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Current Sports: 11/19/14 (Click HERE for Archived Sports):
  • Record breakers
  • Wesclin gridders show progress
  • Wesclin girls open with road win
  • Reliving The Dream Wesclin Basketball's Championship Season

  • Record breakers

    WESCLIN VOLLEYBALL SENIORS CARRIE Rakers and Ally Isenhower were recognized at the recent volleyball banquet for having broken Wesclin career records during the season. Wesclin coach Becky Musso noted that Rakers (left) became the school's career leader in blocking, while Isenhower is tops in school history in career assists and service aces. Both players were selected to the All-Cahokia Conference team for their performance this season.

    Wesclin gridders show progress

    by Daniel L. Chamness

    Ric Johns, Wesclin's football coach, did not just see improvement with his team this year.

    He saw it every day. That being said, Johns, a veteran coach who has been in the profession for over 30 years, is still not where he would like to be. The Wesclin Warriors finished the year with a 2-7 mark, which was a huge step up from the 0-9 mark of 2013 and 2012.

    "We managed to be in a few of those games," said Johns. "Last year, we usually were done by the fourth quarter."

    They were more than competitive against Freeburg and in the first Carlyle game. They lost the pair of games each by a touchdown or less, as Carlyle won a 15-9 decision, while Freeburg only topped Wesclin by a field goal, beating them 21-18.

    "One thing about Wesclin that I love is the competitive nature of the school," said Johns. "They get into it. I am not talking just about our players, I am talking about the school, the community and the fans. From kickoff time to the final buzzer, the players are fighting to win the game. And everyone else is cheering them on."

    Most of Wesclin's rushing attack was by two people, Justin Goff and Mitchell Kollmann, who will be graduating. Goff had 70 carries for 893 yards, averaging a lofty 12.8 yards per carry, including four 100-yard performances. Kollmann had 94 carries for 415 yards. While those two will be graduating, quarterback Hayden Rapien returns for the Warriors. He had 262 rushing yards on 45 carries. He completed 12-of-25 passes for 290 yards as well. Goff, who was an all-stater in track and field, was named to the Cahokia Conference all-conference team. He also had 42 total tackles, 29 of which were solos.

    "We want to hit the weight room, hard," said Johns. "We are hoping for some more numbers as well."

    Goff was one of four Warriors named to the All-Conference team. Nathan Herr (defensive line), Blake Laird (linebacker) and Chris Cornwell (offensive lineman) were the other three.

    Herr finished the year with 23 tackles, while Laird had 57 tackles. Herr made 16 solo stops, while Laird made 36 solos. Herr, Laird and Cornwell will return in one year.

    Travis Arrington, is another athlete that will not return, but was injured early in the year.

    "Travis getting injured was a turning point for us," said Johns. "It was a pivotal point. He added some depth to our team. We need to have three-sport athletes come out for the team. We want the best athletes out for each sport and every sport."

    With Rapien and some key defensive players returning in one year, Wesclin expects to build on this year's improvement.

    Wesclin girls open with road win

    Wesclin's girls basketball team traveled a long way to get their first win of the 2014-15 campaign, but the Warriors put away Bunker Hill with ease to get off to a 1-0 start to the season.

    Three Wesclin players reached double figures on a night when the Warriors canned 27 of 54 shots from the field and 14 of 20 free throws on their way to a 75-35 win over the Minutewomen.

    Carrie Rakers recorded a double-double with 15 points and ten rebounds. Zoe Christopher netted 18 points to go with eight rebounds. Carly Haukapp knocked down 19 points for scoring honors, and dished five assists. Kenzie Kellogg contributed eight points and pulled down ten rebounds.

    Wesclin also got eight points from Mayghen Mugele; two each from Cami Meddows, Hannah Arentsen, and Claire Gruenke; and one from Kaitlin Hagarty.

    The Warriors' travel schedule won't be quite so murderous this Thanksgiving season as in years past, when Wesclin competed in the Piasa Southwestern tournament. This year, Wesclin will play in the Nashville tournament that starts Tuesday.

    Wesclin pens against host and perennial power Nashville on Tuesday at 8 p.m. The Warriors continue pool play with matchups against Collinsville at 11:30 on Friday, and Mt. Vernon at 7 p.m. the same day. Saturday's championship round will be determined by pool results. The other side of the bracket includes Okawville, Althoff, Freeburg, and Mascoutah.

