/ Articles / Three Tigers set to represent Mercer at All-Star Game

Three Tigers set to represent Mercer at All-Star Game

April 17, 2020 by Brett LaBore

All-Star games bring a talent of collection together to showcase the best of the best. Three Tigers will represent the Mercer community this June.

Mercer boys’ basketball coach Adam Miller, Mercer girls’ basketball coach Vic Saeger and student-athlete Kobe Hiller will participate in the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-Star Game on Saturday, June 20.

Miller will be the head coach of the Division 5 red team. They will take on the Division 5 white team at 9 a.m. 

“This is a big opportunity,” he said. “Very humbled, very excited to be selected to coach the All-Star team.”

As head coach, Miller chose Butternut’s Adam LaRose and Mercer’s Saeger to be his assistant coaches. 

This isn’t Miller’s first time coaching a game like this. In 2017, he coached the Border Bash All-Star game between Northern Wisconsin and Northern Michigan. Former Tiger Tarrin St. Germaine played in that game.

When it came to selecting players, there were about 35 senior boys players who were nominated to be selected. Each team selected 11 players with a couple of alternates. When it came to selecting Hiller, Miller knew he had to add him to the roster.

“When we pick the guys we looked at All-State teams … a lot of stuff on YouTube to watch and find video on these guys as best I possibly can,” he said. “Having (Kobe) four years, it’s awesome to coach him one more time. I was very humbled to be selected — no way I’m leaving Kobe Hiller off the team.”

Last season, Hiller averaged 17.7 points per game, three rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.7 steals per game. He scored his 1000th career against White Lake in a 63-46 home victory on Feb. 17. He was also third team all-Indianhead for his efforts this past season. 

“I’m honored. It’s awesome,” Hiller said. “I didn’t think I could be in that big of an All-Star Game to be honest with you.”

Now that he has made the All-Star team, the fun season continues for Hiller. 

“It’s definitely a dream season,” he said. “Like our coach said, I’ve played with some greats. I never thought I could get 1000 points. That was my goal since I was a little kid.” 

Hiller has continued to stay active and is preparing for the game. He’s also excited to be working with the two Mercer coaches he knows well. 

“I’ve been shooting hoops every single day since this happened,” he said. “It’s going to be awesome — I have a relationship with both of those guys.”

Joining Hiller on the Division 5 red roster are Kickapoo’s Colten Sevede, Thorp’s Ethan Reis and Isaac Soumis, Luck’s Gage Johansen, Sheboygan Area Lutheran’s Jacob Ognacevic, Butternut’s Joshua Koch, Turtle Lake High School’s Lucas Torgerson, Mellen’s Luke Zakovec, Birchwood’s Matthew Marcinske and Pittsville High School’s Matthew Kissner.

Miller will be coaching some familiar players from the Indianhead conference with Koch and Zakovec. After scheming against those players, Miller now gets to coach them and have them a part of the rotation.

The practices are limited. There are just two-three practices prior to the game to decide an offense, inbounds plays and rotations. That is the challenge Miller will face in the days leading up to the game.

“After we watch them — probably the first practice — coach Saeger and LaRose will get together and throw a simple offense and simple out-of-bounds plays,” he said. “(It’s) pretty tough to get ready that quick.”

Assistant coaches LaRose and Saeger will help Miller in those duties. In fact, Saeger has had some coaching experience with Miller, a friend of his, since Miller arrived to Mercer.

“The whole eight years we have been consulting and helping each other out,” Saeger said. “It’ll be fun. Adam and I are good friends, Adam LaRose, too. The three of us (will have a) good time.”

Saeger led a great revival for the Mercer girls’ basketball team. After winning just three games in the 2018-19 season, the Tigers came back to win 12 games total, including eight in conference.

“Pretty exciting, big honor to be chosen, excited to coach a team with that many high-caliber basketball players,” Saeger said.

Some of the things Saeger and LaRose will do is work on the team in practice, look at potential rotations and other key aspects of the game to assist Miller.

“Helping out in practice … get ready for the game and help Adam (Miller) keep track of who’s in the game and who hasn’t,” Saeger said. “The hardest part is trying to find playing time for all the All-Star caliber players.”

Another part of the equation is raising money for the game. All the proceeds go to the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer (MACC) fund.

“Right now the main thing is we are fundraising for the MACC fund,” Miller said. “If people want to donate money to Mr. Saeger, Kobe or myself, please go to this website www.wisbca.org.”

From there you can click on Events from the top menu, then All-Star Game, continue to find the coaches’ pages by following the roster links and click on the “Donate/Create My Ad button” to complete your donation online.

As of now, the Division 5 basketball game is set for Saturday, June 20 at JustAGame Fieldhouse in Wisconsin Dells. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 a.m.

Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]

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