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Basketball a way of life for Pepplers

Kamy Peppler recently started her sophomore season with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her sister, Kallie, a senior at Hortonville High School, will join her next season as an incoming freshman. Greg Seubert Photo

Hortonville sisters excel on the court

By Greg Seubert

A serious knee injury forced Kallie Peppler to miss the second half of her junior season with Hortonville High School’s girls’ basketball team.

The injury happened 10 months ago during the first half of a Fox Valley Association game at Kimberly High School. The Polar Bears defeated Kimberly 73-60 and went on to place second in the Fox Valley Association standings before ending their season with a loss to eventual Division 1 state champion Kettle Moraine in the semifinal round of the WIAA state tournament.

Peppler is back for her senior season with the Polar Bears and her sister, Kardyn, is a freshman on the team.

If the name Peppler sounds familiar, Kallie and Kardyn’s older sister, Kamy, recently began her second season of college basketball at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, one of Wisconsin’s four Division 1 women’s basketball programs, along with Marquette, UW-Madison and UW-Green Bay.

She headed to Milwaukee after being named the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association’s Miss Basketball, the award given to the state’s top player, in 2022.

Kamy made an impact for the Panthers as a freshman last season and was named to the Horizon League All-Freshman Team. She also scored a career-high 25 points earlier this month in a 73-70 loss to the University of Illinois Chicago.

Pepplers at UW-Milwaukee

Kallie will join her sister next season at UW-Milwaukee.

“We are thrilled to sign Kallie to our 2024 class,” UW-Milwaukee women’s basketball coach Kyle Rechlicz said. “Her length and athleticism fit our offensive and defensive system. One of her best attributes is that she is a fierce competitor that knows how to win. We expect her to step on campus and play early in her career.”

Kallie and Kardyn spend much of their spare time working on their skills at Grit365, a basketball training facility in Appleton.

“I’ve come here for three or four years now,” Kallie said. “I come multiple times a week and everything about it has been so good. Everything (Grit365 founder Jordan Johnson) does is to make us better. A few girls from our team come here, too, and a lot of what he teaches is about the IQ of the game. We bring that back to Hortonville.”

All three Peppler sisters got their start in Hortonville’s youth basketball program.

“It definitely starts with the youth,” Kallie said. “All the coaches from each grade work together so we’re all learning the same things. It makes us prepared for high school.”

Kallie and Kardyn practiced with Hortonville’s varsity team after school on Nov. 15, but made the 20-mile drive from their Hortonville home to work out together.

“We’re getting better each time we come here,” Kallie said. “It’s fun to come here and work out. At practice, you’re working with the team. Here, you get individual work.”

Siblings work out

Kallie often works out with her sisters at Grit365.

“You can do just about anything,” she said. “You can get a big group in here to work out. He does skills with a big group and it’s always super-competitive. He does a lot of game-like situations. He teaches a lot about the mind side of the game and that’s very helpful. You have to be smart.”

“I can tell I’ve improved so much from when I first came here, like where to go when you pass it, where to cut,” Kardyn said. “We haven’t been here as much since practice started at school, but in the summer, it’s almost daily. Kamy comes a lot, too, when she’s home.”

Besides playing for Hortonville, Kallie and Kardyn also suit up from March to August for Wisconsin Flight Elite’s Appleton-based AAU teams.

Although Kamy and Kallie have nearly 200 high school games for the Polar Bears under their belts, Kardyn didn’t play her first high school until Hortonville faced Pewaukee Nov. 24 at the Kettle Moraine Thanksgiving Classic, a 28-team invitational at Kettle Moraine High School.

She’s already received scholarship offers from several Division 1 programs, including UW-Milwaukee, UW-Green Bay, Marquette and Eastern Illinois.

“I’ve been on the phone with a couple people who are just looking,” she said. “It’s crazy, honestly, but it’s a great opportunity.”

Kardyn grew up watching her older sisters play high school basketball.

“I especially like playing one-on-one against them,” she said. They teach me so much and push me.”

Kardyn isn’t the only Peppler sister that Hortonville basketball fans can watch down the road, as Kalisa is an eighth-grader playing middle school basketball this season and will join Kardyn next year after Kallie graduates and joins Kamy at UW-Milwaukee.

“I just love the game,” Kardyn said. “I grew up in a house where everyone’s playing basketball.”

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