    Reliving The Dream Wesclin Basketball's Championship Season

    The upcoming basketball season marks the 25th anniversary of the historic run of Wesclin's 1989-90 basketball team, which won the only basketball state championship in school history. This is part of a series of reminiscences by New Baden native Larry Thoeming, a Wesclin graduate who followed the team throughout the season as a newspaper reporter.

    The Little Dribblers Connection

    by Larry Thoeming

    After a long conversation with Terry Brinkman, I have managed to put together a fairly accurate (I hope) description of the beginnings of the Little Dribblers Basketball program.

    Around 1972 Wesclin Warrior basketball coach Dave Brede was looking for something to help get younger boys interested in basketball. The National Little Dribblers program, based in Texas, somehow came to the attention of Steve Weaver, Wesclin Class of 1966. Weaver was coaching at St. George Grade School at the time, and was instrumental, with help and financing from the New Baden Jaycees, in getting the program off the ground. Brinkman was involved almost from the get-go, and still manages the operations today. Teams were formed and games for kids through sixth grade were played every Saturday morning at the high school, save for a few years when the operation was moved to the gym at New Baden. The program was open to any boy in the district, and later a girls program was added. The Trenton Jaycees stepped up a little later and helped with expenses.

    The idea was to get the kids  involved, learn some basic skills, attain some competitive fire, have some fun, and maybe get picked to be on the travel team and go on  to the National Tournament in Texas. It may have had pie-in-the-sky goals, but the guys involved made it happen, and the Dribblers have sent at least one age group to Texas every year since the beginning. Chick Kluemke took over for Weaver for a couple of years, and Brinkman has been the main guy since Kluemke's  departure.

    In 1973 the team actually won the National Title! In fact, titles were won in '73, '80, '83, '84, '85, '86, '90, and 2004.

    Again, I really hate to mention names, because I know I'll miss some. But I'm going to do it here in hopes that readers will respond with additions, and maybe some helpful comments. In fact kind reader Russ Launer wrote a nice note about last weeks' story to remind us that another coach had been at the helm for a while. Chuck Pawley was the boss in '68-'69, and Launer remembers him as somewhat of a vociferous fellow.

    Anyway, many, many future Warriors (and some future Mater Dei Knights) got their starts in the Dribblers program, had success there and went on to great prep careers... names like Welz, Strake, Strubhart, Farrar, Hilmes, Wutzler, Draper, Rogers, Borowiak, McIntyre, Mueller, Bair, Friederich, Arthur, Wellinghoff, Mueth, Hodges, Goebel, Flowers, Deien, Baumgartner, Mallrich, Hubert, Heier, Brefeld, Horenkamp, Detmer, Oster, Spihlman, Schulte, Becherer, Jansen, Seibert, Stempel, Billhartz, Ritzheimer, Feldt, Brokering, Wegman, Maddenwald, Hempen, Deiters, Macke, Lusk, Brede, Brandmeyer and many, many others come to mind. Think about it, and please feel free to send any other names near and dear to you. I promise to add them to the list.

    My first contact with the Dribblers came one Saturday morning when my friend Bryan Marsh asked me to come over to Baden and watch his son Scott play. I did, and that was the first time I had been in the Baden gym in many years... the gym where I had seen Dale Bann get his nose smashed in PE... never saw so much blood in my life! The gym where they had tried to make me climb that danged rope... No Way! The gym where I touched the backboard for the very first time, and had seen so many great games at the Wesclin Invitational. Now, I watched little fellers all over the place, and quickly noticed one skinny little guy shooting free throws left-handed...and sinking them over and over again. "Who is that?," I asked my friend. "Oh, that's Dave Brede's boy," Bryan answered. I was stunned by the likeness.

    Brede played on a couple of the Championship teams and scored 44 points on two occasions. Paul Lusk played after his family moved to town, but was denied a trip to Texas  by a medical issue. Seeds were sown, and great rewards were to be reaped in coming years. There is no doubt in my mind that the Little Dribblers were part of what culminated in Champaign in the late winter of 1990.

    Next week, the Junior High Years.

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