Mike's BlogDude, whatever I want to talk about
November 21, 2012 | 06:56 AM
The saga continues in area high school basketball concerning Lake Geneva Badger and East Troy.
Junior Jacob Growel, who started at point guard for Badger since his freshman year and averaged 13.9 points per contest last season, transferred to East Troy this school year and will play for the Trojans.
The Badgers opened their season last night at home with a 68-44 loss to Sussex Hamilton. Colton Andresen and Rob Slagle paced the local boys with 11 points. Andresen is now Badger's leading returning scorer with 8.3 points per game a year ago.
Growel joins a cast of all-star characters, including senior shooting guard Nate Dodge and 6-foot-9 twin brothers Brett and Alex Prahl. Dodge is committed to Division 1 Army, and the Prahls have given verbal commitments to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
So why would a player choose to share the wealth instead of returning to a team where he was the top guy?
It could be the wins. The Trojans were ranked in the top 10 in Division 3 all season last year and only a couple wins from state.
Or the coach. Daryl Rayfield, a Lake Geneva resident who has coached current Badgers in youth basketball, is the head man at East Troy. Rayfield ran into some controversy last season with a lopsided victory over Big Foot. With starters playing in the fourth quarter despite a 50-point halftime lead, Rayfield was accused of running up the score by Big Foot AD Tim Collins. However, the man knows basketball and he is earning wins with the Trojans at an alarming rate. And who wouldn't at least consider playing with Dodge, one of the state's best, and two 6-foot-9 studs?
It will be interesting to see how much Growel's game will improve, and how this shocker will impact Badger.
When I first noticed Growel attended East Troy, I was very surprised. Going into this season, I deemed Badger a contender for the SLC title.
Badger may still be a contender. Teams without their top scorer tend to rally together and concentrate more on team, with balanced scoring.
However, when the going gets tough, someone will have to step up and take the final shot. Look for Andresen and Tony Ashley to step up and emerge as scoring stars for the Badgers.
Stay tuned to this developing story, by far the biggest in area sports this winter.
Keep in mind Rayfield replaced Darin Lottig, who left for Badger last season.
I've talked to a Badger student who said Growel has a solid relationship with Rayfield.
On the flip side, I've talked to a Badger parent who wished Growel would've stayed.
Check the Regional News in the coming weeks for a feature on Growel.
What do you think? How will this affect both teams? Is East Troy now a state favorite? Please comment with your opinion.