Despite facing one of the toughest postseason roads of any Manitowoc County boys basketball team, head coach Steve Brooks led his Reedsville squad two rounds deeper in the WIAA State Boys Basketball Tournament than any other local program.
Because of the Panthers’ efforts in squaring off with — and beating — several top-ranked teams throughout the season, Brooks has been selected as this year’s Herald Times Reporter All-Area Boys Basketball Coach of the Year.
The regular season wasn’t an easy one for the team and its coach but through it all Brooks fought off health issues and when the postseason came he had his team ready to play. Reedsville finished the regular season 7-15 and third in the Olympian Conference at 5-13 en route to being named a No. 6 seed in the Division 4 bracket.
Opening with a 75-50 home win over No. 11 Manawa, the Panthers pulled off their first upset when Brett Dvorachek his a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in a 38-37 regional semifinal road win over No. 3 Oshkosh Lourdes, which was 14-7 entering the game.
From there Reedsville once again pulled off an upset, this time a 58-56 road win over Algoma for a regional championship.
Having bested a No. 3 and No. 2 seed, the Panthers followed up its regional championship win by leading nearly wire-to-wire in a 55-50 sectional semifinal win over No. 1 Shiocton, which entered the game with just two losses at 21-2.
Needing one win to make it to the State semifinals in Madison, Reedsville fell one point short in a 47-46 sectional final loss to No. 1 Amherst (21-3) in Waupaca.
With the loss the Panthers finished the season 11-15 and as one of Manitowoc County’s hottest teams entering next season. With only two players graduating in May, Brooks has already begun to stress to his players the hard work and dedication needed to return to the level the team reached this year.