One team was supposed to be here.
The other team was looking ahead to next year.
Yet when girls basketball sectional play tips off tonight, both Walworth Big Foot and Janesville Parker will take the court.
Top-seeded Big Foot (19-5) plays third-seeded Lakeside Lutheran (18-6) in a WIAA Division 3 sectional semifinal game at Burlington.
Parker, 10-14 overall and seeded 13th, plays No. 1-ranked and top-seeded Mukwonago (22-2) in a Division 1 sectional semifinal at Elkhorn.
The Vikings opened tournament play by avenging two regular-season losses to Middleton by winning 56-52, and they followed that up with a 45-39 overtime win over Watertown for the regional title.
Both victories came in true road games.
With four of five starters underclassmen, Parker seemed more like a team capable of making a run next season.
“We have nothing to lose,” Parker coach Jennah Hartwig said of playing Mukwonago. “All the pressure is on them.
“I think the girls have finally bought in to what it takes to be successful. It’s going to be our biggest challenge of the season, but that’s why you play the game.”
Mukwonago is loaded. The Classic Eight co-champion has won 12 straight games and is averaging nearly 70 points per game. The Indians’ only two losses came by a combined four points.
Three players average double figures scoring, with two others averaging more than nine points per game.
“Most of the girls on that team have been playing together since third grade, including AAU ball in the summer,” Hartwig said. “They’re not very big, but they’re very athletic and love to fast break.
“They remind me of those really good Middleton teams that were relentless on defense and had four or five players capable of leading them in scoring.
“They’re ranked No. 1 for good reason.”
Parker relied on junior forward Julia Hartwig to carry the load most of the season, but Jena Forrestal has been the story in the postseason. The sophomore guard has 10 3-pointers in two tournament games, including two huge 3s in overtime that were the difference in the win over Watertown.
“Mukwonago is not very big,” coach Hartwig said. “So if our guards can knock down some shots, starting with Jena, that could open things up down low for Julia.
“We just have to stay aggressive as a team and not let up. We can’t start slow like we did against Watertown. Mukwonago is too good.”
Big Foot, the Rock Valley Conference runner-up, brings an 11-game winning streak into tonight’s game.
The Chiefs are averaging 61 points per game and have a dynamic one-two scoring punch in senior Courtney Schoenbeck and sophomore Reagan Courier. Schoenbeck is averaging 16.2 points per game and Courier 15.7.
Lakeside is on a 10-game winning streak of its own and went 10-0 in conference play in winning the Capitol North title.
“They’re a lot like us,” Big Foot coach Rick Schoenbeck said of Lakeside. “Both teams like to play fast, and they’ll press us full-court man-to-man.
“If we can break their press, that will work in our favor because we like to play an open style-type offense and not a half-court one.”
Courtney Schoenbeck has been on a scoring tear. She is averaging more than 20 points per game during the winning streak.
Coach Schoenbeck said Courier played her most complete game of the season in the regional final win.
“We’re playing very unselfish basketball right now,” he said. “And I think the experience we had of playing some high-caliber teams during the season will help.
“It should be a very good game between two really good teams.”
Win tonight, and teams are one victory away from a trip to the Resch Center.