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From the gridiron to the hardwood: Kimberly basketball players make quick switch after state title

From the gridiron to the hardwood: Kimberly basketball players make quick switch after state title
Posted at 8:29 PM, Nov 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-23 21:29:14-05

KIMBERLY — Just days ago, the Kimberly football team won the Division 1 state title and over 20 players who play varsity and JV on the Papermakers basketball team also play football. 

“There’s so much value in those young men experiencing that run to a state championship,” said Kimberly head basketball coach Jon Murphy. “That’s an amazing accomplishment.”

Last Friday, senior quarterback Seth Miron was throwing a touchdown pass over Mukwonago and on Sunday he had to turn the page to basketball season.

“Kind of hit me, never going to put a Kimberly football helmet on again,” he said. “Kind of hurt a little bit, but I’m ready to go with basketball.”

Despite the quick turnaround and the missing out on practice last week, the camaraderie is already built given their time together on the gridiron. The Papermakers finished second in the FVA conference last year and ended the season on a buzzer beater loss to rival Neenah in the third round of the Division 1 playoffs.

“Everybody knows everybody so that camaraderie is already there and everybody likes each other, so you don’t really have to create any new bonds coming into basketball,” Miron said. “Everybody’s already played with each other.”

With a brand new starting five, head coach Jon Murphy is hoping Miron can bring his quarterback leadership to the hardwood. The senior forward was third on the team in points per game last season.

“I think what he has been through in football, being the quarterback, being the leader of that group and winning a state title – that’s going to pay dividends for us,” Murphy said. “I think it’s going to help him confidence wise as he steps into a new role this year. Now, it’s kind of his team and he’s ready for that moment.”

And Miron is ready to rise to the occasion. 

“Leading a football team is one challenge and leading a bunch of new guys on the basketball team is going to be another challenge and I’m always open for a challenge,” Miron said.

The Papermakers saw their top two scorers from last season graduate and there’s huge shoes to fill with the loss of Jackson Pavaletzke who averaged 30 points per game.

“Huge shoes to fill, but it’s going to be a team effort,” said senior guard Jack Statz. “We got a lot of different guys to fill up those scoring gaps. I think we’re going to see a lot more distributed scoring this year than last year.”

And if this team can gel over the course of the season, they believe the can fight to be near the top of the FVA conference.

“I think if we work as a team and we don’t have individuals – I think we’re going to be good,” Miron said.

Kimberly opens up their season next Thursday against Hortonville.