Halfway home: Handing out midseason basketball awards
It seems like whatever the sport and whatever level you’re talking about, everybody likes to hand out midseason awards.
They do it at the professional level, the collegiate level and in some cases, the high school level.
With that in mind, I’ve decided to get in the mix and hand out my midseason awards for high school basketball in southcentral Wisconsin.
Best chance of playing at state (boys)
The prospects are slim locally because of strong sectionals in every division and a lack of a dominant team, but the Crimson Tide of Edgerton are the best bet.
Coach Jason Knott’s Tiders have started a school-best 14-0 and are as balanced offensively as any team I’ve seen play. Edgerton is currently ranked fourth in Division 3 but will play in a sectional that features top-ranked Lodi and seventh-ranked Marshall. The Crimson Tide would likely play Marshall and University of Vermont recruit Cam Ward in a sectional semifinal game and, if they survive that, Lodi in the sectional title game. Edgerton will play the rest of the season without starter Lucas Gregory, the team’s top defender and vocal leader, who is out with a torn tendon in his foot.
Madison Memorial, the king of the Big Eight Conference the last 10 years, will be favored to come out of a Division 1 sectional that also includes Janesville Craig, Beloit Memorial, Sun Prairie and Mukwonago. The Spartans have played at state nine of the last 10 years and have more talent once again this season than any other team in the sectional.
Best chance at playing at state (girls)
Brodhead. Hands down. The Cardinals are 13-0 and ranked No. 2 in the state in Division 3. Led by one of the state’s top seniors in Carly Mohns, the Cardinals will play in a sectional that includes fourth-ranked Marshall and ninth-ranked Clinton, along plus a formidable Whitewater team. Brodhead hosts Whitewater on Thursday night in what could be the Cardinals’ toughest test this season.
Seventh-ranked Verona and eighth-ranked Middleton will be the favorites in the Division 1 sectional that also includes Janesville Craig, Janesville Parker and Lake Geneva Badger. The Cougars could be a dark-horse candidate for a state berth if they can rebound and find points in the paint when the outside shooting is off.
Best player (boys)
With half a season left, this was the toughest choice of all the awards. Craig’s Jerry Ngobi, Beloit Turner’s Alec Fruin and Orfordville Parkview’s Garrett Reinhardt have all had their moments, but if the game’s on the line, I want the ball in Ngobi’s hands.
Best player (girls)
Mohns is not only best player in the area but one of the best in the state. The University of Iowa recruit is averaging close to 20 points per game despite being double- and triple-teamed at times.
Whitewater’s Brooke Trewyn is the all-time school scoring leader and another one of the state’s top seniors, while Clinton’s Mallory Niemann just passed the 1,000-point scoring mark for her career.
Craig’s Al Hughes has been solid at point guard and was WisSports.net’s Player of the Week earlier this month.
Parker’s Paige Smith is third in the Big Eight in scoring and strong around the basket.
Maria Mieres-Ray is averaging 16.5 points per game for a Badger team that is 11-3.
Mohns gets the nod, but the talent pool is strong in this area.
Biggest surprise team (boys)
Orfordville Parkview. The Vikings are only 5-9 but the record is deceiving. Parkview is a Division 4 school playing in a Division 3 conference. Coach Boyce Hodge has Parkview tied for first in the Rock Valley South and the Vikings are the only South team to win a league crossover game.
Biggest surprise team (girls)
Janesville Craig or Lake Geneva Badger?
The Cougars are 10-4 overall, with three losses on the road in games that came down to the last possession. Coach Kerry Storbakken’s team was 10-0 at home before falling to seventh-ranked Verona on Friday night.
Badger is 11-3 overall and 5-1 in the Southern Lakes, one-half game behind frontrunning Wilmot.
Craig appeared to be the pick in this category before a stunning second half left them with a 46-27 home loss to Verona on Friday night.
Keep an eye on both the Badgers and Cougars as potential sleepers down the stretch.