There is no consensus at the top of the Western Cloverbelt when it comes to boys basketball this winter. That should make for a lively race in what has become one of the most competitive conferences in the Chippewa Valley.

Among the contenders are McDonell, Fall Creek, Regis and Stanley-Boyd. Oh, and don’t count out newcomer Bloomer either.

Fall Creek won the league last year but has serious talent to replace. All three of the team’s first and second team all-conference selections last season — Jayden Fitch, Luke Olson and Teigen Ploeckelman — have graduated. The trio was a big reason the Crickets went 11-1 to top the standings by two games.

Talent remains, however. Bo Vollrath was impressive as a freshman last winter, averaging 11.5 points and 6.6 rebounds to secure All-Western Cloverbelt honorable mention honors. Soren Johnson (7.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and Cameron Martzke (4.3 ppg, 1.1 rpg) have Fall Creek still thinking about a repeat.

“We hope to play a factor in the top spot for the conference championship again this season,” coach Rick Storlie said. “Yet, (we are a) young team and have to improve in many areas quickly.”

Regis went on a tear the second half of the season last year, winning 10 straight in a stretch that lasted from early January to mid-February. That helped the Ramblers shoot up the conference standings and into second place. They graduate JP Wolterstorff, who finished second in the league in scoring behind Fitch, but retain Kendon Krogman coming off a 13.2 point-per-game season. Also back are Zander Rockow and Jeffrey Ritger, who finished first and second on the team in rebounds per game with 7.6 and 5.0, respectively. Ritger also scored 9.1 points per game.

“We hope to be competitive in our conference,” coach Bryant Brenner said. “To do that we will have to play great defense. We have a very enjoyable group of guys and we are thankful for the opportunity to play.”

McDonell finished fourth in the Western Cloverbelt before going on a postseason run all the way to the Division 5 state championship. The campaign ended with a silver ball after going up against a highly athletic Hustisford squad. The Macks lost their top two scorers from that group, Logan Hughes and Jake Siegenthaler, moving Eddie Mittermeyer up the pecking order. He averaged 9.6 points per game and 2.4 assists last season. Joe Janus is the second-leading scorer back, having averaged 4.4 points as a junior.

“We will be young and lacking a lot of experience coming back,” Macks coach Adam Schilling said. “We are hoping we continue to improve as the year goes on and are playing well at playoff time.”

Stanley-Boyd features the only first team all-conference selection back in the league, Carsen Hause. The 6-foot-1 guard/forward averaged 12.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists and a steal per game last season. Also back for the Orioles is Brady Potaczek, an all-conference honorable mention last year. The two made up quite the combination on the football field this fall, with Hause playing quarterback and Potaczek wide receiver, and they’ll look to keep that chemistry going into the winter.

Bloomer takes the place of departed Altoona, moving into the Western Cloverbelt from the Heart O’ North. The Blackhawks went 6-7 in their final year in the HON but return leading scorer Connor Crane. An All-Heart O’ North honorable mention as a junior, he last averaged 11.3 points per game. He’ll be flanked by Domanyck Schwarzenberger, Marcus Harelstad and Cael Iverson as Bloomer looks to make a good first impression.

“We look forward to a competitive season in a new conference,” Blackhawks coach Greg Van Grunsven said.

Cadott got good production out of Tegan Ritter in his sophomore season, including an 8.2 points-per-game average. He and Ryan Sonnentag, who averaged six points as a junior, look to help the Hornets built off a 3-10 Western Cloverbelt showing.

Osseo-Fairchild graduated its top two scorers from a team that went 3-11 in league play last year. The top returners are Ethan Wathke, who averaged 6.4 points per game last winter, and Kaden Hasz, who averaged six.

Thorp rolled out a young team featuring just one senior in coach Scott Horn’s first year at the helm. That led to some serious growing pains in a season that saw the Cardinals go 0-10 in conference play and 0-13 overall. The group is a year older now, with the likes for Zachary Tieman, Aiden Rosemeyer and Ryan Raether looking to get the program back to its winning ways.


Western Cloverbelt

Team;Conference;Overall

Fall Creek;11-1;19-6

Regis;9-3;12-8

McDonell;8-4;17-5

Stanley-Boyd;7-6;8-13

Cadott;3-10;4-13

Osseo-Fairchild;3-11;5-13

Thorp;0-10;0-13

Bloomer;N/A;7-8

All games 7:30 p.m. unless noted:

Tuesday, Nov. 23: Osseo-Fairchild at Cochrane-Fountain City, 7:15 p.m.; Colby at Thorp.

Monday, Nov. 29: Fall Creek at Eleva-Strum, 7:15 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 30: Osseo-Fairchild at Augusta, 7:15 p.m.; Cadott at Cornell, 7:15 p.m.; Regis at Elk Mound, 7:15 p.m.; Clear Lake at McDonell.

Thursday, Dec. 2: Thorp at Bloomer, 7:30 p.m.; Stanley-Boyd at McDonell, 7:30 p.m.; Fall Creek at Osseo-Fairchild; Cadott at Regis.

