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The All-Time Best: Butch the best to come out of Appleton

04/28/2020, 3:00pm CDT
By Mark Miller

(Editor's Note: basketball writer Mark Miller is using the extra time available due to COVID-19 to research the high school basketball history of some of Wisconsin's larger cities. His All-Time Best series will run on during the next few months).

Today we profile some of the top high school basketball players of my hometown, Appleton. 

Growing up in the 1970s and early 1980s, I had the chance to watch some of the players profiled and they most definitely were entertaining and extremely talented.

Appleton had one high school until Fox Valley Lutheran began having varsity teams in 1955. Xavier had its first team in 1959, Appleton East opened its doors in 1967 and Appleton North opened in 1995. 

To be eligible for the All-Time teams, players must have earned first, second, third or fourth team all-state by either the Associated Press or United Press International. 

With that background, let's examine Appleton's rich history ...

All-Time Appleton Team

Brian Butch 6'11" 2003 Appleton West 1st (AP)
Kip Whitlinger 5'10" 1963 Appleton Xavier 1st (AP)
Rich Reitzner 6'0" 1971 Appleton West 1st (AP)
Pat Fitzgerald 6'1" 1968 Appleton Xavier 2nd (AP)
Jack Ulwelling 5'11" 1958 Appleton (West) 1st (AP)

Brian Butch, 6-11, 2003, Appleton West
First-Team All-State 2002 and 2003 (AP)

A two-time Player of the Year on the Associated Press all-state team, Butch scored 1,461 career points at Appleton West and led the Terrors to a runner-up finish in the WIAA State Tournament as a senior. A McDonald’s All-American, Butch averaged 24 points and 10 rebounds per game as a senior and was recruited by marquee programs from across the United State. He eventually selected the University of Wisconsin and, after a redshirt year to add weight and strength to his frame as a freshman, he completed his four-year career with the Badgers with 1,115 points. He earned first-team all-Big Ten Conference laurels as a senior and went on to play professionally overseas and in the NBA Development League.

Kip Whitlinger, 5-10, 1963, Appleton Xavier
First Team All-State 1963 (AP)

Whitlinger lived in Neenah, but attended Xavier along with talented classmate Dick Wiesner. Those two backcourt performers, along with future Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rocky Bleier, led Xavier to a 25-0 record and the Wisconsin Catholic Interscholastic Athletic Association state championship in 1963 under coach Gene (Torchy) Clark. Whitlinger scored a school-record 652 points in 1962-63 and averaged 26.1 ppg on the way to earning first-team all-state honors. He had a career-best 46 points in a win over Little Chute St. John and finished his four-year prep career with 1,656 points. He accepted a scholarship to play at Ohio State and the extremely skilled guard played on the freshman team at Ohio State in 1963-64 and averaged 18.1 ppg. Unfortunately, injuries sustained in a car accident following his freshman year at Ohio State cut short his collegiate career.

Rich Reitzner, 6-0, 1971, Appleton West
First Team All-State in 1970 (AP), Third Team All-State 1971 (UPI)

Reitzner helped the Appleton West Terrors of coach Dick Emanuel earn back-to-back appearances in the WIAA State Tournament in 1970 and 1971. The flashy guard scored a game-high 18 points to help West turn back Neenah 58-57 in the 1970 state-title game. He finished a three-year prep career with 1,273 points and earned first-team all-state honors as a junior and third-team laurels as a senior. A terrific outside shooter who could also handle the ball and pass, Reitzner followed in his high coach’s footsteps by enrolling at UW-Eau Claire after his graduation from Appleton West. He earned four letters while playing four seasons for legendary Blugolds’ coach Ken Anderson.

Pat Fitzgerald, 6-1, 1968, Appleton Xavier
Second Team All-State 1968 (AP) and (UPI)

Fitzgerald’s numbers on an outstanding Xavier squad in 1967-68 were nothing short of amazing. Playing on a team that finished 23-2 and won the WCIAA consolation championship, Fitzgerald scored 626 points in 25 games for an average of 25.0 ppg. He scored a career-high 41 points in a triumph over Milwaukee Notre Dame and had 30 or more points six times on a team that also included talented players Bob Fullarton, Mike Clark, Jeff Bartosic and Tom Thomson. A second-team all-state choice in 1968, Fitzgerald completed his three-year varsity career playing under coach Torchy Clark with 1,081 points and earned a scholarship to play at Florida State. He played well on the freshman team at Florida State, scoring 26 points in a game against Palm Beach Junior College and 25 against Valdosta College. He later transferred to UW-Oshkosh and played for the Titans before playing for a second time for Clark at Florida Tech.

