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Athlete of the Week: The Stratford Boys Basketball Team

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It seemed like this year's Stratford Tigers boys basketball team was a team of destiny.

"There was no one getting in our way," said Stratford senior Chandler Schmidt. "That was our mentality and when the playoffs hit, everyone was locked in. Everyone knew what the goal was and everyone wanted to achieve that goal."

There was no doubt that this was the year," echoed fellow senior Vaughn Breit. "That's what you heard from the whole town. 'This is your team, this is your year. We can't wait to watch you down in Madison.'"

However, before they could achieve their goal, their dream season came to a unthinkable end, as the remainder of the WIAA postseason was cancelled due to the growing concerns surrounding COVID-19.

"Once I saw (the cancellation) I was like, 'You've gotta be kidding me. This can't be real,'" said Schmidt.

"You kind of think that like, we started out the season literally didn't lose a game," said another Stratford senior, Ben Barten. "Then you won a game to find out your season is done?"

It wasn't the way the Tigers nine seniors envisioned their careers coming to a close. However, they won't let that ending define an otherwise incredible final season.

"There will be nothing that can compare to it," said Schmidt.

"It was so special. It was also so hard to stay undefeated so we're kinda flipping the switch and thinking of it that way, that we never lost this year."

"There's not a lot of positives to take out the situation," said Breit.

"But the season itself, we didn't lose a game, (we were) conference champs two years in a row and you know it was just fun playing with these guys. It was fun being a Stratford Tiger."

The nine seniors that ended their careers at Stratford with a perfect 24-0 record and back-to-back conference championships are: #1 Teddy Redman, #5 Kam Kopf, #11 Chandler Schmidt, #12 Dawson Danen, #13 Tyler Lappe, #14 Chase Fink, #22 Vaughn Breit, #24 Ben Barten and #34 Nick Fox.

Alex Stewart

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