NY2LASPORTS.COM - WIAA REGIONAL FINALS OUTLOOK
Antonio Curro — NATIONAL RECRUITING DIRECTOR - NY2LASPORTS.COM
While Cuba City's Evan Richard was exploding for 41 last night, a host of Division 1 teams were preparing for Saturday when the Regional Finals for the Division 1, 2, 3, and 4 boys WIAA state tournaments are set to tip off. Here's an outlook for what looks to be an exciting day of action across the state.
Jordan Mach and Antigo take on River Falls looking to advance. Mach can fill it up with the best of them and is in a position to write a very nice story with Antigo if they continue to roll on. The young man knows how to play.
De Pere locks up with Manitowoc Lincoln on Saturday. De Pere is a state championship contender by all accounts and anything less than a trip to Madison would be a surprise. Keep an eye on sharpshooting junior Reece Zoelle who can really fill it up. Also, big bruising interior senior Scott Carney is a force on both ends as well for De Pere.
The sleeper in Sectional #1 is Merrill who features sharpshooting junior Paul Jesperson. They match up with Wausau West who is the favorite. Perhaps Merrill is a year away from a deep run but they offer up the best player in the Sectional in Jesperson (yup we're aware that Evan Anderson is in that sectional) and if he can get in a rhythym night in and night out Merrill could make a nice run starting with a win on Saturday. Jesperson will need to come up big Saturday for Merrill to advance.
A Sectional semi-final matchup between Kaukauna and Appleton East looks like a certainty. I love the upside and potential of Appleton East So. F Sam Mader who stands to become one of the biggest 2012 stories in the Midwest this spring and summer.
Defending champs from Madison Memorial lock up with Madison La Follette on Saturday. Don't expect an upset and to be honest, look for Memorial to end up in Madison. Experience and talent are two big time weapons at their disposal and they look to be peaking at the right time.
Anyone can win Sectional #4. There's no clear cut favorite despite the seeds.
Hamilton takes on Franklin and big Nick Romanowski. While Romo stands to get his numbers, Hamilton has way too much depth in this one. Look for Hamilton to move on to a possible game with Whitnall and sharpshooting William Pelkofer, one of the truly underrated talents in the state.
Racine Park and Racine Case matchup should be an exciting rivalry type matchup. Right now Park is rolling on all cylinders but Case has the athletes and talent to take them out. Still, Park has something to prove this year and is gearing up for a must watch possible matchup with Milwaukee Hamilton in the Sectional Finals.
Tosa West and Milwaukee Washington should be a great game. The 1-2 punch of Ray Sterling and Anthony Carroll for Tosa West has veen very good this season.. A victory by Wauwatosa West squad would not necessarily be an upset, especially considering they also offer up explosive freshman Anthony Carroll who's been recovering from an injury. If Carroll and Sterling are at their best, Tosa West could give Washington all they can handle and then some.
Marquette heads to Riverside in one of the marquee matchups of the day. Riverside is favored and they are very tough with balance, but Marquette is a dangerous matchup for them and a victory by the Hilltoppers would not be a surprise at all. This is a must watch game.
Arrowhead and Cedarburg lock up on Saturday and while Arrowhead is a heavy favorite, Cedarburg has the best player on the court in the tough, physical, active Chip Rank. If 1-2 guys from Cedarburg step up big and Rank stays out of foul trouble, a victory by Cedarburg would not be a surprise at all. Arrowhead's PG Andy Fox, an excellent floor leader, could be key here. This game is another must watch game.
Vincent locks up with Waukesha West and Sr. F Ryan Solberg. Vincent has been on a roll lately and that coincides with a number of things including the continued strong play of Fr. SF Deonte Burton. Soldberg can score inside and outside and is a solid underrated talent in the state. Vincent will have all they can handle in this one. This is a solid matchup to check out on Saturday in one of the most competitive games of the day on paper.
No one is talking about Burlington and they could be headed to a possible Sectional final showdown with Beloit Memorial. Sr. G Nate Brandt can shoot with anyone in the state when he spots up and Burlington could surprise some people over the next couple of weeks.
Port Washington and Whitefish Bay meet up for the third time this season in what looks to be an excellent contest. Port offers up the best player on the court in Josh Gasser but Bay equals that with a 1-2 punch of John Johnston and Jamie Schneck. If Schneck can dominate the paint and Johnston is on his game, Bay could pull this one off. This looks to be an excellent game and another of the must watch games of the day.
Tried to tell you yesterday about Austin Arians and Madison Edgewood and #1 seed Portage found out first hand as he dropped a 21 piece on them last night. Up next is a match up with Lake Mills and Edgewood could very well keep the Cinderella slipper on till next week if Arians comes up big again.
Catholic Memorial and East Troy lock up in what stands to be an exciting contest. Memorial dropped Troy the first game of the season and should roll on Saturday as well.
Defending champs from Wisconsin Lutheran lock up with a very dangerous New Berlin Eisenhower. Lutheran doesn't just offer up the best two players on the court in Flavien Davis and Terry Nash but there are playing exceptional defense right now and are rolling on an 11 game winning streak. If Lutheran keeps Eisenhower in the game anything can happen but Davis & Co. look like their headed to Madison once again right now.
Seymour rolled again last night and they meet up with Little Chute on Saturday. Calahan Skogman is the deal right now and don't sleep on sharpshooting forward Phil Romback. I'm loving their chances if Skogman continues at his current pace. Seymour advances.
Austin Armga dropped a 36 piece last night and Waupun rolled on. Anything less than a Sectional Finals trip would be a surprise.
Watertown Luther Prep locks up with Brookfield Academy and while Prep looks like the favorite, we think Academy takes this one. Troy Huff has been on fire and Brookfield Academy is really playing well right now.
Two words - Evan Richard! A 41 spot last night says enough as Cuba City will roll again Saturday in their game with Darlington.
Freshman sensation Duane Wilson Jr. continues to shake em off as he dropped a 19 piece on The Hope School last night. Dominican takes on Destiny on Saturday and you wonder whether the name is a bit of foreshadowing for Dominican? Regardless, Dominican advances with a possible showdown with Racine St. Cats and Indiana State bound Sr. PG Steve McWhorter on the horizon.
We tried to tell you about Jordan Reetz and Fall Creek. They disposed of Colby 68-44 last night. They lock up with Thorp on Saturday and once again we expect Fall Creek to come out on top.
Roncalli is going to be very tough to beat and Jr. G Ben Stelzer is the reason why. This kid can really play and has a beautiful stroke. Brillion will need to come up big if they expect to get past a Roncalli on Saturday.
David Neis dropped 25 and Benton rolled last night. He's been very good this season. On paper it looks like Benton rolls but they are very young and that inexperience can always come up and get them starting Saturday if they don't show up.
Randolph rolled 61-30 last night. Right now they are the class of the group. Anything less than a trip to the state championship game would be a surprise.
Green Lake struggled a bit but still advanced last night. Look for them to get back on track against Rosholt on Saturday as they have the best 1-2 punch in the tournament.
Note: Antonio Curro is the National Recruiting Editor for NY2LASPORTS.COM, GENERATIONNEXBASKETBALL.COM and 414HOOPS.COM. He is also a national consultant for ESPNU and the HOOPSCOOP.