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Tourney time: New-look format set to tip off

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Gazette staff
March 1, 2011

Tonight is the tipoff for the most profound change in WIAA boys basketball tournament play since World War II.


And the same changes will tip off for the girls next week.


For the first time since the WIAA established its most traditional format in 1945, there no longer will be an eight-team state tournament showcase for Division 1. The division has been split in half, allowing for five enrollment divisions overall, each with four state qualifiers.


The traditional eight-team format carried the WIAA through the rest of its years as open-class tournament. Even as the tournament broke down into two divisions in 1972, three in 1974 and the most-recent four in 1991, the eight-team state field for Division 1 remained.


But now, only schools with enrollment of 1,200 and above are in Division 1. The eight sectional champions in that division also must match up in “Super Tuesday” games—or super sectionals—to determine the four-team state field.


Qualifying in the other divisions remains unchanged. Four sectional champions in each division advance to the state tournament.


The other enrollment cutoffs: Division 2, 600-1,199; Division 3, 328-599; Division 4, 200-327; Division 5, below 200.


Another dramatic change will be the absence of Division 1 state tournament games until the Friday night semifinals. Thursday sessions will include Division 5 and 4 semifinals. Divisions 3 and 2 semifinals will precede Division 1 in a six-game Friday schedule, and all five championship games will be on the traditional Saturday, starting with Division 5 at 11:05 a.m.


Boys action begins with tonight’s regional openers in all divisions. Division 2-5 regional semifinals are Friday, followed by regional finals in all divisions on Saturday.


Sectionals in all divisions are Thursday and Saturday, March 10 and 12. Division 1 super sectionals at venues throughout the state are Tuesday, March 15, finalizing the 20-team field for the March 17-19 state tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison.


The prospects leading into the boys tournaments:


Division 1

McGUIRE SUPER SECTIONAL


Kenosha Tremper Sectional


2010 champion: Verona (def. Kenosha Bradford, 55-48, in a sectional final at Beloit Memorial).


Verona lost to eventual champion Hartland Arrowhead, 64-34, in the state quarterfinals).


2011 AP rated teams: Burlington (20-2), No. 8; Beloit Memorial (18-4), No. 10,


Top seeds: Burlington, No. 1; Beloit Memorial, No. 2; Franklin (17-5), No. 3; Kenosha Bradford (18-4), No. 4.


Agenda: This sectional champion plays the Racine Horlick champion in a super sectional at the Al McGuire Center in Milwaukee. The super sectional winner plays the UW-Whitewater champion in the state semifinals at 6:35 p.m. Friday, March 18.


Notable: Beloit is looking for its 27th trip to the state tournament, which would tie Superior Central for the most appearances. The Purple Knights have won seven state championships, placing them second behind Randolph’s eight for the most titles. However, the representative from this sectional has not won a state tournament game since 1999.


Beloit shared the Big Eight championship with Madison Memorial this season … Janesville Parker (8-14) is the No. 7 seed in this sectional and hosts No. 10 Kenosha Tremper (4-18) in tonight’s regional opener. Janesville Craig (6-16) is the No. 8 seed and hosts No. 9 Lake Geneva Badger (3-19) tonight …. Burlington, the Southern Lakes champion, is back with a veteran team after losing to Verona in last year’s sectional finals.


Racine Horlick Sectional


2010 champion: Milwaukee Hamilton (def. Racine Park, 88-66, in a sectional final at Greenfield).


Hamilton lost to Milwaukee Marquette, 48-43, in the state quarterfinals.


2011 AP rated teams: Racine Case (20-2), No. 5.


Top seeds: Racine Case, No. 1; Milwaukee Hamilton (16-6), No. 2; Milwaukee South (15-7), No. 3; Milwaukee Pulaski (14-8), No. 4


Notable: Racine Case is looking to duplicate the state title it won in 1999. After being one of the state’s premier teams with no seniors a year ago, Milwaukee Hamilton lost much of its talent via transfers to prep schools.


UW-WHITEWATER SUPER SECTIONAL


Sun Prairie Sectional


2010 champion: Madison Memorial (def.Middleton, 56-54, in a sectional final at Middleton).


Memorial defeated Neenah, 58-41, in the state quarterfinals; Appleton East, 68-48, in the semifinals; lost to Hartland Arrowhead, 72-51, in the championship game.


