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Senior leadership is the key to success for Fox Valley Lutheran boys basketball

Senior leadership is the key to success for Fox Valley Lutheran boys basketball
Posted at 6:41 PM, Feb 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-16 19:42:32-05

APPLETON — It doesn’t get any better than a game that will likely decide the North Eastern conference title. Tomorrow at Little Chute, the Mustangs will try and win the conference outright over second place Fox Valley Lutheran.

But after losing to the Mustangs on January 10th, the Foxes have gone on a 10 game winning streak and find themselves with a chance to be co-conference champs.

“Isn’t that what high school sports is all about – playing meaningful games at the end of the season and for both Little Chute and for us, I hope that it’s a great game of preparation for the postseason,” said Foxes head coach Jay Wendland.

A little over one month ago, the Foxes found themselves three games back in the conference after losing to Little Chute.

“The minute Little Chute knocked us off, we didn’t step down, we fell forward and we kept on rolling from that point forward,” said senior Nick Kraftzenk.

Since then, FVL has gone undefeated and find themselves one game out of first place. After that game, they really found out who they were as a team. 

“Being able to figure out who we are as a team, it really took some time and here we are with an opportunity, a really cool opportunity on Friday to play a team that’s been in first place all year long and we’ve been looking up at them through the course of the season, so just thankful for that opportunity,” said Wendland.

Success starts at the top. Taking over the Fox Valley Lutheran program three years ago, who at the time were a struggling program, Wendleland knew leadership was key. 

“I really turn it back to a couple of years ago, we had a great group of seniors and the work ethic that they were able to instill in the younger group that was there and it was just being able to carry it all the way through and these guys have followed in those footsteps and it’s just passing it from one year to the next,” said Wendland.

They may not lead the team in the scoring but, but the Foxes are led by a few seniors, like Kraftzenk and jackson papendorf.

“They really bring the team together with their play on the court and their voices in practice, picking everybody up,” said Foxes leading scorer, junior guard Adam Loberger. “It’s just great to have them on our team.”

“Our kids will work not just with the kids that are at the high school, but all the way down to our youth program, in our camps and everything else,” the head coach said. “To be able to just pass that along year after to year, is really what really starts to put a program together.”

The Foxes have been a winning team over the last three years, with a chance to win back to back conference championships and the seniors want to ensure this program remains a successful one. 

“That would mean something that I can kind of pass down onto the next generation and I’m confident that our junior class is going to keep passing that on to the next generation after that and it’s just building that legacy here at Fox Valley Lutheran basketball, so it’s important,” said Kraftzenk.