The Boys Ball Out


photo by mary estelle bubon

The SHS student section storms the court to celebrate the regional win with the basketball team as Fernholz (11) holds the regional plaque.

The Stoughton boys basketball team huddles and celebrates around each other on Saturday, March 4. of this year. Co-captain and junior Ty Fernholz holds the regional plaque above his head as the students of Stoughton High School storm the court and crowd around the team. A season filled with tough games, countless challenges, and hard work from all its players paid off when the team defeated Mt. Horeb (71-69), capturing the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Division 2 regional title.
This plaque was not easily earned, but as the team came together and bonded throughout the season, they were able to achieve this accomplishment.
“We started [the season] off immature. We really didn’t know how to close or finish the game, and throughout the season, our players got more experienced and helped us bring out closer games. We were able to control hard games and [manage] what was going on,” Fernholz says.
Nolan Weber, the head coach of the team, has been a part of Stoughton basketball since 2010 and has led his teams to multiple championships. He often takes a different coaching approach every year to fit with the players on the team.
“How I approach a team that is struggling really depends on the team I have. No two groups of players are alike. Some teams need to be motivated by being pushed in the right direction, and some groups need a calming guide to be reminded of what they need to do better,” Weber says through an email. “This year, we had a lot of young players, so they needed a mix of both. They needed to be guided but also held accountable. In the end, you need to show your players how much you care before they will truly care.”
The 2022-23 boys basketball season brought many unexpected obstacles, including rescheduled games, injuries, and sickness.
“[One obstacle was] the second game of the season [against] Oregon. The whole team was sick, and we only had like eight players. [Another challenge was] the games where things got moved around because of snow days. Those games we necessarily didn’t win, but to stay in the game and stay focused was impressive,” Fernholz says.
The team worked hard this season, and when playoffs rolled around, the team put in extra effort and stayed motivated for the three seniors on the team: Michael Turner, Mason Marggi, and Braylon Kane.
The team stayed motivated by not wanting to lose.
“Especially now,” Fernholz says. “If you lose, you’re done, and those seniors really put a lot of time and effort into the game. I think everyone [on the team] understands that, and they don’t want to lost either, especially for those seniors.”
Marggi watched Stoughton basketball as a child, hoping to compete in a conference championship one day. This season he had the ability to fulfill this goal in a game against Waunakee. Although the Vikings did not win the game, Marggi will not forget his experiences these past years with Stoughton basketball and will miss the sport.
“I will miss the team. We had a couple [young players] this year, and I think people were worried that it would take a while for us to fit in with each other, but that wasn’t the case. The coaches are another thing that I will miss. The coaching staff I had during Stoughton basketball was terrific; they always knew how to help,” Marggi says through an email.
The regional game against Mt. Horeb was stressful for the team and the supporters. Still, the team was able to motivate each other to ultimately earn the title.
“[During the regional game], we were up [by] a lot but lost the lead. That was hard. During that, we tried to stay positive and go back to the fundamentals of getting good shots and getting good looks, and we did that. I think we broke […] a 19 to two run, and then we were able to control the game after that,” Fernholz says.
The experience was like no other for Fernholz.
“That was a great moment. I’ve never […] been in a home regional final game or home playoff game at all. It was really fun to win that game in front of a big crowd,” Fernholz says.
After the regional tournament, the team moved on to the sectional semifinals. Although the team was unable to win against McFarland in the game, players of the team were awarded for their talent. Fernholz was named Badger East Conference player of the year. Junior and Co-captain Sawyer Schipper and Fernholz earned first-team all-conference, and Marggi was named honorable mention All Badger East Conference.
Not only did Fernholz receive two awards, but he also scored his 1000th point this season in a game against Monona Grove.
“It [was] very rewarding. It’s a goal I had ever since I’ve been in high school […], and accomplishing that was kind of surreal at the moment. I really don’t have many words for it because it was a dream come true,” Fernholz says.
The team’s players and coaches are happy with their season and hope to move farther in the tournament next year.
“We had a good season,” Fernholz says. “We had the opportunity to win many games, and it was fun that the team was so successful.”