Being the Number One ranked basketball team in Wisconsin puts a BIG target on your back, but former UWGB teammates Kati Coleman and Celeste Ratka are familiar with the pressure that comes with being that top team.
Head Coaches Coleman and Ratka are currently ranked Number One in Division 1 (Bay Port High School) and Number One in Division 2 (Hortonville High). Both teams have a legitimate chance of making it to the 2020 Wisconsin Girls State Basketball at the Resch Center in Green Bay for March Madness.
Back in the Day, Kati Coleman was the Bay Conference Player of the Year for Ashwaubenon High School and led them to a Division 1 State Tournament appearance in 2004.
She had a triple-double in a loss to Janesville Parker where she set the state record for steals and assists at the time. She went on to play for UWGB from 2005-2009 and ranks in the Top 20 in field goals made. After four consecutive Horizon League first place finish seasons at UWGB, she went on to play in Europe.
Coach Borseth A Big Influence
Coleman relished being a student athlete at UWGB. “I loved my time in Green Bay and even though it’s not a school many would think as a basketball powerhouse, it is and continues to be.” Coleman is in her sixth year as the Bay Port High School Head Coach, and will enter the high school playoffs with a regular season record of 20-2. Her success is a result of the valuable experience and coaching she received from UWGB Phoenix Head Coach, Kevin Borseth. “Coach Borseth was a big influence, as he implemented the mentality of winning regardless of the opponent.”
Celeste Ratka earned All-State honors in Wisconsin, and was Valley 8 Conference Player of the Year at Hortonville High School in 2006.
“When ‘GB offered early in my senior year it was really a dream come true,” Ratka explained, “It was close to home and I was walking into one of the most successful programs in all of the nation. Looking back on it, it was challenging at times, but it was honestly everything you want in a school and in a basketball program. It was life changing.”
Back Home in Hortonville
Celeste went on to have great success at ‘GB as a three-year starter and a First-Team All-Conference player. In 2011, she was named the Horizon League Co-Player of the Year. She ranks in the Top 20 in history in 3-pointers made, fifth in steals and ninth in assists. Before she returned to be coach at her old hometown, Ratka played a season of professional basketball in Europe before serving as video coordinator for the University of Illinois Women’s Basketball program for three years.
Since returning to Hortonville in 2016, Ratka brought the Polar Bears to three consecutive state tournament appearances. She credits a lot of her success to things she learned while playing for UWGB.
“The program was about more than basketball which is why I think so many of us go into coaching. At UWGB, you really learn the game of basketball for what it is,” she said. “Our team motto is play hard, play smart, and play together, and that came directly from playing at ‘GB.”
There are currently 18 Wisconsin High School coaches who used to play at UWGB and Coleman and Ratka are two of the finest. The two former teammates don’t talk as much as they’d like to, but are proud of each other for their success. They hope to see each other at the WIAA Girls Basketball State Tournament March 13 at the Resch Center in Green Bay when Divisions 1 and 2 begin their quest for the Gold Ball. It all begins tonight!
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