PHS focuses on working hard, improving

Panthers return two All-ECC players
by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


CODY KUHN looks for an open teammate while being defended by Alex Shutter during the Plymouth boys basketball practice Thursday afternoon. Kuhn and Shutter were All-ECC players last season. The Panthers open their season Tuesday, Nov. 22 at Sheboygan Falls. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley CODY KUHN looks for an open teammate while being defended by Alex Shutter during the Plymouth boys basketball practice Thursday afternoon. Kuhn and Shutter were All-ECC players last season. The Panthers open their season Tuesday, Nov. 22 at Sheboygan Falls. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley PLYMOUTH – The Plymouth boys basketball team is committed to working hard and constantly improving. Hopefully that dedication will help fuel a successful season for the Panthers.

The Panthers return three starters among six letter winners from last season’s squad which finished fourth in the tough East Central Conference with an 8-6 record and was 13-10 overall. PHS lost in Division 3 regional semifinal play to Grafton.

“It’s a very hard-working and dedicated group of players who worked hard to improve since last season. Our goal is to get better every day,” said second-year PHS head coach Tim Schultz.

“The keys to our season will be bringing a high level of effort to practices and games, having a positive hard-working attitude and being enthusiastic as both a team and as individuals.”

The returning starters are senior guards Cody Kuhn and Alex Shutter and senior forward Derek Schweiger. Kuhn and Shutter earned All-ECC honors last season – Kuhn on the second team and Shutter, honorable mention. The other letter winners are senior guard Matt Richards, senior forward Jake Steinhardt and junior guard Adam Smith.

Shutter and Kuhn led PHS in scoring last season with averages of 12.7 and 12.6 points per game, respectively. Kuhn, the Panthers' Most Valuable Player as a junior, hit a team-high 27 three-pointers.

Kuhn was the Panthers' top rebounder at 4.6 per contest and led in steals with a 1.3 average. Shutter led in assists at 2.3 per game.

“Any team is as good as its seniors. Based on what I have seen since the finish of last season I believe our seniors will be great leaders for our program,” Schultz said.

The coach has been impressed with all of the varsity newcomers thus far.

Schultz pointed out his team's strengths:

“A willingness to learn and work hard to improve. We are an athletic team that needs to improve our fundamentals daily and commit to playing defense.

“We have three returning starters. Two other players, senior Matt Richards and junior Adam Smith also received significant minutes. Senior Jake Steinhardt, who did not receive a lot of playing time last year, has proven in practice he is ready to play a much larger role this year,” said Schultz.

“We have a very balanced lineup with a number of players who will see significant playing time. We will be a deep team with many interchangeable parts.”

The Panthers are striving to improve on offense over last season and have their defense help generate points.

“We are working to become more consistent on both ends of the floor as a program. In order for us to be successful we have to have complete buy-in on the defensive end,” said the coach.

“We want our defense to be a trigger for our offense. Team defense takes a little bit of time to develop and come together, and hopefully we will see continued improvement in this area.

“The coaching staff, and I believe the players as well, prefer an up-tempo style of play. I personally believe it is the most fun to coach, play and watch. How much we press and trap will be dictated by scouting reports and how well our team commits to playing team defense,” said Schultz.

“Consistency is the key to improving our offense. We feel if we can score in the mid-60s or above we will greatly increase the likelihood of us winning a game.”

Schultz looks at Ripon and Waupun as the top ECC title contenders. Waupun is the defending Division 3 state champion and the reigning ECC titlist. Ripon finished second in the league last season.

Waupun will be led by sophomore wing Marcus Domask who was named to the All-ECC first team as a freshman. Ripon returns senior forward Bennett Vander Plas who was the ECC's Player of the Year and an All-ECC first team pick last season.

Domask and Vander Plas were Division 3 first-team all-state picks last season.

“The ECC is a very challenging conference with many talented teams,” observed Schultz.

Schultz stated his top goals for the season.

“For me, the goal for each season always remain the same: get better every day and play the game at a higher and higher level each day,” he said.

The Panthers will host county arch-rival Sheboygan Falls in their season opener Tuesday night, Nov. 22.


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