EagleHerald/Matt Lehmann
Crivitz’s Chloe Gruszynski makes a move around a Bonduel defender and drives toward the basketball during the WIAA Division 4 regional finals Feb.29 in Bonduel. Gruszynski was named the Marinette and Oconto Conference’s Player of the Year, the fourth consecutive year she’s received the honor.
EagleHerald/Matt Lehmann

Crivitz’s Chloe Gruszynski makes a move around a Bonduel defender and drives toward the basketball during the WIAA Division 4 regional finals Feb.29 in Bonduel. Gruszynski was named the Marinette and Oconto Conference’s Player of the Year, the fourth consecutive year she’s received the honor.

CRIVITZ — Another season, another Player-of-the-Year honor for Crivitz senior Chloe Gruszynski.

Already a three-time M&O Player of the Year, Gruszynski completed the sweep by earning her fourth consecutive top-player honors after another impressive season. She led the Wolverines to a 19-5 record, including a 13-3 conference mark, which tied Crivitz with Gillett for second place behind the one-loss Oneida Nation Thunderhawks.

“Chloe had a phenomenal year,” Crivitz head coach Brett Meyers said. “She grew a lot as player over the summer and she got better and better every game. She has a great family that fed her passion and provided her opportunities, but she worked very hard at every step and she earned every accolade that she has.”

Gruszynski finished as the M&O’s second-leading scorer after averaging 20.5 points per game. Her biggest game came on Feb. 14 against Saint Thomas Aquinas Academy, where she scored a season-high 37 points. Gruszynski’s 22 points were instrumental in helping Crivitz overcome Shiocton in their WIAA regional match up.

There were several other big games throughout the year, including a 36-point outburst against Coleman, but none was bigger than the 13 points she dropped against Bonduel on Feb. 8 to pass Buck Gehm as the Wolverines all-time leading scorer before going on to finish her career with 1,734 points.

Gruszynski is committed to play for Saint Norbert College next season and Meyers believes that she is well-suited to help her new team on the court straight out of the gate.

“She can contribute right away. Her coach is very excited to have her and I hope that she enjoys her collegiate career just as much as she has her high school one,” he said.

Gruszynski wasn’t the only Wolverine to be honored by the coaches in the M&O, as seniors Emalee Johnsen and Sianna Guns each received honorable mention.

Johnsen, who was also honorable as a junior, was the Wolverines’ second-leading scorer with 9.8 points per game while also dishing out three assists per game and contributing on the defensive end with 6.8 rebounds. Guns led Crivitz in rebounding with a 8.5 per game average and was a steady presence on the offensive side, scoring 8.6 points per game.

“Both of them are great players that any coach would be lucky to have on their team,” Meyers said. “Emalee got better every year that I coached her and was a player that we needed on the court at all times. Sianna did a lot of great things for us as well. She had almost as many rebounds as points and she played a lot of minutes for us. We wouldn’t have had the season we did without them on the court as much as they were.”

While Crivitz is bidding farewell to a productive senior class, STAA received a glimpse of its future, as sophomore Lianna Baxter had a huge debut season in the M&O and earned Second Team All-Conference honors for her efforts.

Despite missing the first five games of the season with a broken left hand, Baxter stilled managed to lead the conference in scoring with 21.9 points per game, which also made her the second-leading scorer in division five. Her biggest game came in a comeback victory of Coleman where she recorded a triple-double with 35 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks. Baxter also averaged 11 rebounds and 2.5 assists while helping lead the young Cavalettes to their best record in nine years.

“With her broken hand, she started a little slow and it was a tough year, but she battled through it to have a pretty good season,” STAA head coach Pat Baxter said. “The M&O was a much stronger conference than I thought it would be this year, so for her to help us win the most games we have since 2011-2012 is a great accomplishment. If she gets stronger and improves as an outside shooter, I think she can help us win a lot more games next season.”

While offense often generates the headlines, its defense that wins games. Something that Wausaukee senior Madelyn Schlies knows plenty about.

Schlies was named Second Team All-M&O to go along with being being recognized as the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year for the third time. Whenever a key stop or a timely turnover was needed, Madelyn was the one whom Wausaukee turned to.

“She’s relentless,” Lady Rangers’ head coach Dave Messar said. “I equate her to a hornet in the car with the windows up, always just buzzing around your head. She’s a student of the game and enjoys playing defense. There where times where I’d tell her to step it up and five seconds later, she’d come up with a steal. She studies her opponents, really breaks down their tendencies, and then goes out there and shuts them down. It’s genuinely just fun to watch her play defense.”

Madelyn’s sister and fellow senior Kaelyn was also named Second Team All-M&O after leading the conference in rebounding with a total of 276. Kaeyln finished her career with Wausaukee-record 960 boards despite giving up a height disadvantage to several players throughout her career.

“For someone who’s only 5 foot six, she made it her goal that she wanted to outrebound everyone,” Messar said. “She’s so quick on defense and she worked so hard at hedging screens that it was almost impossible for the other team to throw the ball over her head and into the post. She also became my leader this season, which was surprising because she’s not the most vocal person, but she wanted to win and she pushed her teammates hard with her words and her play on the court. As a coach, I’m sad to be losing both of them.”

The Schlies sisters also became the sixth and seventh players in Lady Rangers history to hit the 1,000th point plateau, with Madelyn reaching the mark against Elcho while Kaelyn broke the barrier during Wausaukee’s final game of the season against Oneida Nation.

Two Coleman players also earned postseason recognition, with Cameron Compe and Hailey Ziemer earning honorable mention. Compe, who was also honorable mention as a freshman, led the Cougars with 10.8 points per game while Ziemer, herself an honorable mention last season, was close behind with 9.3 points per game.

M&O All-Conference

Player of the Year — Chloe Gruszynski, Crivitz, Sr.

Defensive Player of the Year — Madelyn Schlies, Wausaukee, Sr.

First Team

M’Kenzy Ackley, Oneida Nation, Jr.

Lianna Baxter, Saint Thomas Aquinas Academy, Soph.

Aubrey DeBauch, Gillett, Jr.

Chloe Gruszynski, Crivitz, Sr.

Karissa Schaal, Gillett, Jr.

Second Team

Malia Jacobs, Oneida Nation, Sr.

Jessica Oratch, Niagara, Sr.

Kaelyn Schlies, Wausaukee, Sr.

Madelyn Schlies, Wausaukee, Sr.

Sadie Schuman, Oneida Nation, Sr.

Honorable Mention

Alyssa Cretton, Niagara, Jr.

Cameron Compe, Coleman, Jr.

Sianna Guns, Crivitz, Sr.

Emalee Johnsen, Crivitz, Sr.

Kylee Stelzer, Suring, Jr.

Hailey Ziemer, Coleman, Jr.