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Balanced scoring leads De Pere over Preble

By Greg Bates

GREEN BAY – Two games into the season, the De Pere boys’ basketball team has proved it’s a tough group to defend.

It doesn’t have one player it continually feeds the ball to and racks up the points – it’s a group effort.

Will Dehn tallied a game-high 21 points and freshman John Kinziger and older brother Jake both added 19 points in De Pere’s 72-44 victory over Green Bay Preble in a Fox River Classic Conference game Dec. 13.

“Obviously, Will needs to get shots,” said De Pere head coach Brian Winchester. “John Kinziger needs to get shots. Ben Basten against Stevens Point was 8-for-11 from three. I told the kids in the locker room after the game, ‘It’s going to be, whose night it is? You don’t know that going in, so you have to stay patient and confident.’”

Feeding the hot hand is going to be an every-night sight for De Pere (2-0 overall, 1-0 FRCC).

“Our offense is moving well,” Dehn said. “We have good guards that are penetrating for us, creating open looks for everybody and we’re an all-around solid unit right now.”

De Pere, which played its first game in 10 days following its season-opening thumping of Stevens Point, is now averaging 79 points per game.

“One of the huge keys for us is our offensive execution,” said Winchester, whose team finished 18-for-54 from the field for the game. “Although we had 72 points tonight, our offensive execution wasn’t great. When we’re playing fast, we need to find those opportunities where we need to slow down.”

De Pere came out of the gate slow, as Preble (0-2, 0-1 FRCC) led 12-8 six minutes into the contest.

“We came out with great intensity, and we were fighting hard,” said Preble coach Andy Bobholz. “We battled well in the first half, and then we couldn’t hit our free throws. They were hitting free throws and we missed our free throws, and that’s where they got a little bit of a lead.”

In a game marred with fouls – 45 in all – De Pere was a robust 30-for-35 from the free-throw line, while Preble was 9-for-17.

The Redbirds went from trailing by four points to up nine, using a 17-4, first-half run.

“We picked up the intensity defensive-wise, and I created open looks for us offensively, which fueled us to go on the run,” said Dehn, who pulled down a team-high nine rebounds.

Preble pulled with eight, 33-25, with less than one minute remaining in the opening half, but De Pere’s lead ballooned to 22 after John Kinziger nailed a 3-pointer to make it 54-32 with 8:28 remaining in the game.

De Pere went to a 1-3-1 zone early in the second half.

“The pressure and changing things up a bit, I thought the kids did a good job creating some things out of the 1-3-1,” Winchester said.

The second half is also when John Kinziger started heating up.

After scoring 18 points in his varsity debut in the first game of the season, Kinziger put up 15 of his 19 points in the last 12 minutes versus Preble.

He did all that in 23 minutes on the court.

“He is as talented as any incoming freshman as we’ve had,” Winchester said. “He has a mentality about him that’s way beyond being a freshman. His basketball maturity is beyond what you can even imagine. He’s going to do a lot of good things for us this season.”

The youngest Kinziger is the seventh man in De Pere’s roster, but he’s become one of the top-scoring options.

Winchester credits the team’s seniors for accepting the freshman and allowing him to be successful.

“Our older guys have looked at him and said, ‘He’s going to help us win,’” Winchester said. “They’ve embraced him. That says a lot about our team and the character of our kids.”

Said Dehn: “He’s awesome. He’s a great player. He’ll have more games like that. He is giving his all and helping us out.”

Preble tried to take advantage of its height difference with a pair of 6-foot-8 players in the middle.

The team’s two bigs, Ashton Markell and Michael Schultz, Jr., combined for 14 points.

Evan Holm led all Hornets scorers with 11 points.

Bobholz takes away a lot of positives from how his players fought.

He had a simple message for his guys after the game.

“Keep bringing the intensity, and that intensity has got to come the entire game long – it can’t be a half,” Bobholz said. “These guys are all brand-new starters, so they’re still young in that process.”

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