A great season is just beyond the horizon for the Two Rivers boys basketball team if everything goes according to plan for Raiders coach Randy Fredikson.
Despite last season’s 13-11 overall record, the Raiders were almost doomed from the start after losing six of their first seven games. Two Rivers rebounded to go 12-5 the rest of the way and avoided the first sub-.500 season in seven years.
“Last season was a real learning experience,” Fredrikson stated. “Our team had to learn how to play without Shawn (Shillcox, who injured his ACL before the season). It was rough going to start but we turned things around.”
With eight returning starters — including first-team All-Eastern Wisconsin Conference and Division 3 All-State honorable mention selection in senior Brett Linzmeier — Fredrikson has reason for optimism.
“Brett is going to be a big part of our offense this season,” Fredrikson said. “He’s got lots of experience while bring a great balance of leadership and a never-quit attitude.”
Linzmeier, the school record holder for most points in a season by a freshman, sophomore and junior while being the fastest to 1,000 career points, is joined by the equally-explosive junior Dexter Smith. The duo combined to score 34 points per game last season, meaning teams won’t be able to key in on just Linzmeier.
In fact, Smith tied the school record for most points scored by a sophomore with 32 twice last season. On both occasions, Smith also tied the record for most 3-point shots made in a game with eight.
Fredrikson is excited over the prospect of both Linzmeier and Smith manning the offense.
“Our guard play this season is going to be really something special,” Fredrikson added. “Both Brett and Dexter can push the ball and are special ball handlers.”
One area of concern for Fredrikson is offensive rebounding, but with the return of senior Brett Kasper and the arrival of 6-5 sophomore Jordan Steckler, that shouldn’t be as big of a problem as the season progresses.
“Kasper just brings a real tough, lunch-pail mentality to the game,” Fredrikson said.
Fredriskon said he was just as thrilled about Steckler, saying a player with such a strong wide body rarely comes with as soft of a shot as Steckler possesses.
“Players like Jordan are real gems,” Fredrikson noted. “They don’t come around too often and he’ll really give us a much needed added dimension around the boards.”
In Fredrikson’s mind, with everyone returning and the addition of Steckler, nothing short of an Eastern Wisconsin Conference title at the end of the season is expected of his Raiders.