Jack Ulwelling, 5-10, 1958, Appleton
First Team All-State 1957 (AP), Second Team All-State 1958 (AP)

Nearly a decade before the split of Appleton High School into East and West (that took place in 1967-68), Ulwelling was Appleton’s first 1,000-point scorer. He netted 1,051 points for the Terrors between 1955-58. Growing up in Eau Claire through his sixth-grade year, Ulwelling moved to Appleton with his family and honed his skills on the playground court at Erb Park. As a sophomore, he played a key role for a Terrors’ squad that lost to Shawano in the state-championship game. He earned first-team all-state laurels as a junior and second-team honors as a senior. Playing on scholarship at the University of Wisconsin, Ulwelling averaged 10.0 ppg as a sophomore and 7.7 ppg through the first semester of his junior season. He opted to transfer at that point to UW-Stevens Point, where he completed his collegiate career.  

All-Time Appleton Team

Hunter Plamann 6'1" 2018 Appleton Xavier 2nd (AP)
Tim Moriarty 6'4" 1971 Appleton West 1st (AP)
Jerry Jensen 6'3" 1981 Fox Valley Lutheran 1st (AP)
Mike Grabner 6'8" 1984 Appleton East 2nd (AP)
Tom Hintz 6'0" 1968 Appleton West 3rd (AP)

Hunter Plamann, 6-1, 2018, Appleton Xavier
Second Team All-State 2017 (AP), Third Team All-State 2018 (AP)

No player in city history competed in more varsity games (108) or scored more points (1,750) than Plamann, a four-year standout for coach Matt Klarner. Plamann played on three teams that advanced to the WIAA State Tournament and one that lost in the sectional finals. He played an enormous role as the top scorer and playmaker for Xavier teams that won a school-record 53 straight games from 2016 to 2018. In the Hawks' 2017 Division 3 state-title game win over Prescott, Plamann finished with 29 points, seven assists and six rebounds. He earned second-team all-state honors as a junior and third-team laurels as a senior. Plamann went on to play two seasons at NCAA Division II Minnesota-Duluth and recently announced his intentions to transfer.  

Tim Moriarty, 6-5, 1971, Appleton West
First Team All-State 1971 (AP), Third Team All-State 1970 (AP)

A versatile wing with the ability to score inside and outside, Moriarty averaged 17.1 points and 12.0 rebounds as a senior in 1970-71, helping the defending state-champion Appleton West Terrors to a return trip to the WIAA State Tournament. Although the Terrors lost to Milwaukee King in the state quarterfinals, Moriarty earned first-team all-state honors one year after receiving third-team all-state recognition. Moriarty went on to a solid career playing NCAA Division I basketball for the Rice Owls.  

Jerry Jensen, 6-3, 1981, Fox Valley Lutheran
First Team All-State 1981 (AP)

The Neenah resident is generally regarded as the best all-around player to ever come out of Fox Valley Lutheran, although 1977 graduate Tim Mattek might have been a more dynamic scorer. The school's all-time leading scorer with 1,136 points, Jensen had excellent size and skill. An exceptionally unselfish player, Jensen averaged 25.5 ppg as a senior in the Fox Valley Christian Conference and helped the Foxes to a 10-11 record under coach Steve Gauger. He earned first-team all-state honors and went on to play two seasons for former Xavier coach Torchy Clark at NCAA Division II Central Florida. Jensen then transferred to UW-Oshkosh and played two seasons for the Titans and coach Jim McGrath.

Mike Grabner, 6-8, 1984, Appleton East
Second Team All-State 1984 (AP)

Grabner was not a prolific scorer at Appleton East -- he averaged 14.1 points per game as a senior -- but he was a big-time winner for coach Ron Parker and the Patriots. A two-time first-team all-Fox Valley Association performer, Grabner also contributed 9.7 rpg and 4.0 apg in 1983-84 while leading Appleton East to the FVA title and the first state-tournament appearance in school history. During his three years of varsity competition, Grabner helped the Patriots to a 51-12 overall record. Grabner went on to a very productive four-year career at NCAA Division I Northern Illinois, averaging 11.1 ppg and 6.7 rpg as a senior in 1987-88.

