The WIAA seeding meetings for girls basketball take place in 10 days.
Keep your eyes on the Division 1 Janesville Craig Sectional and how the bracket shakes out.
Second-ranked Mukwonago and third-ranked Sun Prairie are clearly the top two teams in the sectional, but after that 10 teams are within two or three wins of each other as we reach the final couple weeks of the regular season.
Middleton is currently 10-7 overall and could snag a No. 4 seed. Janesville Craig is 8-9 and right now would be staring at possibly a No. 11 seed. The Cougars swept the Cardinals during the regular season.
“You’re going to see some upsets,” Craig coach Kerry Storbakken said of sectional games. “A lot of times, because teams are so even and separated by maybe just one or two losses, it’s going to come down to matchups.
“We’ve got a couple of good signature wins that should help us in the seeding meeting. We’ve beat Middleton twice, and a very good Stoughton team, but we also know we have to beat Parker on Thursday. If we go into the meeting with two losses to Parker, we won’t have anything to counter with after the initial vote.”
Other teams currently in the Craig Sectional with winning records are Madison East, Waunakee, Madison La Follette, Oconomowoc, Madison Memorial, Watertown and Lake Geneva Badger.
Janesville Parker currently sits with six wins, along with Kenosha Tremper and Kenosha Bradford. The Vikings could get anywhere from a 10th to a 15th seed.
“After last year, I’m kind of nervous about how that meeting goes,” Parker coach Jennah Hartwig said of what she felt was an unfair seeding a year ago. “That’s why the Craig game is so important for us.”
Storbakken knows the Vikings have yet to hit their stride.
“Parker’s better than their record would indicate,” Storbakken said. “And that’s kind of what I was talking about. I could easily see Parker pulling off an upset in the first round.
“Everybody’s got two or three games to pad their resume and get a signature win or two before the seeding meeting.”
Here’s a look at the two upcoming crosstown rivalry games, along with a key Rock Valley Conference girls showdown Friday night:
Janesville Craig (8-9, 5-8 Big Eight) at Janesville Parker (6-10, 4-9), girls, 7:30 p.m., today—The Vikings will look to snap a four-game losing streak and complete the season sweep.
Craig is coming off a big 71-55 win over Middleton, marking the first time since the 2005-06 season that the Cougars swept the Cardinals in Big Eight play.
“We had been struggling to find an identity, but I think the Middleton game really helped,” Craig coach Kerry Storbakken said.
The Cougars are averaging nearly 60 points a game. Sophomore Cassie Goswick and junior Emily Pierson are averaging more than 29 points a game combined.
Julia Hartwig continues to be the story for Parker. The 6-foot-2 junior and UW-Green Bay recruit leads the Big Eight in scoring and rebounding. She had 22 in Parker’s 58-55 win over Craig earlier this season.
“Julia’s going to get her 20 points. We know that,” Storbakken said. “We just can’t let the guards get loose on us like they did the first time we played them.
“We’ve got to pressure their guards defensively, and make it tough for them to get the ball into her (Hartwig).”
Coach Hartwig said her team’s struggles are due in large part to a stagnant offense.
“We simply have to keep moving the ball,” Hartwig said. “We can’t stand around and wait for things to happen.
“If we’re going to have success against Craig, we have to have an outside and inside game because Craig is going to make shots. They shoot the ball, especially from the outside.”
Best guess: Craig 54, Parker 50
Janesville Craig (7-9, 6-7 Big Eight) at Janesville Parker (2-15, 1-12), boys, 7:30 p.m., Friday—The Cougars look to complete the season sweep of their crosstown rival. Craig won the first game 73-64.
Craig lost a nonconference game at Mount Horeb on Tuesday but was coming off its most complete game of the season in last Saturday’s 71-55 Big Eight win over Middleton.
“We’re making strides, especially offensively,” Craig coach Ben McCormick said. “We’ve done a nice job the last few games of distributing the basketball and finding that third or fourth scoring option that we were lacking earlier in the season.”
Blake McCann leads Craig in scoring at 20.3 points per game and is second in the conference.
The Cougars have not won back-to-back games all season.
Parker has lost seven straight since snapping it’s 44-game losing streak by winning back-to-back games.
Parker leading-scorer Chris Galvan (17.4 points per game) is back in the starting lineup after missing two games last week with an injury.
“He killed us the first game,” McCormick said of Galvan, who had 30 points. “For us, it’s a matter of sticking to our defensive principles and helping out.”
Best guess: Craig 69, Parker 55
McFarland (11-6, 10-3 Rock Valley) at Walworth Big Foot (12-5, 11-2), girls, 7:15 p.m., Friday—A pivotal game for both teams. Big Foot remains one game behind front-running Jefferson, while McFarland is tied with Whitewater for third place.
The Spartans have won five straight since snapping a four-game losing streak. Katie Rounds (15.7) and Gabi Runde (11.5) both average in double figures for McFarland.
“We don’t match up with them that well because of their size, so we have to do a better job rebounding than we did the first time we played them,” Big Foot coach Rick Schoenbeck said.
Big Foot is 7-0 at home this season, including last week’s win over previously unbeaten Jefferson.
Reagan Courier and Courtney Schoenbeck are averaging a combined 30 points per game for the Chiefs.
McFarland won the first meeting this season 58-54.
Best guess: Big Foot 61, McFarland 56
AREA GIRLS SCORING LEADERS
Name Yr. School Average High
Erin Nyhus Sr. Brodhead 20.2 31
Julia Hartwig:Jr. Parker 20.0 27
Bethany Oren Sr. Edgerton 19.4 28
Paige Banks So. Evansville 19.0 31
Jaida Speth Sr. Delavan-Darien 16.4 28
Chloe Buescher Jr. Milton 15.6 30
Reagan Courier So. Big Foot 15.3 26
Cassie Goswick So. Craig 14.9 27
Courtney Schoenbeck Sr. Big Foot 14.6 26
Emily Pierson Jr. Craig 14.4 26