2011 AP Rated teams: Madison Memorial (16-6), Sun Prairie (17-5) honorable mention.


Top seeds: Madison Memorial, No. 1; Sun Prairie, No. 2; Madison East (12-10), No. 3; Oconomowoc (13-9), No. 3.


Agenda: This sectional champion plays the West Allis Central champion in a super sectional at UW-Whitewater. The super sectional winner plays the Al McGuire Center winner in the state semifinals at 6:35 p.m. Friday, March 18.


Notable: Madison Memorial has just shared its eighth straight Big Eight Conference championship. The Spartans have been in the last seven state tournaments, including six appearances in the championship game. They won the title in 2005 and 2009 .


West Allis Central Sectional


2010 champion: Milwaukee Marquette (def. Milwaukee King, 80-47, in a sectional final at the Al McGuire Center).


Marquette defeated Milwaukee Hamilton, 48-43, in the state quarterfinals; lost to eventual champion Hartland Arrowhead, 60-58, in the semifinals.


2011 AP rated teams: Milwaukee Riverside (20-2), No. 3; Milwaukee King (20-2), No. 4.


Top seeds: Milwaukee Riverside, No. 1; Milwaukee King, No. 2; Milwaukee Marquette (15-7), No. 3; Milwaukee Washington (13-9), No. 4.


Notable: Milwaukee King is a five-time Division 1 state champion, most recently in 2004. Milwaukee Washington, a three-time Division 1 state champion, now has a Division 2 enrollment of 899 but has chosen to play up a division.


STATEWIDE WRAP


UW-Oshkosh


Super Sectional


Appleton North Sectional contenders: Appleton East (22-0), No. 1 in AP state ratings; Wisconsin Rapids (21-1), No. 7 in ratings.


McGuire Sectional contenders: Germantown (21-1), No. 2 in AP state ratings; defending state champion Hartland Arrowhead (19-3), No. 9 in ratings.


Notable: Neenah and Arrowhead represented these sectionals in last year’s state tournament. This super sectional winner plays the UW-Steven Point winner in the state semifinals.


UW-Stevens Point Super Sectional


D.C. Everest Sectional contenders: D.C Everest (17-5), Marshfield (16-6), Superior (15-7).


Brown County Sectional contenders: De Pere (20-2), No. 6 in AP state ratings; Bay Port (18-4), honorable mention in ratings; Sheboygan North (18-4), honorable mention; Pulaski (17-5).


Notable: Antigo (now Division 2) and Appleton East represented these sectionals in last year’s state tournament.


Division 2

JANESVILLE CRAIG


SECTIONAL


2010 champion: Sauk Prairie (def. Madison Edgewood, 54-51, in a sectional final at Waunakee).


Sauk Prairie lost to eventual champion Waukesha Memorial, 52-49, in the state semifinals.


2011 AP rated teams: Waunakee (21-1), No. 1; Monroe (18-4), No. 8; McFarland (17-5), No. 9; Monona Grove (15-7), honorable mention; Madison Edgewood (15-7), honorable mention.


Top seeds: Upper bracket—Waunakee, No. 1; Monroe, No. 2. Lower bracket—Oregon (15-7), No. 1 in regional; Waterford (13-9), No. 1 in regional.


Agenda: This sectional champion plays the Marshfield champion in the first Division 2 state semifinal game at 1:35 p.m. Friday. March 18.


Notable: Waunakee, with a 1,144 enrollment, may benefit the most from the new-five division system. The Warriors had strong teams eliminated by Division 1 “giants” the last three years—twice in the sectional finals by powerful Madison Memorial. The Warriors’ only loss this season was 42-37 to Minneapolis De La Salle.


Monroe is looking to represent this sectional at state for the fifth time since 2005. The Cheesemakers won the Division 2 title in 2007.


STATEWIDE WRAP


Marshfield Sectional


Top contenders: New Richmond (21-1), No. 3 in AP sate ratings; Onalaska (21-2), tied for No. 4 ratings; Antigo (16-5), honorable mention; River Falls (15-6), honorable mention; Merrill (11-11), Rice Lake (15-7).


Notable: Antigo has become a Division 2 school in the new WIAA system after being a Division 1 state qualifier last season. Maple Northwestern (now Division 3) represented this sectional in the state tournament the last two years. As Mississippi Valley runner-up, Onalaska’s only losses were to La Crosse Aquinas, the top-ranked team in Division 3.