Tom Hintz, 6-0, 1968, Appleton West
Third Team All-State 1968 (AP) and (UPI)

A strong, versatile and highly consistent guard/forward, Hintz could do everything from score, to setting up his teammates wiht his ball handling and passing, to haul down multiple rebounds for coach Dick Emanuel's teams at Appleton West from 1966-68. He was a junior standout on the Terrors' 1967 state-tournament team and scored 23 points in West's 62-59 win over Platteville in the third-place game played at the University of Wisconsin Field House. After that West team was split up the following season with the opening of Appleton East, Hintz set an Appleton/Appleton West school record by scoring 489 points in a single season and averaging 22.8 points per game. Hintz went on to play NCAA Division I basketball at Kent State in Ohio.

Appleton's Additional All-Staters

Jack Flynn 6'8" 2016 Appleton West 4th (AP)
Johnny Coenen 5'9" 2011 Appleton East 3rd (AP)
Scott Sowinski 6'4" 1998 Appleton Xavier 4th (AP)
Aric Vaubel 6'6" 1996 Appleton East 1st (AP)
Dan Allen 6'8" 1990 Appleton East 4th (AP)
Mickey Steger 6'2" 1990 Appleton East 3rd (AP)
Jeff Dorschner 6'11" 1980 Appleton Xavier 4th (AP)
Tim Mattek 5'11" 1977 Fox Valley Lutheran 3rd (AP)
Carl Joosten 6''6" 1973 Appleton West 4th (AP)
Joe Schneider 6'5" 1972 Appleton Xavier 2nd (AP)
Bob Fullarton 6'9" 1969 Appleton Xavier 2nd (UPI), 3rd (AP)
Tom Rankin 6'2" 1965 Appleton Xavier 2nd (AP)
Rocky Bleier 5'11" 1964 Appleton Xavier 3rd (AP)
Ron Abel 6'5" 1960 Appleton (West) 4th (UPI)

Notes: Flynn played a huge in role in helping Oshkosh win the NCAA Division III national championship in 2018-19, and he also earned first-team all-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honors as a sophomore, junior and senior ... Coenen played at La Crosse and was a key member of the Eagles' backcourt rotation for four seasons ... Sowinski played as a walkon at Green Bay for two seasons before transferring to Oshkosh and earning first-team all-WIAC laurels in 2003 ... Vaubel averaged in double-scoring figures in each of his four seasons at Oshkosh, including a career-best 14.7 ppg as a senior in 2000-01 ... Allen earned a scholarship to NCAA Division I Butler and played four seasons for the Bulldogs ... Dorschner, a former college roommate of Jensen's at Central Florida, played two years for Torchy Clark at Central Florida before transferring and playing a year and a half at Eau Claire ... Mattek, who scored 36 points in a WISAA regional-final upset victory over Green Bay Premontre in 1976 to help the Foxes qualify for their first state-tournament appearance, played for coach Rees Johnson at both Carroll College and Augsburg College ... Schneider played at UW-Green Bay during his freshman year and then transferred to St. Norbert College, where he played for three seasons and averaged 19.2 ppg during his final full season with the Green Knights ... Fullarton grew an inch or two after high school and played at Xavier University in Cincinnati. He shot 64 percent from the field as a junior and was a mainstay in the Musketeers' lineup as a junior and senior, scoring 23 points in games against both Kansas and Dayton in 1971-72. He went on to play professional in Spain ... Rankin, the younger brother of former Appleton High School standout Dick Rankin, finished his career at St. Norbert College with 1,277 points to rank among the top 10 all-time scorers at the school when he career ended in 1969 ... Bleier is the most decorated high school athlete in Appleton history as he went on to play football at Notre Dame, suffering a near career-ending injury in the Vietnam War, and then battled his way back to help the Pittsburgh Steelers to five Super Bowl titles ... Abel was a strong defender who was quick off the floor to block shots. At 6-foot-5, he dominated in the paint during his senior year at Appleton High School, averaging 17.7 ppg and scoring 40 points in the Terrors' WIAA-playoff game win over Kimberly.   

