Posted On: 10/19/18 3:14 PM
Looking ahead to the 2018-19 season, Prep Hoops Wisconsin breaks down the race in the Fox Valley Association…
PROJECTED 2018-19 STANDINGS
3. Oshkosh West
5. Appleton West
6. Oshkosh North
7. Appleton East
8. Fond Du Lac
10. Appleton North
It’s probably a coin flip right now between Kaukauna and Kimberly. We went with the Papermakers, who don’t have as much to replace and their core is pretty cemented in their roles from last season. Meanwhile the Ghosts, who have equal, if not more talent, could be a work in progress without Dylan Kurey, Eric Carl, and Jordan McCabe.
Jake Buchanan is going to have a breakout year for Kimberly and push for Player of the Year honors. He’s got solid running mates in Levi Borchert and Marshfield transfer Reed Miller, who’s going to make a substantial difference. The Papermakers can surround this trio with shooters as well that will make them very difficult to defend.
Many think Kaukauna will fall off. Donovan Ivory and Keaton Ferris will likely ensure that the Ghosts are still a player in the Fox Valley Association and Division 2.
Oshkosh West was under .500 in Fox Valley Association play last season, but with Karter Thomas and Luke Haasl taking the reigns, the Wildcats can be a top contender. Two players that have made huge strides in their games over the last 12 month, Haasl and Thomas might be the best 1-2 punch in the conference.
Neenah went 8-10 in conference play last season, but ended the year with some promise. The Rockets beat Appleton West and hung with Kimberly twice. Leading scorer Max Klesmit (14.1 ppg) is back and elevated his game to whole new level over the spring/summer. Sophomore forward Grant Flory could also make a big jump after averaging 11 points per game as a freshman.
PROJECTED FIRST-TEAM ALL CONFERENCE SELECTION
G Jake Buchanan – Kimberly
G Karter Thomas – Oshkosh West
G Will Mahoney – Appleton West
G Keaton Ferris – Kaukauna
F Donovan Ivory – Kaukauna
G Max Klesmit – Neenah
G Kaden Clark – Appleton East
G Bubba Thompson – Appleton West
F Grant Flory – Neenah
F Reed Miller – Kimberly
F Levi Brochert – Kimberly
F Luke Haasl – Oshkosh West
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
An underclassmen has won this award two of the last three seasons. The coaches have also selected a player from the conference champion the last three seasons as well.
There’s a lot of contenders this season, but in terms of who’s most valuable on a potential Fox Valley Champion — Jake Buchanan seems to fit that mold best. After averaging around nine points per game as a sophomore, Buchanan has taken the reigns of the Papermakers. A skilled, electric guard with a deadly shooting stroke and ability to get others involved, Buchanan is primed for a huge year.
Mahoney, Ivory, Ferris, Klesmit, and Thomas are all serious contenders as well and will make this race very interesting.
Now that Tyrese Haliburton and Quincy Anderson have graduated, Oshkosh North needs others to step up in a big way. They’ll likely turn to Matt Hickey, who was an unsung hero of last season’s state championship squad. A wide body who’s under sized at the forward position, Hickey averaged 8.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per game as a junior. Also a standout football player, Hickey uses his size well under the rim and plays with excellent touch.
Because of who was ahead of him, Donovan Ivory had to carve out a role on Kaukauna without being a feature player. A junkyard dog who cleaned up the glass, protected the rim, and made hustle plays, Ivory’s talents went widely unnoticed until this summer. Working his way into a Division 2 scholarship from Minnesota-Duluth, Ivory is an intriguing combo forward with a budding offensive skill set. On paper, Kaukauna should take a big step back after winning the D2 title last year. Ivory is a big reason why they won’t.