Brown County Sectional


Top contenders: Seymour (19-3), tied for No. 4 in AP state ratings; Two Rivers (21-1), No. 6 in ratings; Beaver Dam (14-8), Plymouth (13-9).


Notable: Kiel (now Division 3) represented this sectional in last year’s state tournament. Seymour has been in the Division 2 state tournament 11 times since 1993. The Thunder won the championship in 1997, 2001 and 2006. It was the runner-up in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005. This year’s sectional champion plays the Al McGuire champion in the second state semifinal game at 3:15 p.m. Friday, March 18.


McGuire Sectional


Top contenders: Wisconsin Lutheran (20-2), No. 2 in AP state ratings; New Berlin West (18-4), No. 7 in ratings; Wauwatosa East (15-7), honorable mention; Whitefish Bay (14-8).


Notable: State champion Waukesha Memorial represented this sectional last year. Wisconsin Lutheran won the 2009 state title. Wauwatosa East, a longtime Division 1 power, could be a major factor at this level.


Division 3

MIDDLETON SECTIONAL


2010 champion: Blair-Taylor (def. Poynette, 81-72, in overtime in a sectional final at Baraboo).


Blair-Taylor lost to eventual champion Racine St. Catherine’s, 64-49, in the state semifinals).


2011 AP rated teams: Lakeside Lutheran (21-1), No. 6; Clinton (19-3), honorable mention; Lake Mills (18-4).


Top seeds: Wisconsin Dells (17-5), River Valley (18-3), Lakeside Lutheran, Clinton, each No. 1 in its regional.


Notable: Lakeside has won 17 straight since its only loss, 79-66 to Lodi … Clinton is coming off a Rock Valley South title that its first championship since 1996. The Cougars’ only losses were conference champions East Troy and Monroe and Rock Valley North runner-up McFarland … Wisconsin Dells, the South Central champion, is on an 11-game win streak … After winning this sectional last year, Blair-Taylor is the top-ranked team in Division 4 … This sectional champion plays the Somerset champion in the first Division 3 state semifinal game at 9:05 a.m. Friday, March 18.


McGUIRE SECTIONAL


2010 champion: Racine St. Catherine’s (def. Winnebago Lutheran, 59-45, in a sectional final at West Allis Central).


2011 AP rated teams: East Troy (21-1), No. 2; Whitefish Bay Dominican (19-3), No. 4; St. Catherine’s (19-3), No. 9; St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy (19-3), tied for No. 10.


Top seeds: North Fond du Lac (12-10), Kettle Moraine Lutheran (18-4), each No. 1 in its regional; Dominican, No. 1 in sectional’s lower bracket, followed by No. 2 East Troy, No. 3 St. Catherine’s.


Notable: St. Catherine’s is shooting for its third straight state title in a division that has been won by private schools the last seven years. The Angels also won Division 3 titles in 2006 and 2007 and Division 2 in 2005. They have lost twice this season to Dominican, 35-28 and 40-30. Their only other loss was 45-40 to Racine Lutheran, a Division 4 school … East Troy, the Rock Valley North champion for the third straight year, has won 18 straight since losing to Waukesha South, a Division 1 school … This sectional champion plays the Menasha champion in the second Division 3 state semifinal game at 10:30 a.m. Friday, March 18.


STATEWIDE WRAP


Somerset Sectional


Top contenders: La Crosse Aquinas (21-1), No. 1 in AP state ratings; Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau (21-1), No. 5 in ratings; Ladysmith (20-2), tied for No. 10 in ratings; Altoona (18-4), honorable mention; Unit (16-6).


Notable: Eau Claire Regis (now Division 4) won this sectional last year. ..Aquinas has won 18 straight since its only loss, 59-56 to La Crosse Logan. The Blugolds won the Division 3 state championship in 2008 and the Division 2 title in 2003. This season, they won the Mississippi Valley championship—a seven-member conference that includes one Division 1 and five Division 2 schools … This sectional champion plays the Middleton champion in the first Division 3 state semifinal game at 9:05 a.m. Friday, March 18.


Menasha Sectional


Top contenders: Manitowoc Roncalli (21-2), No. 3 in AP state ratings; Brillion (21-1), No. 7 in ratings; Omro (20-1), No. 8 in ratings; Kiel (19-3), tied for No. 10 in ratings; Little Chute (18-4), honorable mention; Wrightstown (17-5).


