By Murray Gleffe
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay East Red Devils boys’ basketball team is coming off a six-win season where it lost three games by five points or less.
“Last season was difficult for us and the Green Bay (public) schools,” East Head Coach Rick Rosinski said. “We were six weeks behind everybody else. For the limited experience we endured, we still battled in lots of games.”
The Red Devils haven’t had a winning season under Rosinski since 2010-11 when they went 13-10.
“You take it year-by-year and work with what you have,” Rosinski said. “There are lots of roadblocks we face. Things aren’t always easy – whether it’s in the classroom or the household. Most members in Brown County don’t realize the challenges we as coaches deal with every day.”
East lost guards Alex Aoki and Seth Campbell but return a vast array of playmakers from last season.
Ryan Sweeney, Jalen Flowers and Bill Felix are a 1-2-3 punch that could cause headaches for its opponents.
The trio combined to average more than 41 points as juniors.
Flowers had eight games where he reached double figures in points.
In addition, he distributed the ball and grabbed rebounds despite being undersized.
“I like to mix it up,” Flowers said. “The Malone is my favorite move. I look forward to getting out there with my guys and getting things done. I have a deep love for the coaches, and it’s been a fun four years. I love when we get together as a group after games and chow down some Buffalo Wild Wings.”
Despite their accolades, only Sweeney was named to the 2020-21 Bay Conference team.
“(Sweeney is) an unselfish kid who doesn’t care who scores,” Rosinski said. “He’s a competitor who gets along well with his teammates. I never have to raise my voice. We get drills accomplished in practice how we want because of his leadership.”
Felix, on the other hand, brings muscle to the paint.
Last season, he scored 19 points in a road game at Xavier, which wound up qualifying for the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 2 State Tournament.
This year’s Red Devils will have to bring along Oliver Killian, Cole Gillespie, Tyler Boeder and Vance Alexander quickly to round out their rotation.
“In the offseason, (Killian) and (Alexander) stepped up in workouts,” Rosinski said. “I think you’ll see a big difference with them on the floor, both offensively and defensively. They make good decisions with the ball.”
If the Red Devils are to make waves this season, they’ll most likely have to get by Seymour, West De Pere and Xavier to reach the upper echelon of the league.
“If our kids take what they’ve done in the summer and last season to the court this year, I think we can hang with anybody,” Rosinski said. “In the past, we’ve been mislabeled or underappreciated by most programs. We have a chance to surprise and compete.”
Despite having its Dec. 10 game against Green Bay West postponed because of COVID-19 protocols, East has started the season 3-0.
2021-22 Green Bay East boys’ basketball regular-season schedule
12/14 – @ Plymouth
12/16 – Xavier
12/18 – Monona Grove – 3:30 p.m.
12/21 – Oconto Falls
12/23 – @ Antigo – 7:15
12/28 – @ Clintonville – 5:30 p.m.
1/4 – @ New London
1/6 – Sturgeon Bay
1/7 – @ West De Pere
1/13 – @ Shawano
1/18 – @ Green Bay Southwest
1/20 – Menasha
1/25 – @ Seymour
1/29 – @ Green Bay West – 4 p.m.
2/3 – @ Xavier
2/7 – Wausau West
2/11 – New London
2/15 – West De Pere
2/18 – Shawano
2/24 – @ Menasha
Sports editor’s note: All games begin at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.