De Pere to use speed and defense
By Rich Palzewic
DE PERE – The De Pere boys’ basketball team will have a different look this season.
Gone are big men Brad Nies and Jack Coisman, so the Redbirds will have to rely on team speed and defense to contend for a Fox River Classic Conference title.
“We intentionally work on our defense late in practice to assess where our intensity and energy is,” said head coach Brian Winchester. “We’re not overly big this year with the loss of Brad and Jack. We could count on one of those guys to hang back and clean up our mess on defense and get some rebounds. We are fast and athletic, and we have to pressure the basketball. If our defensive pressure is consistent, our goal is to turn that into easy offense. We want to play fast, and it fits who we have for players this year.”
The 6-foot-7 Nies averaged 16 points and 8.2 rebounds a game his senior year.
Coisman (6-foot-6) missed a good portion of his senior year with an injury.
De Pere will also miss graduated guard Mason Ellis (6.6).
The Redbirds concluded the 2019 season with an overall record of 14-9, including an 11-7 mark in the FRCC.
“I’m excited about this group of kids,” Winchester said. “Our attitude and energy are great.”
De Pere returns plenty of offensive firepower this year.
Will Dehn, who led Division 1 in three-point shooting last season, averaged 10.7 points a game as a sophomore.
“Hopefully, Will takes another step forward this year,” said Winchester. “As a junior with a year under his belt, he has worked hard. He has to become more than a spot-up shooter to add other aspects to his game.”
Seniors Ben Basten (8), Ethan Hohol (5.1) and Jake Kinziger also return after logging significant minutes last season.
“Jake Kinziger is a huge key for us this year,” Winchester said. “He knows the ins and outs of everything we do. He has to be our coach on the floor. He shouldn’t even have to look at me during the game to know what’s going on next. Ben Basten is extremely athletic and has to play instinctively – naturally react to everything. Ethan Hohol brings great intensity and gets it done on both ends of the floor. He’s the glue of our team.”
Winchester also mentioned junior Maddax Shinners and freshman Johnny Kinziger as two players he expects to contribute this season.
“Our depth will play a significant factor for us,” said Winchester. “It will allow us to press and play fast.”
Winchester said the FRCC will be wide open this year.
“Bay Port will be good,” he said. “I believe my team will be right there, too. There are two interesting teams – Manitowoc Lincoln and Sheboygan South. Notre Dame is a year older and Pulaski is always tough. I don’t see an undefeated or one-loss team that wins the conference. Early-season games will matter – you can’t lose many and get behind.”
De Pere boys’ basketball schedule
12/3 – Stevens Point
12/13 – @ Green Bay Preble
12/17 – Pulaski
12/20 – Manitowoc Lincoln – 5:40 p.m.
12/30 – @ West De Pere – 4 p.m.
1/2 – Green Bay Southwest
1/7 – Bay Port
1/10 – Sheboygan South
1/14 – @ Notre Dame Academy
1/17 – Ashwaubenon
1/18 – @ Brookfield Central High School vs. Pewaukee – 6 p.m.
1/24 – @ Sheboygan North
1/25 – Kimberly
1/28 – Preble
1/31 – @ Manitowoc
2/4 – @ Pulaski
2/7 – @ Bay Port – 5:40 p.m.
2/11 – @ Sheboygan South
2/14 – Notre Dame
2/18 – @ Ashwaubenon
2/21 – @ Southwest
2/27 – Sheboygan North
Editor’s note: All games begin at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.