Big Week for East vs. West Basketball

“Keep It Riehl Night” gives spectators a chance to win airfare tickets

By Auburn Larson, Current Staff

The traditional rivalry between West Bend East and West High Schools has just become more intense.

Games between East and West, which share a campus, have always meant athletes compete against their biggest rivals: Their classmates and friends. For the current basketball season, scheduling changes mean that these big games are going to happen on back-to-back nights with an exciting varsity doubleheader on Friday.

The East and West varsity girls will tip off 6 p.m. Friday in the Fieldhouse and the varsity boys will follow at 7:15 p.m. The JV girls and boys will compete Thursday beginning at 5:45 p.m. The night will also be the third annual “Keep It Riehl Night.”

“The hope is not only to raise more funds for the scholarship, but also bring in more community and spectators,” East Athletic Director Denny Ziegler said about scheduling the games so close together.

In order to raise money for the Rick Riehl Scholarship, there will be many basket raffles and 50/50 raffle tickets. There is one prize in particular that Ziegler is very excited about.

“The ultimate prize available is two free round trip airfare tickets to anywhere in the US that Southwest Airlines flies,” Ziegler said. “I was very fortunate to secure that as a donation from Shooting Stars Travel.”

All of the money collected from these fundraisers will go to the Rick Riehl Scholarship, which is given to a girl from East or West who has played basketball for all four years. Riehl, a retired English teacher who died in 2015, was beloved by many people in West Bend and this scholarship is just one way that his legacy is being remembered.

“The hope is not only to raise more funds for the scholarship, but also bring in more community and spectators.”
– Dennis Ziegler, East Athletic Director

“Mr. Riehl lived across the street from me and whenever I was in the driveway shooting he’d come over and work with me,” said Megan Lemke, a junior on the East basketball team. “His dedication to the game of basketball showed me how far persistence and drive can get you. He did so much for the game of basketball and I hope that his memory is never forgotten because of the great impact he had on so many people.”

By having “Keep It Riehl Night” the same evening as the doubleheader, the teams expect an increase in fans. Players are excited about the potential of more spectators and a larger student section than usual.

“Sometimes our games don’t attract a lot of people, so I hope that the doubleheader will get more people to come,” West junior Nolan Buechel said. “It’s a lot more fun to play in a packed gym.”

The scheduling change has not just excited the players, but also the fans.

“I think that by having the games on the same night the atmosphere will be a lot more intense than it usually is,” West senior Nathan Block said. “The cross-hall rivalry just makes everything more exciting because everybody knows everybody, unlike other conference games. It’s going to be a fun night.”

Ziegler added that he hopes to have more doubleheaders next season to allow both teams to support each other. He says it would also give parents who have multiple children playing the opportunity to see both games.

(Top image: The East girls varsity basketball team stands for the anthem Nov. 21 before squaring off against West. Photo courtesy of Maggie Mollwitz.)

“Keep It Riehl Night” honors retired West Bend teacher and coach Rick Riehl. Photo courtesy of Denny Ziegler.

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