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Top sports stories 2009, No. 6: Pepin enters into co-op

Pepin-Alma senior guard Danny Weghorn (62) looks to make a block for junior quarterback Danny Kujak at Plum City on Sept. 18. Plum City won 14-8. - Republican Eagle file photo

When the Pepin girls basketball team played Alma on Feb. 3, the Lakers finished the game with no available subs. Tasha Heit suffered a season-ending knee injury midway through the third quarter and two of her teammates fouled out, leaving Pepin with five healthy players.

The minuscule roster had become the norm -- the school had not fielded a junior varsity girls basketball team since 2005-06 -- and was a contributing factor in Pepin's decision to co-op with Alma in both boys and girls basketball for the 2009-10 academic year. The schools also fielded a co-op football team, the Eagles, for the first time in 2009.

"This whole process is about providing students with the appropriate opportunity," Pepin Supt. Bruce Quinton said.

The schools are 18 miles apart and already shared four staff members.

The co-op teams split home games between the two schools. The football team, coached by Mike Olson of Pepin, continued the Lakers' affiliation with the South Lakeland Conference.

The Eagles earned a No. 3 seed in the Division 7 playoffs and finished the year 6-4 overall. They were 5-2 in conference.

In basketball, the Eagles are a member of Alma's conference, the Small Dairyland.