Maymon hopes to put Madison Memorial back on top
Jeronne Maymon will be moving on to bigger things soon enough.
But before he starts thinking about playing at the next level, he wants to help Madison Memorial High School’s top-ranked boys basketball team get back to the top.
Maymon, who was named The Associated Press’ state Player of the Year as a junior last season, signed a letter of intent with Marquette in November. He could end up playing a key role there right away, as the Golden Eagles will lose their three senior stars to graduation.
But first, Maymon wants to help the Spartans (23-1) forget about last year’s 58-56 overtime loss to Wauwatosa East in the WIAA Division 1 state championship game.
“Jeronne’s our leader,” Memorial coach Steve Collins said of his six-time Big Eight Conference champions. “We go as Jeronne goes, and everything starts with him. You can see the last week of practice—he just brought us to a different level.”
Maymon, a 6-foot-7 forward who averages 17.8 points a game, will lead the Spartans into Thursday’s 6:35 p.m. quarterfinal game against sixth-ranked Germantown (21-2) as the state tournament tips off at the Kohl Center in Madison.
It’s the sixth consecutive state tournament for Memorial, including a championship in 2005.
And after the tough loss in last year’s title game, Maymon promised it won’t happen again.
“I’m not losing,’’ he said. “My senior year, I’m getting a state title.’’
Germantown hopes to have something to say about that. The Warhawks will be making their second straight state tournament appearance, and they also feature one of the state’s top players in 6-8 senior center Ben Averkamp, a Loyola of Chicago recruit, who averages 18.9 points a game.
Bay Port (23-0) is the only undefeated team in Division 1 and is returning to the tournament after losing to Brookfield Central in the quarterfinals last year. The third-ranked Pirates, champions of the Fox River Valley Classic Conference, like to play an up-tempo game and press on defense.
“We don’t need a shot clock. That’s for sure,” coach Nate Rykal said.
They’ll play in the 8:15 p.m. quarterfinal game against Beloit Memorial, which is returning to the state tournament for the 26th time and is seeking what would be a record eighth title. The Purple Knights (18-5) needed two overtimes to get past Elkhorn, 66-62, in the Janesville Craig Sectional final.
Second-ranked Milwaukee Washington (22-1) features a pair of consistent scoring threats—senior guard Antone Byrd (20.2 ppg) and sophomore forward Quevyn Winters (18.1). The Purgolders have won four state titles, most recently in 1993. They took out last year’s champion, Wauwatosa East, 60-57 in overtime, to reach this state tournament.
Now they’ll take on Oshkosh North (20-3) and senior forward Tank Johnson, who averages 18.9 points and 10 rebounds a game, in the 1:35 p.m. Division 1 opener. The Spartans, coached by veteran Frank Schade, who played for Wausau in the 1967 state title game and coached Plymouth to the 1981 semifinals, are making their fourth overall state tournament appearance.
It’s the first appearance for Oshkosh North since losing to Janesville Craig in the 1997 quarterfinals.
University of Oregon recruit Jamil Wilson averages 21.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game for Racine Horlick (22-1), which in making its first trip to state since 1989. The Rebels, who shared the No. 3 rating with Bay Port, have lost only to Brooks College Prep Academy of Chicago, 55-52.
They’re coached by Jason Treutelaar, who coached Marshall to the Division 3 championship in 2002.
Horlick faces towering Eau Claire North (17-7), which has survived an injury-riddled season to make a second straight state appearance. The Huskies feature 6-7 senior Tyler Brown and 6-11 junior Evan Anderson, a University of Wisconsin recruit.
Top-ranked Northwestern (25-0) is the only other undefeated team in the state tournament.
Junior guard Steve Tecker averages 21.1 points per game for the Tigers, but much of their strength comes from a huge front line of 6-8 junior Donnie Hissa (11.9 ppg, 10 rpg) and 6-7 senior Aaron Corry (12.5 ppg).
Northwestern won the Heart O’North Conference and bowled over everybody, with sectional wins of 53-45 over Rice Lake and 46-38 over Onalaska their two closest games this season.
But now, in making their school’s second state tournament appearance, the Tigers face a formidable challenge in Friday’s 1:35 p.m. state semifinal game against sixth-ranked Wisconsin Lutheran (22-2), a first-time qualifier.
The Vikings are the champions of the Wisconsin Little Ten Conference and beat a tough Pewaukee team, 72-64 in overtime, to reach the state tournament.
Monroe (18-7) is making its third straight trip to state and fourth in the last five years. The Cheesemakers won the 2007 title and survived an up-and-down season this year to reach the Kohl Center with a 44-42 sectional final win over Madison Edgewood, which shared the Badger South championship with Monroe.
Similar to their 2007 team, the Cheesemakers again feature strong three-point shooting, led by 6-foot senior guard Mitch Tordoff, who scored 81 points in a three-game tournament stretch before being held to three in the sectional final.
Monroe draws 10th-ranked Appleton Xavier (22-3), another first-time state qualifier, in Friday’s 3:15 p.m. semifinal game. The Hawks advanced by knocking off perennial power Seymour, 47-32, in the sectional finals.
Defending champion La Crosse Aquinas (21-3) returns to a Division 3 field that is dominated by private schools.
In fact, the division has been won by a private school the last five years, including twice by 2009 qualifier Racine St. Catherine’s. Aquinas also won Division 2 in 2002, as did St. Catherine’s in 2005.
Aquinas won the Division 1-dominated Mississippi Valley Conference this season and advanced to state with a 62-60 win over Marshall.
The sixth-ranked Blugolds take on Manitowoc Roncalli (21-4) in Thursday’s 10:30 a.m. semifinal game. Roncalli lost in the semifinals in each of its first three experiences at the state tournament from 2005-07, but the Jets are back for another shot after a 54-43 win over Marathon.
Top-ranked St. Catherine’s (23-2) returns to the state tournament for the fourth time, and the first time since the last of its three straight titles in 2007. The Angels are champions of the Midwest Classic Conference and hammered Cedar Grove-Belgium, 58-35, in the sectional finals.
They’ll open the state tournament at 9:05 a.m. Thursday against Fall Creek (21-4), which is appearing in its first state tournament since 1985, when the Crickets won a second straight Class C championship. Fall Creek won the Cloverbelt Conference and beat Eau Claire Regis, 56-47, in the sectional finals to keep Division 3 state field from being all private schools.
Blair-Taylor returns to the state tournament for the fifth time, and the first time since back-to-back appearances in 2004 and 2005.
The fifth-ranked Wildcats (23-2) have lost in the semifinals in each of their four previous appearances.
Blair-Taylor won the Dairyland Conference and beat Prentice, 34-33, to earn a trip to this state tournament.
This time, the Wildcats take on second-ranked Benton (23-2) at 9:05 a.m. Friday. The Zephrys, who lost to perennial champion Randolph in the sectional finals the last two years, come in as Six Rivers West champions and sectional final winners over Sheboygan County Christian, the school that eliminated top-rated Randolph in the sectional semifinals.
Wisconsin Rapids Assumption (23-2) is making its third state tournament appearance after making back-to-back trips in 2001 and 2002, when it was the runner-up. The sixth-ranked Royals beat Hillsboro to advance this year as Marawood Conference champions.
St. Mary Central (14-11), Assumption’s opponent in Friday’s 10:45 p.m. semifinal game, finished sixth in the Olympian Conference. The Zephrys then made a run through the Appleton North Sectional, with a 50-52 victory over Rosholt in the title game.