SHOTS from the Hip
By Cripe Olson
Winter sports began full throttle as boys basketball and wrestling began their respective seasons on Monday. Head Coach Nick Johnson begins his 11th season at the helm and sports an overall record of 203-48. Returning this season will be All Conference junior guard Jordan Malmlov along with Honorable Mention All Conference sophomore Dallas Wallin. Bloomer native Jordan Poirier enters his fifth season as head coach of the Cardinal wrestling team. A former WIAA State Champion, Poirier returns seven letterwinners to the mat this season. Speaking of Poirier, the Bloomer High School alumnus broke both of his legs in a car accident in April of his junior year. Incredibly Poirier returned to wrestle in the fall, finishing his senior season with a state title and an overall record of 44-5.
Malmlov is poised to become Prescott basketball’s next 1,000 point scorer this season.
Congratulations to Head Coach Rob Heller and the Ellsworth Panthers on advancing to the WIAA Division IV State Title game this week in Madison. The #2 ranked Panthers throttled the Freedom Irish by a score of 46-7 and will play Catholic Memorial in the championship game. In Division 5 La Crosse Aquinas, another Prescott opponent this season, will face Mayville in the title game. The season of former Middle Border Conference member Durand ended with a 28-24 semi-final loss to Colby. Durand’s senior running back/quarterback finished the season with an incredible 43 touchdowns and 2,805 yards rushing.
The Prescott girls basketball team under Head Coach Joan Korfhage opens the season this week with two home games. The Cardinals play host to Hudson on Friday and will open Middle Border Conference play at Altoona next Tuesday. Prescott is the two-time defending Middle Border conference champion and has won 28 consecutive conference games.
Isabella Lenz scored 13 points including three 3 pointers as the Michigan Tech Huskies humbled William Jewell University by a score of 75-49 in game two of the Northern Michigan Basketball Invitational Tournament. The night before the Huskies defeated Lewis College by a score of 75-71. Lenz and the Huskies are favored to win the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference this season.
Hailee Yaeger and the UW-Stout Blue Devils opened their season with a 76-44 trouncing of UW-Superior last week and split games this weekend in the Loras College Tip Off. The Blue Devils fell to the hosts by a score of 79-72, but rebounded on Saturday with a 96-79 victory over Bethel improving to 2-1 on the season. A 1,000-point scorer in high school, Yaeger is in her third season with Blue Devils and is coming off an impressive sophomore season where she averaged 10.9 points per game.
Glad to see Arkansas Head Basketball Coach Eric Musselman having his Razorback basketball team using his father’s pre-game warm up routine to Sweet Georgia Brown. Bill Musselman, the senior, packed Williams Arena in the early 1970’s with a pregame warm up focused almost solely on ball handling. My guess is a few people reading these comments remember the senior Musselman’s teams at Minnesota, including the brawl with Ohio State involving Gopher players Ron Behagen, Corky Taylor, and Hall of Famer Dave Winfield.
Prescott Athletic Director Andrew Caudill calls finding officials for non-varsity contests extremely challenging. From Middle School competition to lower level high school games, securing officials willing to work remains a daunting task for schools around the country. The reasons for the dearth of game referees run the gamut, however the conventional wisdom is young officials, who begin their careers at the lower levels, have no interest in enduring sophomoric, rude, and boorish fans and coaches who have made berating and ridiculing officials during games commonplace. We are running out of officials. If you want a new generation of officials to don the whistle let’s clean up the behavior on the sidelines and in the stands.
From the Department of Natural Resources: Vehicle admission stickers for 2022 will go on sale Nov. 26. The $28 pass allows entry into any of Wisconsin’s 66 state parks and makes a tremendous holiday gift.
Headshaker of the week: The unfortunate events surrounding the disqualification of the Madison Edgewood football team from postseason play should serve as a warning to other high school programs. With players moving from program to program and state to state ensuring players are eligible becomes a more difficult cast. Out of season competitions involving club teams, travel teams, showcases, all-star games show today that there is no such thing as a basketball or baseball season. The lines are blurred when it comes to playing high school sports. No season is sacrosanct anymore. It’s a headshaker.