter for their contributions.

“The guys worked hard in every practice and game this season while playing with pride. The team displayed mental, physical and emotional toughness throughout the season. We were a team that fought hard from tip to the final buzzer and this is something our guys should be proud of,” Cain observed.

“Our team chemistry improved as the season went on and our effort was never questioned. We played through adversity and had many players step up when minutes presented themselves while helping us be the best team we could be.

“Our ability to go 8-10 players deep with a variety of talents allowed many of our players to help us compete night-in and night-out. Because of this we had a number of guys who were able to showcase their talents and play important roles in our team’s accomplishments.”

The 2015-2016 season will bring two challenges for the Panthers. Like the past season, graduation will heavily hit the Panthers as eight Panthers will graduate, including leading scorer and rebounder, senior Zac Cain (13.6 points-per-game average and 7.1 rebounds per game). Cain was a second-team All-EWC honoree and recipient of the Panthers’ Mr. Basketball award as voted on by his teammates.

Senior forward Matt Olig, the team’s second leading rebounder at 7.0 per game, received All-EWC honorable mention. He and senior Carter Kryzaniak received the PHS Coaches’ Awards as players who embodied the values that the program stood for.

Senior Brady Grapentine was assigned the opponent’s leading scorer on most occasions and earned the team’s Mr. Defense award. Senior Dominic Bocchini led the team in assists and steals at 3.6 and 1.6 per contest, respectively.

Grapentine paced PHS in twopoint field-goal shooting with 58.5 percent and free-throw accuracy with an outstanding 88.9. Junior TJ Moegenburg led in three-point shooting with an impressive 63.6 percent. Bocchini sank a team-high 23 three-point goals.

Senior Drew Schweiger earned the team’s Mr. Hustle award while junior Gage Nischke was honored with the Sixth-Man Award.

Cain, Grapentine, Olig and Schweiger were voted team captains this past season by the team.

Team managers, seniors Nick Stucke and Austin Ramminger, and freshman Luke Schneider earned letters for their time and commitment to the program.

“Our managers did a fantastic job for us,” said coach Cain.

He thanked all of the seniors for their four-year commitment to the program and wishes them all good luck in college.

The Panthers’ second challenge for next season will be the move to a new conference and face the challenges of learning the players, coaches and tendencies of four new teams: Berlin, Winneconne, Kettle Moraine Lutheran (Jackson) and Ripon. Making the move from the EWC to the East-Central with the Panthers will be Kewaskum, Waupun and Campbellsport.

“Next year looks to present new challenges with some really good teams entering into a new conference,” said the coach.

“We believe we have a talented group of freshman, sophomores and juniors who will be ready to build new rivalries. Their off-season hard work and commitment along with their individual/team goals should establish momentum as well as potential for a successful season to come,” he said.

Coach Cain acknowledged many people contributing to the success of the team, including freshman coaches Scott Richards and Tim Struck, JV coach Jason Jaeckels and varsity assistant Tim Schultz. Athletic trainer Adam Brill worked to prepare the student-athletes for competition and keeping them healthy.

The Panthers received great support from their families and the booster club. The school, the PHS band, dance team and student body supported the team throughout the year as did Randy Schmitz keeping the scorebook and Bill Barber for transporting the team safely to their destinations.

Meyer Motors, Bank First National and Van Horn Dodge helped the Panthers with fund-raising.

The team would also like to thank the many others who took pictures, made posters or gave of their time in other ways to make this a fun, successful and fulfilling experience for all involved.

PLYMOUTH – Heading into the 2014-2015 season Plymouth boys basketball head coach Butch Cain believed the senior players were prepared to step up to the challenge of a tough season and the seven juniors moving up from the junior varsity team were ready to step in and do positive things for the team.

Fast-forward four months to the end of the season. The Panthers finished the conference season at 10-4 (14-9 overall), good for second place in the Eastern Wisconsin Conference race to the Waupun Warriors (13-1 in EWC). Despite being upset, 71-52, by Cedarburg in a Division 2 regional match-up, Cain was happy with his players development throughout the season.

“We started the year with a large group of relatively inexperienced varsity players but many of them were seniors and juniors who grew into their roles quite quickly.”

“Prior time playing together and playing in a large number of tight contests early helped with the maturation process of our team. These games enabled us to get up to speed and understand what it takes to play at this level. Because of this we were able to put ourselves in position to win some games late,” said Cain.

The Panthers set lofty goals at the beginning of the season: winning conference, gaining a high seed in the state playoffs and advancing deep in the playoffs.

“Beating most teams in our current conference twice solidified our second-place finish in the EWC,” said the coach.

“We played a challenging schedule again and beat some quality programs along the way in games that we played some of our best basketball. We were rewarded with a three seed in the tournament.”

“We didn’t win our last game and this is not how we envisioned our season coming to a conclusion,” said coach Cain.

The team’s success and hard work by the team members allowed


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