Knowing the amount of talent he has back from a good Central Wisconsin Christian boys basketball team last year, head coach Dan Ten Napel isn’t shy about the outlook for 2013-14.
“We have really high goals for our team this year,” he said. “In the past, we haven’t been able to win a conference championship because Randolph has won it the past seven years. And we haven’t been able to get past them in tournaments. We think this can be the year we put things together and do it.”
Ten Napel has good reason for thinking that, as his Crusaders are stocked full of size and experience. Only three players are gone from last year’s team that went 17-6 overall and took second in the Trailways Central Conference (11-4) behind the Rockets. CWC was second to Randolph in the standings in 2011-12 also, and last year the top-seeded Rockets ended the Crusader’s season in a WIAA Division 5 Regional Final.
CWC graduated two players that were tough to replace in Trevor Zonnefeld and Trevor De Vries, who earned first and second-team Trailways honors, respectively. Zonnefeld was third on the team in scoring (9.4 points per game) and first in rebounds (9.0), while De Vries was second in scoring (9.8) and rebounds (6.6).
But the Crusaders bring back enough pieces to be as good or better than last season. Leading the returnees is junior Tyler De Young (6-foot-4), a second-team pick who was the top scorer last year at 12.4 ppg). He’s complimented by the smallish Jason Bruanschweig, a 5-9 junior who earned honorable mention by averaging 8.1 points, 2.1 assists and 2.1 steals. He enters is third year on varsity.
“I’m really hoping that this is a team that just plays well together,” Ten Napel said. “I think we’ll be as talented as we were last year. I think we have some other guys that will step up and fill those graduated guys’ rolls. We won’t be quite as big, but we’ll still have good size.”
The Crusaders’ other top returners are led by 6-4 junior Cody Zonnefeld, who averaged 6.5 points and 1.9 assists. He recently finished a stellar soccer season, scoring 32 goals and 11 assists for the Crusaders. Senior Logan Ganz (6-2) also will take on a bigger role this winter after averaging 4.5 points as a junior. He was CWC’s goalkeeper this fall.
“Ganz is a senior who’s a really tough defender and a good leader offensively and defensively,” Ten Napel said. “He brings a lot of toughness to the team. Zonnefeld was injured a lot last year. He still played a decent amount but was hampered by that. We think he’ll do big things for us.”
Ten Napel also expects big things out of 6-5 senior Andrew Greenfield, who chipped in 3.6 ppg a year ago, while seniors Jared Regnerus (6-4, 1.9 ppg) and Lucas Vander Berg (5-11, 1.9 ppg) also return. Seniors Tyler De Vries (6-4) and Dan Rostyne (6-3) are newcomers.
In all, seven of CWC’s nine varsity players played together on the Crusaders’ soccer team which fell just short of state via shootout in a sectional final.
Ten Napel said the early starting five is likely to be De Young, Braunschweig, Vander Berg, Greenfield and Ganz, though that lineup is tentative and on a week-to-week basis. CWC opened its season Friday night at Sheboygan Christian.