By Craig Marx, Editor
Antigo boys basketball returns to action this 2016-17 with minimal losses in personnel numbers from last season. Having graduated seniors Sam Brettingen and Zach Falk, the Red Robins of this year still retain a few of their key offensive assets from a season prior.
Matt Arndt, a senior guard, returns to the court after finishing on the first team all-Great Northern Conference last year. Arndt was a sniper from behind the arch, dropping 27 three pointers in conference play while finishing fourth overall in individual scoring by averaging 16.5 points and 4.1 assists per game.
Also returning as a senior is Drew Schwarz, who like Arndt is adept at shooting the long ball (28 on the year last season) and was also named to the second team of the all-GNC for his 14.1 PPG average. Schwarz’s teammate, Falk, whose loss may be felt as a third guard, was an honorable mention in the conference as well.
The Robins finished 16-9 overall last season, playoffs included, and 6-6 in the GNC. Statistically, Antigo finished middle of the pack in nearly every category of the seven-team conference, including scoring offense (3rd, 61.4) scoring defense (2nd, 56.4), rebounding (4th, 25.3) and assists (3rd, 8.1).
Antigo began the WIAA postseason last year with a 76-59 win over Waupaca. What followed was one of the crazier games Robin basketball fans have ever witnessed, a game against an impressive Rhinelander squad in which Antigo controlled possession of the ball nearly the entire game, squandering the Hodags’ offensive touches and holding out for a 14-11 win.
Coach Jesse Shaw and his men would go on to lose to Wausau East 75-41 to end their playoff run – the furthest the team had made it into the postseason in four years. The 2015-16 year had its ups and downs, and four games could have seen the Robins add to their win column had last-second baskets not dropped.
“[It was] a broken record [last] year,” Shaw said late into the season last year. “Four times we had lost on a last-second shot. I told the boys that it doesn’t seem fair, but then again life isn’t fair. This becomes a life lesson for all of us.”
With the offense mostly intact for the Robins, the 2016-17 team will be a veteran squad to be reckoned with. Antigo lists three seniors on its roster, including Hunter Cornelius, Arndt and Schwarz. Six juniors fill out the majority of the Robins’ roster spots, including Zach Morris, Thomas Nelson, Brady Tatro, Marcus Stern, Hunter Bolson, and AJ Kirsch. Two underclassmen are also on the varsity squad this season in Nevin Cornelius (freshman) and Sebastian Noskowiak (sophomore).
Interesting games to consider this year include a rematch at Wausau East (Dec. 22), Rhinelander at home midway through the season (Jan. 17, the second of a six-game home stand) and two consecutive, challenging road games to close the year at Rhinelander (Feb. 17) and at Wausau West (Feb. 20).
2016-17 AHS Boys Basketball Schedule
All times are 7:15 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
Tuesday, November 29 – at Wabeno/Laona (7 p.m.) – Wabeno High School
Monday, December 5 – vs. Iola-Scandinavia – Antigo High School
Friday, December 9 – at Lakeland – Lakeland Union High School
Monday, December 12 – at Menominee (Mich.) – Menominee High School
Thursday, December 15 – vs. Northland Pines – Antigo High School
Tuesday, December 20 – at Assumption – Assumption High School
Thursday, December 22 – at Wausau East – Wausau East High School
Tuesday, January 3 – at Mosinee – Mosinee High School
Friday, January 6 – vs. Tomahawk – Antigo High School
Thursday, January 12 – at Medford – Medford Area High School
Friday, January 13 – vs. Wittenberg-Birnamwood – Antigo High School
Tuesday, January 17 – vs. Rhinelander – Antigo High School
Monday, January 23 – vs. D.C. Everest – Antigo High School
Thursday, January 26 – vs. Lakeland – Antigo High School
Friday, January 27 – vs. Pacelli – Antigo High School
Monday, January 30 – vs. Crandon – Antigo High School
Tuesday, January 31 – at Northland Pines – Northland Pines High School
Friday, February 3 – vs. Mosinee – Antigo High School
Thursday, February 9 – at Tomahawk – Tomahawk High School
Tuesday, February 14 – vs. Medford – Antigo High School
Friday, February 17 – at Rhinelander – Rhinelander High School
Monday, February 20 – at Wausau West – Wausau West High School