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Oconto Blue Devils boys basketball team eyes first Packerland crown in more than a decade

Oconto Blue Devils boys basketball team eyes first Packerland crown in over a decade
Posted at 7:42 PM, Dec 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-26 23:39:52-05

OCONTO — It's been quite some time since the (6-3) Oconto boys basketball team has won the Packerland conference. They won it back to back in 2009 and 2010 and since then, they have come close but haven't been able to finish at the top.

With a second-year head coach who was on that 2009 team, the Blue Devils are eager to prove they belong back at the top.

“He's a great coach on and off the court,” said junior forward Carter Koch. “He just wants the best for us and be the best person as we can (be) and be the best basketball player as we can (be).”

Blue Devils second-year coach Antowan Epps, an Oconto alum, says the program has brought him so much life through his years. He was the second-leading scorer on that 2009 team.

“It was destined for me to come back and be able to give back,” Epps said. “I said to myself in 2015 that I was going to do this, so I'm very appreciative and blessed to be in this position.”

During his playing days, his Blue Devils teams were his family. That's what he wants to instill in his program as coach.

“Some sense of culture,” he said. “A sense of family, bringing that family establishment back to where we all can trust and love each other and play for each other.”

The Blue Devils have four players (juniors Carter Koch, Cooper Campshure, and Trenton Hartman and senior Jackson Martin) who, on average, score in double-figures. They’re excited about the potential of this team this year and next

“All these guys are confident,” Epps said. “All these guys are eager to step up and take on the role of being the scorer. I think none of these guys shy away from the moment.”

Koch leads the way, averaging 24 points per game.

“He's a great kid, man” said Epps. “He works so hard in the offseason to be able to put a lot of things on his back as a junior and he accepts that role of being our leader and takes on challenges every single game to go out there and score and be dominant.”

At 4-1 in conference, just behind (4-0) Southern Door and Kewaunee, the Blue Devils want to bring back a conference title to Oconto High School.

“It's (been) a dream since I was young,” said junior guard Cooper Campshure. “It’d be really nice and exciting for our team itself, myself and the younger generations, too.”

But most of all, they want to be an inspiration for the youth coming up through their system.

“It means a lot. I want to set up the younger kids and they come in and they feel like they’re a part of a great program,” Campshure said.