One last ride: Kiel father and son duo cherishing storybook run that ends in Madison

One last ride: Kiel father and son duo cherishing storybook run that ends in Madison
Posted at 10:44 PM, Mar 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-12 23:44:10-04

KIEL — The Kiel Boys basketball team is having a season to remember. They’re undefeated (28-0). They won their first conference crown in 23 years and they booked their first trip to state in 14 years. For one father-son duo, this run has meant the world.

“The game truly in our house is the number one priority besides being a family, so we love every part of it,” said Kiel assistant coach Jamie Arenz.

Kiel senior Pierce Arenz has been around basketball for as long as he can remember.

“Ever since I was born I’ve been in a gym and it hasn’t changed,” he said.

“He actually set foot in a gym before he actually came into his own house when he was a baby,” said his dad, Jamie. “He’s been immersed in it his entire life. That helped grow his love for the game.”

His dad Jamie played for Kiel and was the head coach of the Raiders for nearly two decades.

“He was a ball boy and it was always special having him in the gym and he always made a connection with the players that were on those teams,” Jamie said.

During that time, Jame led the Raiders second state tournament appearance in 2010.

“(We) wearing our shirts that said my dad is the coach, my whole family was wearing them,” said Pierce. “It was a pretty special ride.”

But Jamie stepped down when Pierce reached seventh grade so that he could coach his son's class.

“I needed a break, I had a great man to come fill in for me and (now head coach Marcus Rumpff) knew I was going to be back in two years,” Jamie said. “I said I would bring a great group of kids ready to work hard and it’s been a perfect, perfect end to a really good decision.”

Once Pierce reached his freshman season, Jamie rejoined the varsity staff as an assistant. He’s watched his son become the Raiders all-time leader in points, assists and steals.

“There’s some great names that are on those boards that I was pretty lucky to pass,” Pierce said. “Just to know that work that I’ve put in this year and my entire life has gotten to where I am, it’s pretty remarkable.”

“With us it was always about playing the right way,” Jamie said. “If you noticed, he’s not flashy. We're always about the next play mentality. He’s really bought into just kind of doing it the right way and really not changing that approach not matter how big the game is or how small.”

And now all the work they’ve both put in has paid off as the Raiders are headed to their third state tournament appearance in school history after beating Freedom in the sectional final last weekend.

“Waking up Sunday morning just having a sense that you know you get to play down in Madison, it was pretty sweet,” Pierce said.

Pierce will be playing at Wisconsin Lutheran next year and neither of them want this journey to end, but what dad will miss the most isn’t the games or the practices.

“I’ll be honest, the most special times – it’s really when we drive home together. The car rides are my favorite part. When we have that final car ride, possibly tonight after practice it will kind of hit that it’s the last one. The whole journey is special, the big games are the best, but the car rides home are pretty special too.”

Kiel earned a three seed in the Division 3 state tournament and take on No. 2 Lakeside Lutheran on Thursday afternoon.