Meet Eric Nehm! He will cover WBY Shootout for WSSP!
by Eric Nehm,posted Dec 25 2013 3:49PM
I have described myself as a basketball junkie for quite some time now. Since I can remember, I have been searching out the best basketball games in the state of Wisconsin. The WBY Shootout has made this much simpler for me by putting an insane amount of talented teams and players together each year for a couple days around Christmas, but before the WBY Shootout, I think I did a pretty good job on my own.
I have decided to relay to you some of my most favorite Wisconsin high school basketball memories. Hopefully, my list is way better than yours, but if you have a most favorite Wisconsin high school basketball memory, I would love to hear about it. You can either leave a comment at the bottom of this post or on Facebook or Twitter (@eric_nehm).
As a child, I was lucky enough to have a basketball-obsessed family. I had a father, uncle, and older brother, who were all looking to watch as much basketball as possible and didn’t mind traveling around the state to do so. We were so crazy, in fact, that when the playoff schedule for each Saturday would come out we would grab a map and attempt to find our way into as many gyms as possible. I’m talking tripleheaders and sometimes even quadrupleheaders of basketball with 30-45 minutes of driving between each game to fit into our schedule.
Here are my most favorite memories:
This is one that I don’t remember all that well because I was a bit on the young side, but I did travel up to see Travis Diener run the point for the Fond du Lac Cardinals. At the time, they still might have been called Goodrich High School, but I do remember seeing a floppy haired kid completely control the floor.
One of my most favorite teams to watch when I was younger was the Ripon Tigers led by Ryan Werch. For years, Werch was the player I aspired to be. Werch was such a great athlete and was so smooth that it always seemed like he was in control, no matter the situation. My most favorite memory was a game-winner I saw him hit in Waupun High School from the left elbow. Silky smooth.
Going to Whitefish Bay High School for game after game on Saturdays was one of my favorite things about the WIAA playoffs. The evening doubleheader there was always the best way to fit four games into a game. One of my coolest memories was having Freddie Owens and Alando Tucker sit a few feet away from me to watch Marcus Landry leading Vincent in the last game of the evening.
I remember seeing Brian Butch in high school and being disappointed. This was not because he was a bad player, but because the night I saw him was against a Fond du Lac team that did not feature a post player taller than 6’4”. Butch was bumped, elbowed, and hit while being triple teamed all night long. It was cool to say I saw him play in high school, but not particularly fun to watch.
Another University of Wisconsin big man I had the pleasure of watching play in high school was Greg Stiemsma at Randolph. Watching Stiemsma play at Watertown High School in the Division 4 playoffs was one of the more enjoyable experiences I’ve had watching high school basketball. At times, it seemed a little unfair for Stiemsma to be playing against players so much smaller, but seeing him block a floater in the middle of the lane out past half court is still one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in a high school basketball game.
As one of the final members of the Parkland Conference, I got to see some pretty special basketball within my own conference. I will always remember Joe Czechowicz bombing threes from a few feet behind the line as well as some special teams at Dominican led by J.R. Blount and Ray Nixon. Also, I remember being relatively unimpressed by Steve Novak at Brown Deer, but he’s ended up having quite the NBA career. Anyways, #ParklandConference4Life.
Those were some of my coolest memories as a spectator, but I also had some pretty cool moments on the floor.
In one of my first games as a sophomore, I scared my mother half to death. After a turnover, the Pewaukee Pirates led a 3-on-2 break in my direction and after their point guard dished off to the right side, I stepped up and took a charge on their player running down the right wing. I was rewarded with a full-speed knee right into my chest. The reason my mother was so worried was that knee belonged to future NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt. Let’s just say that wasn’t one of my smartest moments.
My team was eliminated from the playoffs in my sophomore season by future Wisconsin Badger Trevon Hughes. Hughes was just electric on the floor. I can tell you right now that I have never been so thoroughly shook out of my shoes.
As a senior, I played current Wisconsin Badger Josh Gasser and am happy to tell you, we held him under 20 points for the game…barely. Gasser wasn’t the same caliber athlete as Hughes, but he was just an incredible leader and had complete control of the entire floor all game long.
In preparing for the playoffs, I spent the night of my first round bye at Catholic Memorial watching T.J. Bray and the Crusaders take on Korie Lucious and Pius XI. It was quite the battle and came down to Lucious hitting a 25 foot buzzer beater when everyone in the gym knew the ball was going to him. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to play Lucious as eventual state champions New Berlin Eisenhower came out of that side of the bracket.
Hope you enjoyed my walk down memory lane. And maybe you’ll have a few Wisconsin high school basketball memories that you want to share as well! If you do, comment here! Or on Facebook or Twitter!
Be sure to check back here for updates from the rest of the WBY Shootout!