Sometimes WIAA basketball seeding meetings get pretty heated. Or so I hear, at least—sports writers don’t really get the invites to such events.

Area coaches in the bottom half of the Division 3 Middleton Sectional, however, didn’t bother getting all red in the face.

Thanks to a fairly clear hierarchy of teams and a slew of head-to-head matchups to help sort things out, it sounds like everyone played nice.

“It was probably the first seeding meeting I’ve been to where nobody challenged,” said Turner coach Ken Watkins, referring to the process where a team seeded one spot lower can challenge a team one spot higher to move up a seed line after the initial vote. The coaches then re-vote for one team or the other, and majority rules.

“Everybody after the two spot wanted a higher seed, but it was sure hard to argue for anybody,” Watkins said. “It was pretty cut and dried.”

Turner wound up with a No. 6 seed and will host Shoreland Lutheran in a regional quarterfinal Feb. 27.

Watkins said the Trojans probably landed right where their resume said they should land.

At 15-5 overall, they’re exactly one game behind third-seeded East Troy and won the only head-to-head matchup against the Trojans in the regular season to this point (the teams play again Monday).

Why is Turner then three seeds lower? Because it played fourth-seeded Lakeside Lutheran (17-5) and fifth-seeded Lake Mills (14-7) in the Lake Mills Classic in late December and lost both games.

And when teams are bunched so close, head-to-head matchups can certainly play the role of tiebreaker when it comes to seeding.

“If we split those games, I think it’s a different story ... might even be able to sneak a four seed,” Watkins said. “But if you don’t win the head-to-head matchups, there’s not much you can do.”

Playing nonconference games against common sectional opponents certainly has its pluses and minuses.

Win them, and in any close call, you’ve got a distinct advantage. Lose, though, and you’re on the wrong end of that argument. And when those losses come in the first month or six weeks of a season, it’s sometimes hard to reconcile them carrying so much weight two months later.

“A lot of times, you can probably throw a lot of December out,” Watkins said. “Teams are still trying to find who they are. We were definitely in that boat, with having such a young team and a big (lineup) change at the beginning of the season.”

It’s not a new predicament for the Trojans. They lost to Lake Mills in the regular season last year, and Lake Mills got the No. 1 seed and Turner the No. 3.

Turner got a chance at redemption, though, when the teams met for a rematch in a sectional semifinal at Fort Atkinson. Lake Mills won 62-58 in double overtime.

The Trojans believe they can make a similar run this time around, though it’ll be much harder because they’ll have to go on the road earlier in the tournament.

As for next year, Watkins said Turner won’t play the holiday tournament again, opting to spread out nonconference games and avoid playing during the holiday break.

In a sectional loaded with solid programs, next year’s seeding meeting just might be a little more noisy.

City seedings

Janesville Craig’s two losses to Beloit Memorial during the regular season likely sting a little more today than they even did on the nights they occurred.

The Cougars drew the No. 9 seed in the Division 1 Sun Prairie bracket and must go to eighth-seeded Kenosha Bradford in a regional semifinal March 2.

Craig was swept in the Big Eight Conference season by Beloit, which wound up five spots lower in the No. 14 slot.

Beat Beloit once, let alone twice, and the Cougars likely could have argued for a regional semi home game and perhaps even as high as a No. 7 seed, avoiding the potential to play top-seeded Sun Prairie in the regional finals.

Alas, Craig sits at 10-11 with one regular-season game left and could not bump ahead of 14-win Bradford for an opening home game.

“If we could have gotten another win or two, it probably would have even given us a better chance (in seeding) against Middleton,” Craig coach Ben McCormick said of the seventh-seeded Cardinals. “But I’m happy to at least get out of the conference for our first tournament game.”

Parker will also make a trek to Kenosha next week. The Vikings (2-19) are the No. 18 seed and play a regional quarterfinal at 15th-seeded Indian Trail on Feb. 27.

Bracket quick takes

Like I did with last week’s girls bracket breakdown, a couple far-too-early opinions on the boys tournament:

  • The teams I think will make it to state out of the sectionals that include Gazette-area teams: Sun Prairie (out of the Sun Prairie Sectional where the sectional final would need to be moved to a neutral site), Mount Horeb (out of what seems like a wide-open Division 2 Oregon Sectional), Martin Luther (Division 3 Middleton Sectional) and New Glarus (Division 4 Baraboo Sectional).
  • Most intriguing team: Edgerton is seeded second on the opposite half of the D3 bracket as Turner and East Troy. The Crimson Tide have exceeded most folks’ expectations this season, and they’ve done so by winning a slew of close games. You’ve got to find ways to win tight contests in the final minutes, and Edgerton has already shown that.
  • Cinderella potential: There are a few options here, because I’d argue we have a lot of boom-or-bust teams in the area. Many have shown they can take on and beat some top-level teams but can also falter on any given night. Probably worth keeping an eye on Parkview in the D4 bracket. The Vikings have won six of their last seven games going into this week. They’ve got a balanced attack with several players capable of hitting the 3. Get hot, and Parkview could make a little run. Go cold once in the tournament, however, and it’s all over in a hurry.

Eric Schmoldt is the sports editor of The Gazette. Reach him at eschmoldt@gazettextra.com.

WIAA boys basketball tournament

Area schedule

All games 7 p.m.



(17) Madison West at (16) Badger

(18) Janesville Parker at (15) Kenosha Indian Trail


West-Badger winner at (1) Sun Prairie

(9) Janesville Craig at (8) Kenosha Bradford

(12) Watertown at (5) Madison Memorial

(13) Kenosha Tremper at (4) Madison La Folette

(14) Beloit Memorial at (3) Madison East

(11) Verona at (6) Mukwonago

(10) Oconomowoc at (7) Middleton

KIT-Parker winner at (2) Waunakee



(9) Fort Atkinson at (8) Waterford

(11) Milton at (6) Burlington

(10) Delavan-Darien at (7) Jefferson


Fort-Waterford winner at (1) Union Grove

(5) Wilmot at (4) Elkhorn

Milton-Burlington winner at (3) Waukesha West

Jefferson-DDHS winner at (2) Westosha



(9) Evansville at (8) Richland Center

(12) Poynette at (5) River Valley

(11) Marshall at (6) Edgewood

(10) Brodhead at (7) Dodgeville

(9) Kenosha St. Joe’s at (8) Whitewater

(12) Big Foot at (5) Lake Mills

(13) Kenosha Reuther at (4) Lakeside Lutheran

(11) Shoreland Lutheran at (6) Turner

(10) Clinton at (7) St. John’s NW Military


Evansville-RC winner at (1) Platteville

RV-Poynette winner at (4) Prairie du Chien

Marshall-Edgewood winner at (3) Lodi

Dodgeville-Brodhead winner at (2) Edgerton

St. Joe’s-Whitewater winner at (1) Martin Luther

Lake Mills-Big Foot winner vs. Reuther-Lakeside winner, at best remaining seed

Shoreland-Turner winner at (3) East Troy

St. John’s-Clinton winner at (2) Racine St. Cat’s



(9) Belleville at (8) Dodgeland

(12) Johnson Creek at (5) Parkview

(13) Montello at (4) Saint Mary’s Springs

(11) Waterloo at (6) Horicon

(10) Westfield at (7) Cambridge


Belleville-Dodgeland winner at (1) New Glarus

Parkview-Johnson Creek winner vs. Montello-Springs winner, at best remaining seed

Waterloo-Horicon winner at (3) Markesan

Cambridge-Westfield winner at (2) Pardeeville

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