Boys’ Basketball Takes On the Bradley Center


The Redwings on defense. This pictures their zone defense which they ran in the second half.

Zachary Kaffine, Editor

The Redwings on defense. This pictures their zone defense which they ran in the second half.
The Redwings on defense. This pictures their zone defense which they ran in the second half.

Playing in a 19,000 seat arena is a rare occurrence, but the South High Varsity Boys Basketball Team was able to do just that last Saturday, December 3. The team received this opportunity through the Bucks Prep Series, in which high school teams are given the court for a full-fledged game. The team faced off against West Bend East in the last game before conference play. The game was met with a certain hype from fans as well as players. Junior Trevor Ladwig explained that while on the bus,

“I felt excitement. There were lots of thoughts flowing through my head.” The team was playing the same game, but the venue had changed. The professional stage is something that not everyone is ready for. Coach Michael Rank elaborated at practice the following Monday,

“Some people weren’t ready for that environment, but when it comes time to play in that same environment in the playoffs, we’ll be ready.”

The team took to the court around 10:30 and was met by an array of fans and parents that took up a small part of the arena. The warm-up routine had a bounce and joy to it. The players were dunking and shooting NBA three-pointers, enjoying the physical properties of the court. After the exhilaration of warm-ups, it was time to play the game. South got off to quite a lulled start. They were turning the ball over frequently, and had a lot of trouble getting to the lane and scoring. The defense was also perturbed, allowing the ball to be passed and scored frequently. Assistant Coach Jeff Ristow commented on the defense the following practice,

“Our biggest problem was jumping toward to the ball. There was multiple times the ball got to here [the lane] when it should have been here [outside the lane].” South was down 28-21 at half, and the team came out blazing in the second half, led by Seniors Dylan Martens and Logan Hamilton. However, West Bend East stayed with South toward the end of the half, and ended up winning on a buzzer beater layup by East’s Logan Cunningham. It was a nail-biting loss, but there were various positives that came from the experience.

As mentioned earlier by Coach Rank, the team now has experience with a larger venue, but they also can say that the played in the Bradley Center, something reserved for professionals and collegiate athletes. Talking about the experience, Sophomore Jarrett Henderson revealed,

“It was amazing. It’s something you don’t get to do every day.” This feeling was reciprocated in the crowd, in which Junior Mitchell Gilipsky stated,

“It was cool to go [to the Bradley Center] and be so close to the court.” The crowd was made up of parents and some avid students that made the trip, and they helped fill the massive silence of the Bradley Center. The team also bonded over this experience, as Senior Jared Splittgerber explained,

“I would easily do this again. Hanging out at the Bradley Center with the team was a positive experience.” The team got to hang out and bond the entire day. The locker rooms, the loss, the lunch afterwards, the Bucks game, the ride home–everything attributed to the cohesion of the team. The team hopes to bring this chemistry to their next game today against Bayport at Bayport High School, where they will continue their season after falling 2-2.