Stars Prior To All-State Teams (Pre-1957)

Jerry Hopfensperger 6'4" 1953 Appleton (West)
Gary Rosenbohm 5'11" 1952 Appleton (West)
Mory Locklin 6'2" 1948 Appleton (West)

Notes: Hopfensperger still holds the city record for most points scored in a game with 51. Butch came close to the mark when he netted 45 in the 2003 WIAA State Tournament against Milwaukee Custer, but the 6-foot-4 Hopfensperger's mark of more than 65 seasons still stands. Hopfensperger, who went on to play college basketball at Marquette, scored his 51 points in a victory over Manitowoc on February 27, 1953. He finished that season averaging 25.6 ppg within the Fox River Valley Conference. Hopfensperger went on to a long coaching and administrative career at several high schools in Wisconsin ... Rosenbohm scored what was then a school-record 27 points in a victory for Appleton High School over Fond du Lac on December 21, 1951. The two-time first-team all-Fox River Valley Conference performer played guard, forward and even some center for the Terrors at 5-foot-11 ... Locklin is the younger brother of Stu Locklin, a 1946 Appleton High School graduate who went on to play professional baseball with the Cleveland Indians. Mory Locklin helped coach Myron Seims' squads to consecutive Fox River Valley Conference titles in 1947 and 1948, earning first-team all-league laurels as a senior. His strong defense and rebounding were key ingredients to the Terrors' success.

Appleton's All-Time Top Scorers

Hunter Plamann 6'1" 2018 Appleton Xavier 1,750
Kip Whitlinger 5'10" 1963 Appleton Xavier 1,656
Brian Butch 6'11" 2003 Appleton West 1,461
Brad Sowinski 6'5" 1993 Appleton Xavier 1,388
Will Mahoney 6'2" 2019 Appleton West 1,301
Rich Reitzner 6'0" 1971 Appleton West 1,273
Tim Mattek 5'11" 1977 Fox Valley Lutheran 1,260
Jeff Dorschner 6'11" 1980 Appleton Xavier 1,257
Tim Schmidt 6'1" 2000 Fox Valley Lutheran 1,180
Jerry Jensen 6'3" 1981 Fox Valley Lutheran 1,136
Chris DeMarco 6'5" 2004 Appleton Xavier 1,086
Pat Fitzgerald 6'1" 1968 Appleton Xavier 1,081
Tim Moriarty 6'4" 1971 Appleton West 1,066
Kaden Clark 6'4" 2019 Appleton East 1,061
Jack Ulwelling 5'11" 1958 Appleton West 1,051
Sam Burkart 5'11" 2016 Appleton Xavier 1,036
Steve Boese 5'9" 1959 Fox Valley Lutheran 1,020
Joe Schneider 6'5" 1972 Appleton Xavier 1,012
Tom Jones 6'8" 1969 Appleton East 1,007
Sam Ferris 5'11" 2018 Appleton Xavier 1,002

Notes: Jones played on the varsity team as a sophomore at Appleton High School, and then was a two-year star at Appleton East after the school opened its doors in the fall of 1967. He went to play college basketball at Kent State and Green Bay ... Brad Sowinski starred at NCAA Division II Minnesota-Duluth while his younger brother, Scott, played at Green Bay and Oshkosh. Their father, Tom, was a former standout player at Wausau Newman ... Mahoney recently completed a very impressive freshman season at UW-Oshkosh and is one of the top first-year players in the WIAC ... DeMarco is currently the Director of Player Development with the Golden State Warriors. He played three seasons at Edgewood College in Madison and one year at Dominican College in California ... Clark, who currently plays at Stevens Point, and Jones are the lone players in Appleton East history to score 1,000 or more points ... Appleton North has yet to produce a 1,000-point scorer, though current sophomore is more than half-way there with two seasons left to play ... Burkart played two years as a walkon at Milwaukee and recently completed his second season in the La Crosse men's basketball program ... Schneider played one season at Green Bay and three at St. Norbert College. 

For the latest and most up to date boys' basketball news and recruiting information, follow Mark on Twitter @wisbbyearbook. Email story ideas, recruiting info, etc. to Mark by clicking here.

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