High school boys
n Janesville Craig vs. Lake Geneva Badger
Time: 7 p.m. Friday (WCLO radio, 1230 AM).
Site: FORT ATKINSON HIGH SCHOOL (This is a change in game site from Elkhorn to accommodate a large crowd. It also is a change in game time.).
Craig record: 17-5, 12-4 in Big Eight (coming off 53-47 regional final win over Westosha Central).
Badger record: 16-5, 11-1 in Lakeshore (coming off 57-54 regional final win over Stoughton).
Tournament status: This is a WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal game. The winner plays Verona (17-4) or Elkhorn (18-4) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Elkhorn for the sectional title and a berth in next week’s state tournament.
Last meeting: This is the first meeting between Craig and Badger, but Craig handed Badger coach Forrest Larson one of his team’s two losses when he led Ladysmith to the 2003 Division 3 state title.
Players to watch: Badger—Braden Tice, 5-10, jr.; Jimmy Merritt, 5-9, sr.; Kevin Wieters, 6-2, sr. Merritt and Tice lead the Badgers with a deceivingly low 13 and 12.2 scoring averages. Both have had huge games for an exceptionally strong three-point-shooting team.
Craig—Lucas Burns, 6-6, sr.; JoJo Pregont, 6-6, jr.; Cooper Cullen, 6-6, sr.; Charlie Roherty, 6-foot senior. Burns, who averaged 16.6 in the Big Eight, comes off 28-point performance against Westosha.
Free throws: Craig advanced to the sectional by outlasting a Westosha team that handed Badger its only Lakeshore loss, 49-47, in the last week of the regular season. The Cougars’ hopes of sweeping the Lakeshore probably depend upon their ability to cope with a Badger team that offers a stronger perimeter game.
Prediction Machine: Craig 56, Badger 50.
n Verona at Elkhorn
Time: 7 p.m. Friday (change in game time).
Site Elkhorn High School.
Verona record: 17-4, 10-2 in Badger South (coming off 72-52 regional final win over Milton).
Elkhorn record: 18-4, 9-3 in Southern Lakes (coming off 51-31 regional final win over Kenosha Tremper).
Tournament status: This is a WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal game. The winner plays Janesville Craig (17-5) or Lake Geneva Badger (16-5) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Elkhorn for the sectional title and a berth in next week’s state tournament.
Verona has advanced to the state tournament through this sectional the last two years. The Wildcats defeated Craig, 67-38, in last year’s sectional title game.
Players to watch: Verona—Jason Ziemer, 6-4, jr.; Connor Valentyn, 6-2, sr.; Justin Scanlin, 6-1, sr. Ziemer has scored at least 21 points, with a high of 30, in each of the last eight games and averaged 24.9 during that stretch.
Elkhorn—Eric Bryson, 6-2, jr.; Max Findreng, 6-1, jr.; Skyler O’Laughlin, 6-9, soph. Bryson had a 16-point average in the Southern Lakes and scored 23 points in the regional finals. One of O’Laughlin’s big games was an eight-point fourth quarter when the Elks stunned East Troy, the top-ranked Division 2 team, 42-41.
Free throws: This is battle of runner-up teams from the Badger South and Southern Lakes. Verona has lost twice to champion Monroe and to defending Division 4 state champion Randolph, 79-76. Elkkhorn split with East Troy, the Elks’’ No. 1 competitor.
Prediction Machine says: Verona 55, Elkhorn 47.
n Weekend wrap…
East Troy (20-2) vs. Madison Edgewood (12-10), at Janesville Parker, 7 p.m. Friday.
Southern Lakes champion East Troy, No. 1 in the final Associated Press state ratings, brings its sharp-shooting show to Parker for a WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinal game. The winner plays third-ranked defending state champion Monroe (21-2) or Wisconsin Dells (18-4) at 5 p.m. Saturday at Sun Prairie for the sectional title.
East Troy is one of the state’s best three-point-shooting teams, featuring Kyle Jones, Allan Loth, Tom Manschot and Jory Tess. The Trojans also have a solid inside presence with 6-8 veteran Alex Bondar, who led the balanced attack with a 13.3 scoring average in the Southern Lakes.
Edgewood has rebounded from a midseason slump to win eight of its last nine games, led by Derek Braucht, who scored in double figures in all of those games.
Prediction Machine says: East Troy 61, Edgewood 53.
High school girls
n Oregon at Janesville Parker
Time: 1 p.m. Saturday (WCLO radio).
Oregon record: 11-10, 7-5 in Badger South (coming off 60-37 regional semifinal win over Wilmot).
Parker record: 18-2, 15-1 in Big Eight (coming off 46-35 conference win over Madison East).
