Parker, Milton, Brodhead, East Troy girls just two victories away from state
March Madness is officially here.
And for basketball fans in south central Wisconsin, there's plenty to be excited about.
The girls teams at Janesville Parker, Milton, Brodhead and East Troy are two wins away from state, which this year takes its act to the Resch Center in Green Bay.
Sectional semifinal games in five divisions are tonight, and here's a breakdown of the games involving area teams.
-- Mukwonago (22-2) at Janesville Parker (21-3), 7 p.m.—The Vikings hope to use homecourt advantage to move one step closer to the school's 13th state bid.
Parker has breezed through its first two tournament games but will face a much stiffer challenge against sixth-ranked Mukwonago.
"Mukwonago is a state (tournament) quality team, no question about it," Parker coach Tom Klawitter said. "They're big and quick, and have two guards that can really shoot.
"We're going to have to make shots because we're not going to get a lot of second chances with their size. But we had a great practice Tuesday and are as ready as we're ever going to be."
Parker's top two scorers are seniors Ashley Hartwig and Dani Fugate, but the supporting cast has been strong all season. The Vikings can go nine or 10 deep with every player capable of making 3-pointers.
Mukwonago won the Classic Eight Conference and features the one-two punch of guards Jenny Tuttle and Bre Cera, who have made a combined 93 3-pointers.
-- Best guess: Parker 53, Mukwonago 47.
-- Milton (17-7) vs. Wilmot (22-2) at Burlington, 7 p.m.—The Red Hawks are in search of the school's second state berth in the last three years.
Milton has won seven of its last nine games and upset top-seeded Whitewater in the regional title game.
Wilmot breezed to the Southern Lakes Conference title under Delavan-Darien graduate and former UW-Whitewater football star Keiya Square.
"To still be playing at this time of the year is special for everybody," Milton coach Scott Randall said. "Everybody reacts to the pressure differently, and I hope our kids are ready for the challenge.
"We're right where we want to be, but I'm sure Wilmot feels the same way. This is a very good sectional, and whoever comes out of it is going to have to play two very good games."
Senior Morgan Blumer leads the Red Hawks in scoring at 18.1 points per game, but Sydney Harms (11.0) and Liz Westrick (10.9) are also averaging in double figures.
Wilmot also has three players averaging in double figures in scoring. Kari Clements leads the way at 16.6 per game, with Sarah Vozel at 11.7 and Kaytlyn Eidson at 10.2.
-- Best guess: Wilmot 63, Milton 59.
-- Brodhead (23-1) vs. Lodi (22-2) at Janesville Craig, 7 p.m.—Neither school has ever had a team go to state, but the winner tonight has an excellent shot of becoming the first. The other half of the Sun Prairie Sectional bracket has No. 9 seed Richland Center playing No. 7 seed Nekoosa.
Fifth-ranked Brodhead cruised to the Rock Valley South title for the second straight year, its only loss coming on the road at third-ranked East Troy. The Cardinals handed Cuba City, the state's top-ranked Division 4 team, its only loss of the season.
Carly Mohns was the Rock Valley South Player of the Year, but the junior has had plenty of support. Rachel Heller and Taylor Douglas both average near double figures in scoring.
Lodi counters with five players averaging seven points or more, including Taylor Baker's team-leading 12.4 points-per-game average.
"Lodi's starting five are very good, and their point guard makes them go," Brodhead coach Brad Pickett said. "They have a nice balance from both the inside and outside, and defensively, they run a real tough two-three zone.
"But we've been a great defensive team all season. That's where we hang our hat. And hopefully, we can make some things happen on offense."
-- Best guess: Brodhead 48, Lodi 41.
-- East Troy (23-1) vs. Kettle Moraine Lutheran (21-3) at Milwaukee Marquette, 7 p.m.—The Trojans are seeking a second straight state berth.
East Troy has rolled in its two tournament games and remains deadly from beyond the arc. The Trojans have made 157 3-pointers on the season, including 73 from sharpshooter Rachel Atchison.
The Chargers have won 21 straight after starting the season 0-3.
-- Best guess: East Troy 71, Kettle Moraine Lutheran 53.