Jason Parker replaces Joe Titus
By Greg Seubert
It’s been 10 years since the Weyauwega-Fremont girls’ basketball team won its last conference championship.
Whether the Warhawks finish at the top of the Central Wisconsin Conference-East standings this season remains to be seen, but if they do, it will be under first-year coach Jason Parker.
The former Weyauwega-Fremont boys’ assistant coach replaces Joe Titus, who stepped down earlier this year after six seasons.
“A lot of stuff is new, but they’re catching on pretty quick,” Parker said. “They had coach Titus here for how many years and now, it’s a new coach. Everything’s new: a different-style offense, a different-style defense.”
Although Titus has moved on, Parker’s staff includes returning assistant coaches Shawn Pantzlaff and Kristen Samz.
Bonduel won the CWC-East championship with a 13-1 record last season, followed by Wittenberg-Birnamwood (12-2), Iola-Scandinavia (10-4), Menominee Indian (7-7), Shiocton (6-8), Amherst (5-9), Manawa (3-11) and Weyauwega-Fremont (0-14).
Parker expects Bonduel to be the team to beat this season.
“Bonduel’s tough and I don’t think they lost too much from last year,” he said. “If you look at the last couple years, it’s been tight between the teams at the top, a game here or there.”
Parker will build the Warhawks around junior Olivia Witkowski, a first-team all-conference player as a sophomore and a second-teamer as a freshman.
“She’s only going to get better,” he said. “Hopefully, we can get her a little bit of help. There’s talent here. This junior class is pretty strong and there are some up-and-coming freshmen. We’ll see where they’re at. They have a lot to learn.”
Other returning players include juniors Riley Delwiche, Brooklyn Buss, Hannah Pantzlaff and Avery Samz; and sophomore McKenna Ferg.
The Warhawks will count on their underclassmen, as the roster includes only two seniors: Hailey Wohlt and Ava Loehrke.
Parker and his staff are working with a program that has only one CWC-East win in the past three seasons, including none in the last two.
“Having Olivia, it’s kind of baffling,” he said. “Everybody tells (teams) that she’s the one you have to stop, so now we need the other girls to help her out. She has to trust them, too. The biggest thing here is getting everybody to trust each other and play together. Winning will happen eventually. I’m not a miracle maker. I don’t have this one big speech to tell the girls and we win every night. There will be some ups and downs, but we’ll work through it.”
Two-a-day practices began Nov. 7 and the Warhawks will open the season Thursday, Nov. 16, with a nonconference game at Lourdes Academy in Oshkosh.
The Warhawks’ early schedule also includes nonconference games against Almond-Bancroft, Little Chute and Port Edwards, as well as a pair of games over the Thanksgiving break at the Cranberry Classic at Assumption High School in Wisconsin Rapids.
“I’m looking for them to gel, become more of a team and not watch your teammate play the game,” Parker said. “I want everybody involved. It’s time to step up, trust your abilities and get after it.
“I’m a fundamentals guy: pass, run, catch, shoot,” he added. “To me, fundamentals are huge. You can teach fundamentals and break it down. The game is simple, don’t make it hard. Communication is key. You can’t play this game without talking to each other, whether it’s setting a screen, moving or whatever.”
Twenty-eight players will suit up for a varsity, junior varsity or JV2 team.
“You have to have numbers,” said Parker, who worked with boys’ programs at New London and Hortonville before joining Weyauwega-Fremont boys’ coach Kyle Loughrin’s staff. “We’re not a Kimberly or Kaukauna, where we can pick and choose. We need every athlete in the gym and work with them. We need everybody in here regardless of talent. I don’t want to put a girl in a position to not succeed. I have to learn that, too. Where are you better for us as a team?”
His plans down the road include being involved in Weyauwega-Fremont’s youth basketball program.
“It definitely has to get better,” he said. “We have some good coaches that are stepping up and trying to get it going in the right direction. I’m definitely going to be more involved with that. I asked them to give me the benefit of the doubt here because I have to get this going.”
Parker also hopes to build on the success of Weyauwega-Fremont’s volleyball and softball programs.
“They’ve been successful for years,” he said. “I want to be right with them. When you talk Weyauwega-Fremont girls’ sports right now, it’s volleyball and softball. There’s a reason for it: they’ve been successful. We have to get it back on the map.”
Weyauwega-Fremont Girls’ Basketball 2023-24 Schedule
Thursday, Nov. 16 – at Lourdes Academy, 7 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 20 – vs. Almond-Bancroft, 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 24 – at Cranberry Classic, Wisconsin Rapids, TBA
Saturday, Nov. 25 – at Cranberry Classic, Wisconsin Rapids, TBA
Monday, Nov. 27 – at Little Chute, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 28 – vs. Port Edwards, 7 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 1 – vs. Amherst, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 7 – vs. Manawa, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 12 – vs. Shiocton, 7 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 15 – at Bonduel, 7 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 22 – at Shiocton, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 4 – vs. Iola-Scandinavia, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 9 – at Menominee Indian, 7 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 12 – vs. Wittenberg-Birnamwood, 7 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 15 – vs. Rosholt, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 18 – at Manawa, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 23 – at Amherst, 7 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 2 – at Iola-Scandinavia, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 6 – vs. Bonduel, 7 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 9 – vs. Menominee Indian, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 15 – at Wittenberg-Birnamwood, 7 p.m.