Prep basketball: TR, Lincoln renew rivalry

Prep basketball: TR, Lincoln renew rivalry

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Prep basketball: TR, Lincoln renew rivalry

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Rivalries can either bring out the worst in fans, or be a chance to demonstrate mutual respect between similar fan bases.

When Two Rivers and Manitowoc Lincoln square off, like they will tonight at JFK Fieldhouse in both boys and girls basketball, Raiders’ boys coach Randy Fredrikson is glad the latter is almost always the case.

“It’s great this rivalry has been renewed,” Fredrikson said. “Both communities get involved in such a positive way and the fans have been very appropriate. Things don’t turn to a negative light, everything stays positive.”

Fredrikson’s counterpart for the Ships boys, Brian Gallagher, has similar thoughts.

“Having the two largest schools in the area playing each other is great,” Gallagher said. “Then playing it on a holiday weekend when a lot of kids are back from college and visiting their old school really adds something.”

This will be the third consecutive season Two Rivers and Lincoln will meet up after having not played for at least a decade.

Two Rivers girls coach, Mike Schultz, says the rivalry wasn’t what it used to be due to the year-round nature of the sport.

“(The rivalry) isn’t as big as it was because you see each other in the summer and everything else,” Schultz said. “It used to be you only played against each other maybe once a year but with offseason tournaments there’s more familiarity.”

That’s not to say the two schools know everything about each other.

Schultz says the Ships girls are a bit of a mystery to him under new coach Kate Deiters, who took over Lincoln two weeks before the season began. Deiters, originally the JV coach for the Ships, was elevated to the varsity level following the departure of Ryan O’Leary who himself was only hired back in March.

“With a new coaching staff, I don’t know what to expect,” Schultz said of his opponent tonight.

Deiters shares that uncertainty for her own team as well but is excited to get the season started.

“(Tonight) will give us a good chance to see where the girls are at,” Deiters said. “The girls are still learning the system but it’ll be nice to play games that count. Feels like forever since we’ve been able to play.”

There’s also some unknowns for Fredrikson due to the fact tonight’s game will be the season opener for Gallagher’s boys while the Raiders already have two games under their belt.

“Gallagher does a great job with the (Ships) program, he’ll have them ready,” Fredrikson said.

Gallagher will be leading a re-tooled Lincoln squad following the graduation of several key players including 1,000-point scorer Austin Mecca. He’s seen Two Rivers play this season and knows they could cause his team trouble.

“They’ve played some real tough opponents to start,” Gallagher said of the Raiders. “They’ll be a good challenge and some nice shooters along the perimeter.”

Tonight’s games will be the first for all but the Two Rivers boys, and once the players walk off the court another prep basketball season will have begun in earnest.

Oh, and the winners will have bragging rights till they meet again next season, something Deiters knows is on everyone’s mind despite her recent arrival.

“Being from De Pere, I’m not as up to date on the rivalry as most people,” Deiters added. “I do know though that it’s important for us to come out and get that win.”

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