Notable: Kiel was a Division 2 state qualifier last year, while Brillion won this Division 3 sectional … This year’s sectional champion plays the McGuire champion in the second Division 3 state semifinal game at 10:30 a.m. Friday, March 18.


Division 4

STATEWIDE WRAP


Baraboo Sectional


Top contenders: Blair-Taylor (22-0), No. 1 in AP state ratings; Darlington (20-2), No. 7 in ratings; Cuba City (19-3), No. 10 in ratings; Westby (16-6), Deerfield (17-5).


Notable: After losing to Racine St. Catherine’s in the Division 3 state semifinals last year, Blair-Taylor has held the No. 1 rating in Division 4 throughout this season. The Wildcats’ leading challenger in this sectional could be two-time state champion Cuba City, still led by Jerry Petitgoue, the state’s all-time winningest coach … Royall won this sectional last year … This year’s champion plays the Chippewa Falls champion in the first Division 4 state semifinal game at 6:35 p.m. Thursday, March 17.


Chippewa Falls Sectional


Top contenders: Eau Claire Regis (21-1), No. 3; in AP state ratings; Grantsburg (17-5), Cameron (13-7), Colby (18-4), Thorp (16-6).


Notable: Regis was a Division 3 state qualifier last year, while Clayton (now Division 5) won this Division 4 sectional.


Stevens Point Sectional


Top contenders: Marathon (21-1), tied for No. 5 in AP state ratings; Amherst (20-2), No. 8 in ratings; Auburndale (20-2), No. 9 in ratings; Peshtigo (19-2), honorable mention; Bonduel (16-6).


Notable: Green Bay NEW Lutheran (now Division 5) won this sectional last year … This year’s champion plays the Whitefish Bay champion in the second Division 4 state semifinal game at 8:15 p.m. Thursday, March 17.


Whitefish Bay Sectional


Top contenders: Oostburg (22-0), No. 2 in AP state ratings; Laconia (21-1), No. 4 in ratings; Racine Lutheran (19-3), tied for No. 5 in ratings.


Notable: Randolph (now rated No. 1 in Division 5) won this sectional last year. Oostburg was a three-time state champion in Division 3, most recently in 1995.


Division 5

STATEWIDE WRAP


Watertown Sectional


Top contenders: Randolph (19-3), No. 1 in AP state ratings; Sheboygan Lutheran (16-6), honorable mention; No. 8 in ratings; Monticello (17-5), honorable mention; Barneveld (17-4), honorable mention, Lake Country Lutheran (13-9), Burlington Catholic Central (8-13).


Notable: Randolph is the defending Division 4 state champion. The Rockets have won eight titles, all since 1996 and six since 2002. All have been under coach Bob Haffele, who could face his alma mater, Benton, in this year’s statle game … All the Rockets’ losses this season have been to Division 1 or Division 2 schools, including Big Eight co-champion Beloit Memorial, top-ranked Waunakee and Beaver Dam … This sectional champion plays the Waupaca champion in the second Division 5 state semifinal game at


3:15 p.m. Thursday, March 17.


Waupaca Sectional


Top contenders: Suring (20-2), tied for No. 4 in AP state ratings; Green Bay NEW Lutheran (18-4), No. 10 in ratings; Laona (17-4), Marion (17-5).


Notable: Green Bay NEW Lutheran was a Division 4 state qualifier last year.


La Crosse Central Sectional


Top contenders: Benton (21-1), No. 2 in AP state ratings; Seneca (21-1), tied for No. 4 in ratings;Gilmanton (18-2), No. 6 in ratings; Hillsboro (18-4).


Notable: Benton won the Division 4 state title two years ago. The Zephyrs have railroaded their way to 19 straight wins this season since losing to Platteville, 51-46. Their victories include a win over perennial Division 4 contender Cuba City… This sectional champion plays the Spooner champion in the first Division 5 state semifinal game at 1:35 p. Thursday, March 17.


Spooner Sectional


Top contenders: Clayton (19-1), No. 3 in AP state ratings; Prentice (19-3), No. 7 in ratings; Mellen (20-2), No. 8 in ratings; Luck (18-4), honorable mention.


Notable: Clayton was a Division 4 state qualifier last season.




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