BLOOMER, Wis. (WEAU) -- The Bloomer Blackhawks boys basketball team has been playing well all season, but they haven’t gotten much statewide recognition. They’re unbeaten, but they’re ranked 10th in D-3 behind six teams with at least one loss. The Blackhawks early success is why they’re our Osseo Automotive Athletes of the Week. SportScene 13’s Neil Hebert has the story.
“If you’re open, shoot the ball,” Bloomer head coach, Greg Van Grunsven, explained Bloomer’s high-flying style.
“Everyone’s got the green light for us,” senior Payton Dachel and his teammates love the low tempo, but aggressive style of play. And it’s working; the Blackhawks are 9-0 and 1st in the Heart O’North standings at 6-0 after their win Tuesday night over Barron, and they don’t look to be coming down from their perch anytime soon.
“The conference has a couple teams that can sneak up on you,” Dachel said. “We need to come into every game, play our best, and can’t let anybody get under us.”
A big reason for their success is Dachel’s presence; he’s averaging 18.0 points per game and has 1,000+ points in his celebrated career. At 6’3”, he's dominating in the paint better than most post players that height.
“If you throw it into him, he’s going to seek a lot of attention, so we get a lot of open threes and that’s really nice for us guards,” Masen Miller, a senior guard, said.
“He’s almost unstoppable down there,” Aaron Price, also a senior guard, said. “He draws so much attention: (he) opens up the whole floor, so it gives everyone opportunities.”
“Just the confidence we have in each other goes a long ways,” Dachel said. “We know, me kicking out to one of our shooters – just so much confidence kicking it in – everybody on the court can score for us. That’s always nice.”
Dachel creates often offensively, and he does it in a number of ways.
“He’s a very difficult matchup,” Van Grunsven said. “He’s just as comfortable making a spectacular pass and stepping out and shooting a three pointer as he is with his back to the basket.”
It hasn’t all been a bed of roses for this team; the players didn’t know who their coach would be until the middle of September. The transition to Van Grunsven? Seamless.
“Coach Van Grunsven came in, got communicating with us; (he’s) doing a great job so far,” Dachel said. “He’s got a bond with us. He’s just knows how we are. It’s just been good for us so far.”
They’re first goal is to win conference. After that?
“I guess you can just keep an eye on us and we’re going to play our game,” Dachel said with a smile. “It’s going to be fun.”
The Blackhawks have a few tough non-conference matchups remaining on their schedule: La Crosse Logan, Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau, and McDonell Central to name a few. The outcomes of those games should gauge where this team is come the WIAA playoffs.