Boys tournament begins Thursday
Senior Caleb Zeegers scored on a putback with the clock running out in overtime, giving the Patriots a "Super Tuesday" victory over Germantown. Although some questioned whether the clock started late on the decisive play, top-ranked Appleton East (26-0) now is headed to the to the Kohl Center.
"It’s all instinct. I just tried to get it out of my hands as soon as possible because I knew we didn’t have much time. Just glad I got it to go," Zeegers said. "I heard the horn. I just went nuts. I couldn’t believe it. I was just in shock."
It’s the second straight appearance at state and seventh overall for Appleton East, the stae runner-up in 1986 and 1990. Three Patriots players—guard Johnny Coenen, guard/forward Trent Schmidt and forward Eric Schultz—score in double figures.
Now they’ll face De Pere (24-2) on 8:15 p.m. Friday, after the Redbirds beat Superior on Tuesday. De Pere is making its second-ever appearance at state and is led by Reece Zoelle’s 15.2 points per game.
In the other Division 1 semifinal on Friday, Madison Memorial (20-6) takes on Milwaukee Hamilton (20-6).
Madison Memorial, last year’s runner-up, is making its eighth consecutive appearance in the state tournament. The Spartans also have won eight straight Big Eight Conference championships and have been in six of the last seven state title games, winning two and losing four.
This year, a young Memorial team is led by 6-4 guard Junior Lomomba, who has averaged 17.5 points per game.
Milwaukee Hamilton is going to state for the second straight season and the fifth time overall, including a championship in 1972. The Wildcats are led by senior guard Haki Stampley, who scores 14.7 points per game.
Hamilton also is coached by Tom Diener, who led Milwaukee Vincent to five state championships between 1996 and 2001 before joining the Wildcats last season.
Seymour (23-3) is back in the tournament field for the 13th time, powered by senior Calahan Skogman’s average of 21.8 points per game.
The Thunder had an impressive run of eight consecutive appearances from 2000-07, including championships in 2001 and 2006. They also won a championship in 1997.
Senior center Jamie Schneck averages 15.3 points and 7.4 rebounds a game for Whitefish Bay (18-8), which is in the tournament for the sixth time and for the first time since winning the Division 2 championship in 1998. The Blue Dukes also finished runner-up in 1990.
Friday’s other semifinal matches top-ranked Badger Notrth champion Waunakee (25-1) against Merrill (15-11).
Defense-minded Waunakee, which has lost only to Minneapolis DeLaSalle, 42-37, is making its first-ever appearance in the state tournament. However, the Warriors are no stranger to state championships. They have won the Division 2 football title the last two years and four championships in that sport since 1999.
Waunakee takes on Merrill, which is making its first appearance in the state tournament since being an open-class qualifier in 1964. The Warriors are led by 6-7 senior guard Paul Jesperson, who averages 21.7 points per game.
Two-time defending champion Racine St. Catherine’s (23-3) returns to state for the sixth time, all in the last seven years. The Angels also won three straight state championships from 2005-07, the first of which came in Division 2.
They’ll face Little Chute (23-4), which is making its first appearance at state. Little Chute is coached by Mickey Martin, who took Albany to the 1993 Division 4 state tournament and then coached at Orfordville Parkview before moving the the Fox Valley area.
Top-ranked La Crosse Aquinas (25-1) returns to state for the fourth time in the last five seasons and for the fifth time overall. The Blugolds’ first experience in the tournament resulted in the Division 2 championship in 2003, and they won the Division 3 title 2008.
They’ll take on Lakeside Lutheran (25-1), which also is making its first trip to state.