Prep Basketball Formidable Five: Lutheran faces early- season test

Prep Basketball Formidable Five: Lutheran faces early- season test

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Prep Basketball Formidable Five: Lutheran faces early- season test

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Sheboygan Lutheran’s boys basketball team has looked every bit like the big-time contender it thought it could be this year.

The Crusaders, who won a Division 5 state title two years ago and followed it up last season with a regional crown, have gotten off to a hot 4-0 start. They’ve beaten perennially strong Oostburg — an essential credential for a team looking for a Central Lakeshore Conference title — and have posted each win this year by a comfortable margin.

Still, Lutheran’s as-yet toughest challenge of the season could come this weekend, when the Crusaders face off against Green Bay NEW Lutheran — the same team that knocked Sheboygan out of the sectional semifinals in last year’s playoffs before settling for a second-place finish in the state tournament.

Saturday’s clash against the Blazers has the potential to be a watershed moment in the Crusaders’ promising season. A win against the currently top-ranked Division 5 team in the state (that’s according to the latest WisSports.net coaches poll) would put arguably the biggest feather in Lutheran’s hat since the Sam Dekker-led team hoisted a gold trophy in Madison two winters ago.

That won’t be a feat easily accomplished, though. There’s a reason, after all, the Blazers are looking at most other Wisconsin basketball teams in their rearview mirror. The team’s high-powered offense is averaging more than 60 points per game. Nathan Toenjes and Dakota Zinser have proved the Blazers’ most consistently potent offensive weapons, though the team has a number of players who have become capable point-scorers.

The Crusaders are ranked fourth among Division 5 teams in the latest WisSports.net poll, and have made winning four straight games appear about as easy as lacing up their sneakers. Second-year coach Nick Verhagen’s team has averaged 67 points per game and notched double-digit margins of victory in each of its contests so far.

Which means the ingredients are all there to make Saturday’s one of Sheboygan Lutheran’s biggest games of the year.

Expect fireworks.

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Prep Basketball Formidable Five: Lutheran faces early- season test
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