Friday, Dec. 3: Colfax at Thorp.

Saturday, Dec. 4: Fall Creek at Augusta, 1:30 p.m.; Stanley-Boyd at Somerset, 2:30 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 6: Flambeau at Cadott.

Tuesday, Dec. 7: Thorp at Cornell, 7:15 p.m.; Ladysmith at McDonell.

Thursday, Dec. 9: Stanley-Boyd at Cadott; Bloomer at Fall Creek; Osseo-Fairchild at Regis; McDonell at Thorp.

Saturday, Dec. 11: Cadott vs. Bloomer at UW-Stout, 8:45 a.m.; Thorp vs. Glenwood City at UW-Stout, 10:15 a.m.; McDonell vs. Colfax at UW-Stout, 11:45 a.m.; Regis vs. Prescott at UW-Stout, 1:15 p.m.; Osseo-Fairchild vs. Mondovi at UW-Stout, 5:45 p.m.; Stanley-Boyd vs. Spring Valley at UW-Stout, 7:15 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 14: Elk Mound at Bloomer, 7:15 p.m.; Regis at Columbus Catholic, 7:15 p.m.; McDonell at Elmwood/Plum City, 7:15 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 17: Regis at Bloomer; Fall Creek at McDonell; Cadott at Osseo-Fairchild; Stanley-Boyd at Thorp.

Saturday, Dec. 18: Aquinas at Regis, 6:30 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 20: Whitehall at Osseo-Fairchild, 7:15 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 21: Stanley-Boyd at Bloomer; Regis at Fall Creek; McDonell at Osseo-Fairchild; Cadott at Thorp.

Thursday, Dec. 23: Altoona at Fall Creek; St. Croix Central at Stanley-Boyd.

Tuesday, Dec. 28: Stanley-Boyd at Elk Mound, 1 p.m.; Athens at Thorp, 7:15 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 30: Thorp at Alma Center Lincoln, 6 p.m.; Regis at Rice Lake, 6:30 p.m.; Elk Mound at Fall Creek.

Tuesday, Jan. 4: Cadott at Fall Creek; Bloomer at McDonell; Regis at Stanley-Boyd; Osseo-Fairchild at Thorp.

Friday, Jan. 7: Cadott at Bloomer; Thorp at Fall Creek; Stanley-Boyd at Osseo-Fairchild; McDonell at Regis.

Monday, Jan. 10: Cadott at Boyceville, 7:15 p.m.; Owen-Withee at Thorp.

Tuesday, Jan. 11: Augusta at Cadott; Whitehall at Regis.

Thursday, Jan. 13: Osseo-Fairchild at Bloomer; Cadott at McDonell; Fall Creek at Stanley-Boyd; Regis at Thorp.

Monday, Jan. 17: Loyal at Thorp.

Tuesday, Jan. 18: Regis at Cadott; Osseo-Fairchild at Fall Creek; McDonell at Stanley-Boyd; Bloomer at Thorp.

Friday, Jan. 21: Fall Creek at Bloomer; Thorp at McDonell; Regis at Osseo-Fairchild; Cadott at Stanley-Boyd.

Monday, Jan. 24: Osseo-Fairchild at Arcadia, 7:15 p.m.; Colfax at Bloomer, 7:15 p.m.; McDonell at Neillsville, 7:15 p.m.; Thorp at Whitehall, 7:15 p.m.; Glenwood City at Cadott; Durand at Fall Creek.

Thursday, Jan. 27: Osseo-Fairchild at Cadott; McDonell at Fall Creek; Bloomer at Regis; Thorp at Stanley-Boyd.

Monday, Jan. 31: Fall Creek at Mondovi, 7:15 p.m.; Spooner at Bloomer.

Tuesday, Feb. 1: Regis at Arcadia, 7:15 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 3: Osseo-Fairchild at Black River Falls, 7:15 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 4: Thorp at Cadott; Osseo-Fairchild at McDonell; Fall Creek at Regis; Bloomer at Stanley-Boyd.

Monday, Feb. 7: Cadott at Athens, 7:15 p.m.; Osseo-Fairchild at Eleva-Strum, 7:15 p.m.; Whitehall at Fall Creek.

Tuesday, Feb. 8: Bloomer at Cadott.

Thursday, Feb. 10: McDonell at Bloomer; Fall Creek at Cadott; Thorp at Osseo-Fairchild; Stanley-Boyd at Regis.

Saturday, Feb. 12: Barron at Bloomer, 2 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 15: Regis at McDonell; Osseo-Fairchild at Stanley-boyd; Fall Creek at Thorp.

Thursday, Feb. 17: Bloomer at Cumberland.

Friday, Feb. 18: McDonell at Cadott; Stanley-Boyd at Fall Creek; Bloomer at Osseo-Fairchild; Thorp at Regis.

Monday, Feb. 21: Osseo-Fairchild at Glenwood City, 7:15 p.m.; Stanley-Boyd at Marathon, 7:15 p.m.; Immanuel Lutheran at McDonell.