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Grinding the tape: Off the court effort helps Xavier boys basketball sustain success

Grinding the tape: Off the court effort helps Xavier boys basketball sustain success
Posted at 3:03 PM, Jan 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-23 16:04:44-05

APPLETON — The Xavier Hawks boys basketball team appears primed to win their fourth-straight bay conference title. They’re undefeated in conference play and 12-1 overall.

Last year, they were one win away from an appearance at the Division 3 state tournament at the Kohl center. This year, they’re hungry to see how far they can go and their success is not just because of the work they put in on the court, but the time they put in inside the film room.

“If we're able to go scout and trust that, trust what we’ve learned and watched, then we can go out there and stop other teams from doing what they want to do and that can help us win games,” said Hawks senior guard Hayden Quimby.

The Hawks not only watch film as a team, but also at home.

“We all have assignments back home to watch too, certainly clips of guys which definitely helps out,” Quimby. “We spend time like that and just extra off the court hours that help us get ready.”

It’s that extra time on top of practice, on top of school, on top of homework that makes a difference.

“We talk a lot about championship preparation – everybody wants to receive a championship, but you have to do the preparation to earn that opportunity and I think that our guys take that very seriously,” said Hawks head coach Matt Klarner. “The guys are all very studious and they all want to get better at their game. they all want to improve and i think the extra time that they put in pays off on the floor.”

It's easy for the guys to buy into Matt Klarner's program and put in the extra work. Since he’s taken over as head coach, they’ve won 9 conference titles, have four state tournament appearances and won 1 state championship in 12 seasons.

“Klarner was at our games since we were like in 7th-8th grade just watching us,” said senior guard Sam Pfefferle. “It’s been fun. (I’ve) wanting to play for the program since I was little.”

All that extra time, they hope pays off in the end, so this go around they’re not knocked out of the playoffs right before Madison..

“We knew we could have won it,” senior guard Luke Krull. “We knew we had the opportunity to win and we played a good game. We just got beat and I think it made us hungry to get back to that spot and get to the Kohl Center this year.”

As their head coach Matt Klarner says, putting in the work is no guarantee that the season will end up how they want, but it definitely helps.

“There's no promises of anything. There's no promise of a winning record or regional championship or a conference championship. you have to be willing to do all that work just to follow the process. just to have the opportunity to represent the school,” said Klarner.