It was a season to remember for the Burlington High School boys basketball team last season.
The Demons went 19-7 and advanced to the sectional tournament behind senior guard Joey Berezowitz, the Southern Lakes Conference’s Player of the Year who became the program’s all-time leading scorer.
But Burlington coach Steve Berezowitz, Joey’s dad, will be rebuilding this season with a roster that includes six juniors and five sophomores.
Meanwhile, Union Grove could be closing the gap. Not only do the Broncos have one of the best shooters in the SLC in Tyson Skalecki, they have an experienced backcourt in Jackson Barber and Adam Ross. What’s more, the team will be drawing from a JV program that was undefeated last season.
Waterford has established returnees in Eric Kunze and Owen Martinson, but coach Nick Roeglin will be rebuilding after graduating nine seniors.
Here are previews on the three Racine County teams in the SLC:
COACH: Steve Berezowitz, 27th season.
LAST YEAR: 19-7 overall, finished second in the SLC with a 11-3 record. Lost to Franklin 61-52 in a WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal.
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ROSTER (*-returning letterwinners): Seniors — *Tanner Sylvester, 6-2 guard-forward; *Ashton Hensley, 6-2 forward; *Zayne Koehnke, 6-0 forward, *Keegan Skiles, 6-1 forward. Juniors — *JR Lukenbill, 6-4 guard; Kane Walby, 6-0 guard; Owen Munson 6-0 guard-forward; Wren Dietz, 6-0 guard; Morgan Crist, 6-0 guard; Kieren Kendall, 5-9 guard. Sophomores — *Connor Roffers, 6-3 guard; Jack Sulik, 6-4 forward; Tommy Teberg, 5-10 guard; Ryan Dummer 6-0 guard; Karsen Skiles, 6-3 guard.
OUTLOOK: The big task is replacing the graduated Joey Berezowitz, the SLC Player of the Year and Burlington’s all-time leading scorer.
JR Lukenbill, who earned second-team All-SLC honors after averaging 11.4 points per game as a sophomore, is the most experienced returning player. Burlington’s young squad features four seniors, six juniors, and five sophomores.
“The Demons will have the task of replacing a very experienced team from a year ago but they are eager for the challenge,” Steve Berezowitz said.
Union Grove Broncos
COACH: David T. Pettit, 27th season.
LAST YEAR: 7-17, tied with Waterford for fourth place in the SLC with a 5-9 record. Lost to Waterford 58-51 in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal.
ROSTER (x-returning letterwinners): Seniors — *Tyson Skalecki, 6-6 forward; *Adam Ross, 5-9 guard; *Collin Orcutt, 6-1 forward; *Alex Horstman, 5-10 forward. Juniors — *Jackson Barber, 5-7 guard; *Charlie Rampulla6-2 forward; Jack Lee, 5-5 guard; Owen Nowak, 6-0 forward; Tobin Van DeWater, 5-11 guard; Jack Beyer, 5-11 forward; Luke Kowalczyk, 6-1 center; Zachary Montgomery, 6-4 forward; Jack Waters, 6-3 center; Matthew Lee, 5-9 guard.
OUTLOOK: With six returners, two of whom were starters, Pettit is optimistic. Skalecki the Broncos’ leading scorer returns as one of the conference’s best offensive threats. He averaged 15.0 points per game and went 143 for 300 from the floor, including 50 for 128 from 3-point range. The Broncos also have two point guards returning in Barber (3.0 points, 2.6 assists) and Ross (1.2 points).
Pettit hopes the shooting of Rampulla and Orcutt will keep defenses extended. Horstman should provide plenty of defensive energy, Pettit added. Big contributions are expected from an undefeated JV1 team last season.
“What excites me about this group is the amount of energy they play with and how well they share the ball,” Pettit said. “Returning our leading scorer and two point guards should provide quality leadership for the younger kids making the transition to varsity.”
COACH: Nick Roeglin, second season.
LAST YEAR: 9-14, tied with Union Grove for fifth in the SLC with a 5-9 record. Lost to Westosha Central 58-52 in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal.
ROSTER (x-returning letterwinners): Seniors — *Eric Kunze, 6-6 forward. *Lukas Thom, 6-2 guard; Sam Gornec, 6-2 guard; Griffin Opgenorth, 6-3 guard-forward. *Liam Cockrell, 6-2 guard. Juniors — *Owen Martinson, 6-3 guard; Keegan Bosch, 5-9 guard; Jay Rice, 6-2 guard; Seth Hernandez, 6-1 guard. Sophomores — Brogan Finnegan, 6-3 guard; Teegan Spence, 6-4 forward. Freshmen — Jamison Beesley, 6-2 guard.
OUTLOOK: Eric Kunze (6.9 points, 5.0 rebounds) and Owen Martinson (5.6 points, 2.4 rebounds) are two of the most experienced players on a team that graduated nine seniors. With a lack of varsity experience, Roeglin said, players will look to establish themselves and see their roles expand.
“We are excited to watch the growth of this group,” Roeglin said. “Players spent a lot of time in the gym this off season. Our energy and competitiveness in practice so far has been evident. Without a ‘go-to guy’, we should have a balanced scoring attack with multiple guys who can score from inside and out.”