LENA — For the past two years, when the high school basketball season ends and most gym lights are shut off, there’s a group of area athletes still scorching the nets.

One Mission, an AAU basketball program that was started by former Lena high school basketball standout Connor Heise, is in its second season and is helping develop athletes from all over the area hone their skills.

Heise, who played at Viterbo University last season, came up with the idea of starting this AAU program while during his freshman year and got the ball rolling once the state tournaments ended last year.

“I felt I could have an impact on many kids in the area to help take their dreams to the next level,” Heise said. “I had role models that helped guide me through my goals and I wanted to just give back.”

Last year, several area athletes such as Payton Nelson from Coleman, Cade Tackmeier from Peshtigo, Chandler Kaldenberg from Crivitz and Hayden Renikow from Wausaukee played and helped develop skills that led them to be leaders for their successful basketball teams this past season.

Focusing more on the younger classes this year, there are four teams Heise is running, two of which are girls and two are boys.

The boys’ teams that are playing this year are freshman and seventh grade and the girls consist of freshman and eighth grade teams.

Some local athletes, such as Max Beyer from Lena along with Macy Franti of Gillett and Ryann Wagner of Suring played on their respective varsity teams this year.

From the time the state tournament ends until this coming weekend, the teams practice twice per week and play in various tournaments throughout the state.

“Our main focus is skill development. It’s kind of a skills academy every practice,”Heise said. “We play in several tournaments and put the focus on improving each player. Every school runs a different system, so we focus less on that and more on improvement in all areas for each athlete.”

Last weekend, the freshman boys won the championship in their division at Wisconsin Dells. This coming weekend, both the boys’ and girls’ teams will be competing in the final tournament of the season in Appleton.

The majority of the players come from the following area schools: Crivitz, Oconto, Gillett, Suring and Oconto Falls.

Heise is assisted by T.J. Carmody, who he has described as being crucial throughout the development of this program.

For more information or to sign up for next year, contact Heise at 920-680-9800 or go to facebook.com/onemissionaau.