Tournament status: This is a WIAA Division 1 regional final. The winner plays Janesville Craig (14-7) or Westosha Central (16-5) in the semifinals of the Wilmot Sectional.
Last meeting: Parker defeated Oregon, 69-44, in 2001 sectional semifinals.
Players to watch: Oregon—Kayla Crowley, 5-6, jr.; Bryn Anderson, 5-11, sr.; Erika Gundlach, 5-8, jr. All three scored in double figures in the regional semifinals. Crowley leads the Panthers with a 9.5 average.
Parker—Catie O’Leary, 5-10, jr.; Alex Klawitter, 5-8, sr.; Danielle Flood, 5-5, fr. Klawitter scored a conference season-high 22 points in the regular-season finale. O’Leary had 13 and won the Big Eight scoring title with a 19.2 average.
Free throws: Parker’s top-seeded Big Eight co-champions finished third in the AP state ratings, but will have been idle more than a week after drawing a regional semifinal bye. Coach Tom Klawtter obviously is hoping to rekindle the fire against an Oregon team that has won six straight and seven of its last eight.
Prediction Machine says: Parker 55, Oregon 43.
n Westosha Central at Janesville Craig
Time: 4 p.m. Saturday (WCLO radio).
Central record: 16-5, 11-1 in Lakeshore (coming off 54-53 regional semifinal win over Lake Geneva Badger).
Craig record: 14-7, 10-6 in Big Eight (coming off 74-44 regional semifinal win over Kenosha Bradford).
Tournament status: This is a WIAA Division 1 regional final. The winner plays Janesville Parker (18-2) or Oregon (11-10) in the semifinals of the Wilmot Sectional.
Players to watch: Central—Christina Brinkman, 5-9, jr.; Kristen Olsen, 5-8, sr.; Bobbi Stroening, 5-4, sr.; Kelly Szwedo, 5-7, sr. Brinkman scored on the rebound of her missed free throw with 17.4 seconds left to give the Falcons a regional semifinal win over Badger. She leads Central with a 14.8 scoring average. Stroening and Szwedo each had three three-point goals against Badger.
Craig—Kristy Benson, 5-7, sr.; Danielle Straw, 5-11, sr.; Whitney Storbakken, 5-7, jr. Benson and Straw come off 20- and 17-point games.
Free throws: This is a matchup of teams with momentum. Craig, which finished third in the Big Eight, has won 11 of its last 14 games. Central, the Lakeshore champion, has won 12 straight and 13 of its last 14.
Prediction Machine says: Craig 56, Central 53.
n Weekend wrap…
Milton (14-6) at Kenosha Tremper (18-2), 7 p.m. Saturday.
This WIAA Division 1 regional final battle to reach the Wilmot Sectional matches teams with injury issues. Milton, winner of eight straight, was without Liz Eide in Tuesday’s 59-57 overtime victory over Beloit, and coach Scott Randall says the 6-2 freshman center’s status with a knee injury is day-to-day. Second-seeded Tremper has lost star guard Lindsey Sebetic for the season with a knee injury.
Prediction Machine says: Milton 57, Tremper 52.
Orfordville Parkview (17-4) at Mineral Point (18-2), 7 tonight.
Parkview’s Rock Valley co-champions are a step away from possibly facing Cuba City’s three-time defending WIAA Division 3 state champions (21-0) in a regional final at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Monroe. To reach that level, the Vikings must beat a Mineral Point team that has lost only to Cuba City.
Prediction Machine says: Mineral Point 52, Parkiview 46.
Whitnall (16-5) at Whitewater (16-4), 7 tonight.
Many eyes may be on a possible rematch between Delavan-Darien (19-1) and Whitewater in a WIAA Division 2 regional final at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Lake Geneva, but coach Judy Harms knows her Whippets can’t be looking past this semifinal test. Whitnall comes off a championship season in the Woodland’s South Division.
Prediction Machine says: Whitewater 52, Whitnall 50.
Union Grove (16-5) at Delavan-Darien (19-1), 7 tonight.
Fifth-ranked Delavan-Darien gets its first tournament test in a WIAA Division 2 regional semifinal game against a Union Grove team that led the Lakeshore until the final weeks. The Comets are 3-0 against the Lakeshore this season, including an early-season 50-26 victory over eventual champion Westosha Central.
Prediction Machine says: Delavan-Darien 61, Union Grove 49.
Brodhead (15-5) at Dodgeville (14-7), 7 tonight
If they can trip the Dodgers in this WIAA Division 2 regional semifinal game, the Rock Valley co-champions may be looking at a rematch with Monroe (16-5) in Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. final at Verona. The Cheesmakers tripped the Brodhead, 51-37, in a January nonconference game, and the Cardinals have won eight of nine since then.
Prediction Machine says: Brodhead 50, Dodgeville 46.