Shot at redemption: East Troy remembers Lodi
MADISON Coach Darryl Rayfield hardly needs a refresher course on his team's last meeting with Lodi.
If he and his East Troy High Trojans did, they can find last year's WIAA Division 3 sectional final on YouTube, where all four quarters—and Lodi's eventual celebration—are broken down into five separate videos.
In that game, Jordan Shea's layup with just four seconds remaining sent Lodi on to state for the first time.
On Friday morning, the two teams will meet in a highly anticipated rematch in a semifinal at the WIAA state boys basketball tournament, which begins today at the Kohl Center.
"I'd be lying to you to say that we aren't thinking about it a little bit," Rayfield said Sunday, one day after East Troy topped Berlin to advance to state for just the second time in program history. "But it's two different teams, two different seasons."
The Trojans only other trip to state came in 1989, where they lost in the semifinals.
Rayfield did his best to downplay the mentality of Friday's rematch, but it's a difficult topic to avoid given that many of the key players from last year's meeting will be on the floor when the teams tip off at approximately 10:30 a.m.
Shea is back and just a junior. And East Troy guard Nate Dodge and twin brothers Alex and Brett Prahl—both UW-Milwaukee recruits—return as well.
"That game just will give us a little bit of a reminder about how mentally tough and physically tough their kids are," Rayfield said. "Make no mistake about it, getting there (to state) is something that we wanted to do. It was something that they kind of took from us."
Lodi enters state with a 23-3 record, with just two of those losses coming in-state—one to Poynette and the other to Wisconsin Dells, which was avenged in the sectional final on Saturday.
East Troy boasts a matching record, with a pair of losses coming to Division 1 foes. The third was a 56-53 loss to Little Chute, another Division 3 semifinalist.
"It turned out that it was a competitive game, because we had high-profile guys—two kids going to Green Bay, two kids going to UWM, we have a kid going to Army," Rayfield said. "(Little Chute coach Micky Martin) and I did talk a little bit about where our guys were at and where we needed to be."
Martin, who coached many seasons at Orfordville Parkview High School, takes his Little Chute team against La Crosse Aquinas and Wisconsin recruit Bronson Koenig at 9:05 a.m. Friday, making Division 3, to many, the most-anticipated bracket of the weekend.
Undefeated Germantown returns to Madison for the fourth time overall and looking to defend its D-1 title. The Warhawks (26-0) will need to go through Oshkosh North (23-3) to get to the title game.
The championship game could prove to be a rematch between Germantown and Milwaukee King. The Generals (20-4) lay claim to five state titles, but are looking for their first since 2004 and face Mukwonago (22-4) in a semifinal Friday night. The Indians topped Janesville Craig in a sectional semifinal.
Germantown beat King, 72-69, in the title tilt a year ago.
Another defending state champion will look to repeat in Division 2 as Onalaska (24-2) returns to state for the ninth time overall. The Hilltoppers square off with Pulaski (22-4) in the semifinals.
On the other side, Stoughton (18-8) advanced to its first state tournament since 1939 by beating DeForest at Janesville Craig last weekend. The Vikings take on Wisconsin Lutheran (21-5) as they hope to make their first state championship game appearance.
Dominican (22-4) and Cuba City (26-0) will square off one round earlier than in 2012. The two teams met with the gold ball on the line a year ago, but will meet in the semifinals tonight. Dominican won its third state title since 2004 (the Knights also won seven WISAA titles before joining the WIAA) when it topped the Cubans 61-43 last year.
Auburndale (25-1) is searching for its third state title (1998 and 2000). The Apaches face Amherst, making just its second state tournament appearance. The Falcons (22-3) lost in the semifinals in 1998.
It should come as no surprise to see Randolph at state, as the Rockets (25-2) own a WIAA-record nine state titles and have reached state in nine of the last 12 years. They won back-to-back titles in 2010-11 and will face Elmwood (23-4) this afternoon. The Raiders finished runner-up to Randolph in 1996, the last time they reached state.
Drummond is the only D-5 team back at state that reached Madison in 2012. The Lumberjacks (24-2) face Green Bay N.E.W. Lutheran (27-0). The Blazers are making their third trip to state in four years.