Wright, Pum lead the way for the Toppers

Bennett Wright hit the game-winning 3-pointer and free throw to lift the Toppers to a dramatic victory over Shoreland Lutheran Friday night. Please check out Thursday’s Burlington Standard Press for more from the game. (File photo/SLN)

 

By Andrew Horschak

Correspondent

Having a roster with no seniors is usually cause for worry, if not panic.

Don’t tell that to Catholic Central boys basketball coach Kyle Scott, though. He sees better things ahead for the Hilltoppers after finishing 4-19 overall and 2-14 in the Metro Classic Conference last season.

“We should be improved,” said the fifth-year coach whose team opens the season with a non-conference game at Faith Christian on Tuesday, Nov. 27 in Williams Bay.

“We have all juniors and they all contributed as sophomores – a lot of them played heavy minutes. Very talented class. They should be seasoned and ready to go. We should be pretty solid this year.”

With the graduation of Frank Koehnke, the Hilltoppers will need to find a way to replace his production. The second-team All-Metro Classic performer averaged 17.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per contest as a senior.

“Frank was a great player,” Scott said. “He was a pleasure to coach for four years. We have a hole to fill, but anytime someone leaves, it’s just an opportunity for other people. We’ve had nine guys who have worked extremely hard this summer and have made leaps and bounds improvements. I expect us to be able to fill in for Frank nicely.”

Guards Brandon Pum and Bennett Wright and forward Chas Miles are the top three returning players. Pum, an occasional starter as a sophomore, was the team’s second-leading scorer (7.6 ppg), while Wright (7.0 ppg) and Miles (5.7 ppg) are both returning starters.

Other returnees include David Doerflinger, Sam Henderson, Paul Nevin and Bennett Robson.

Unlike last year with Koehnke doing a bulk of the heavy lifting, the Hilltoppers do not have a go-to player.

“That’s the neat thing about this team,” Scott said. “Last year we kind of had one main offensive horse, especially after Chad Zirbel tore his ACL. With this year’s group, we have six or seven guys that can score 10 points a night. It’s very balanced.”

Taking a page from this year’s Milwaukee Bucks, the Hilltoppers will look to push the ball up the court and shoot more 3-pointers than they did in the past.

Wright and Pum, who combined for 52 treys last season, and Doerflinger were tabbed as the team’s top long-range shooters by their coach.

“These guys have proven they can knock ‘em down,” Scott said. “Those guys can all shoot it at a pretty good clip.”

Miles is the tallest player on the roster at 6-foot-4.

The Metro Classic is expected to be as rugged as ever. Defending champion Racine Prairie (15-1) was hit hard by graduation, but Greendale Martin Luther (14-2), Racine St. Catherine’s (12-4) and Whitefish Bay Dominican (11-5) are expected to battle for the top spot.

“Our league is tough,” Scott said. “There’s probably anywhere from six to 10 Division 1 players in our league. It’s a grind, but it gets you ready for the playoffs. I’m an uber-competitive person and I like the challenge night in and night out.”

 

 

Catholic Central High School

Boys Basketball Schedule

  • Tuesday, Dec. 4 – Racine Lutheran, 7 p.m.
  • Friday, Dec. 7 – at St. Thomas More, 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 11 – at Racine Prairie, 7 p.m.
  • Friday, Dec. 14 – Racine St. Catherine’s, 5:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Dec. 20 – at Oakfield, 7:15 p.m.
  • Friday, Dec. 21 – at Greendale Martin Luther, 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, Dec. 21 – at Williams Bay Tournament, TBD
  • Friday, Jan. 4 – Whitefish Bay Dominican, 5:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Jan. 5 – at Stockbridge, 2:45 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 15 – at Kenosha St. Joseph, 7 p.m.
  • Friday, Jan. 18 – at Shoreland Lutheran, 5:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 22 – Racine Prairie, 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Jan. 26 – St. Thomas More, 2 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 29 – at Racine Lutheran, 7 p.m.
  • Friday, Feb. 1 – at Racine St. Catherine’s, 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 5 – Greendale Martin Luther, 5:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 12 – Kenosha St. Joseph, 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 20 – at Whitefish Bay Dominican, 7 p.m.

 

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