(AP) Waupun coach Dan Domask’s experience as a history teacher came in quite handy on the basketball court this season.
Each win during Waupun’s postseason run raised expectations. The first trip to the state tournament in 89 years led to the school’s first title.
Domask was named The Associated Press’ coach of the year in Wisconsin after guiding Waupun to its historic run to the Division 3 championship.
Waupun freshman Marcus Domask, who is Dan's son, also received honorable mention after averaging 16.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game.
Stevens Point senior Trev Anderson was named the player of the year. The guard helped lead the Panthers to an undefeated season and their second straight Division 1 state title.
Anderson’s team was used to playoff pressure. Waupun was ending a decades-long drought.
“Just the community around us, it was so meaningful to them,” Domask said.
The American history teacher tried to strike a balance with his players with every victory.
“I was trying to get the kids to understand what they were doing, and how meaningful it was, without putting pressure on them,” Domask said. “I don’t know if they ever fully got it until we got to the state tournament.”
Marcus scored a team-high 15 points in the 59-58 victory over Appleton Xavier in the thrilling title game.
The season opened with the coaching staff needing to figure out how to replace Domask’s older son, Mason, who graduated last season and had been the team’s leading scorer.
Marcus Domask, a freshman, helped fill the scoring void, as did Owen Theune, a sophomore transfer. A few other younger players added depth, with five seniors among the top seven in the rotation.
“This was one of those years where everything that could go right for your team kind of fell into place,” the coach said.
The celebration is far from over in Waupun.
The city council passed a resolution that had designated this past Thursday as “Waupun Warriors Boys Basketball Day.” County officials honored the team too.
The players were guests of honor at a Knights of Columbus Lenten fish fry. Next week, they’ll go to a Kiwanis Club breakfast.
“That victory pretty much took over my spring break,” Domask joked.
At Stevens Point, Anderson has moved on to baseball and four-hour practices this week, though basketball remains his top sport. He has committed to play in college at Green Bay.
The Phoenix play up-tempo under Linc Darner, who guided the school to an NCAA tournament appearance in his first year as head coach. Anderson said he plans to concentrate on getting stronger and quicker this summer.
“I’ve got to work on my lateral quickness if I want to play at the next level right away,” he said.
Stamina may not be an issue, though, for the school’s career scoring leader.
Anderson and teammate Sam Hauser, who is committed to Marquette, were the only two unanimous choices on the AP all-state team. Most teammates have been competing together since elementary school.
“All best friends on and off the court,” Anderson said. “There’s a lot of chemistry, a lot of fundamentals.”