NY2LASPORTS.COM - 414HOOPS.COM - WIAA SECTIONAL FINAL PREVIEW - D2, D3 & D4
Antonio Curro — NATIONAL RECRUITING DIRECTOR - NY2LASPORTS.COM
The WIAA boys D2, D3, and D4 Sectional Finals tip later today after a whirlwind of upsets last night with Phil Romback and Seymour as one of the many talented performers with eyes on a trip to Madison next week. Here's a preview of what to expect later today...
Northwestern vs. Onalaska
Both teams turned in convincing performances last night and now meet for a trip to Madison. Sophomore Nick Arenz was solid for Onalaska but it was the sharpshooting of freshman sensation Matt Thomas that propelled Onalaska to the win. On the flip side Northwestern turned in one of the best efforts of the season and with Steve Tecker back in the fold they are the team to beat right now as they appear to be clicking on all cylinders. The matchup here between Onalaska's Arenz and senior Donnie Hissa of Northwestern could be the determining factor. Onalaska will need to play their best game of the season if they expect to win and another big time effort from Thomas and Arenz is a must to advance. The return of Tecker looks to have sparked Northwestern and they are the team to beat right now in the D2 tournament. A win by Onalaska would be an upset here.
Seymour vs. Kiel
Junior Calahan Skogman continued his stellar play on Thursday and junior Phil Romback was solid as well in the win for Seymour. Kiel on the other hand had to withstand a 49 point effort from Austin Armga to get past Waupun. Having already withstood one explosive scoring talent, Kiel now has their sites set on Skogman for Seymour. Only difference here is that Romback may very well be the x-factor with his size and ability to step away from the basket. Skogman will get his points but if Romback has a big game as well, Seymour advances.
Sauk Prairie vs. Madison Edgewood
Both lived to fight another day last night and while Sauk Prairie did it convincingly, Edgewood survived on a late jumper by sophomore Austin Arians. Both Arians and sophomore Spencer Brink were big time again last night for Edgewood and they'll need to do much of the same against Sauk Prairie who is playing their best right now. Only another spectacular effort by Arians and Brink will keep Sauk Prairie from advancing.
Catholic Memorial vs. Whitefish Bay
Memorial outlasted a 31 point 15 rebound performance by Flavien Davis and Wisconsin Lutheran last night and senior T.J. Bray's 30 point effort was a huge reason why. More important was the play of Mike Neary who came up big last night for Memorial as well and may very well have been the X-factor in that game. Memorial now heads into today as the heavy favorite against a Bay team not expected to get this far this season. While Memorial throws seniors T.J. Bray and Derek Schell at Bay along with a host of supporting players, Bay counters with senior John Johnston who loves to take the big shot and came up huge again last night. Sr. Jevonte Merriweather presents the same type of problems that Lutheran's Terry Nash did last night for Memorial but the key in this game is by far the play of junior Jamie Schneck of Whitefish Bay. If Memorial is looking past Bay and Schneck comes up big, Bay could upset Memorial and roll into Madison. Memorial should win but they absolutely must neutralize Schneck to get to Madison. This could be a very good game if both teams are at their best.
Eau Claire Regis vs. Thorp
We said yesterday that Thorp was very dangerous and Eau Claire Regis outlasted Webster last night. This deep in the tournament backcourt play is key and Regis has one of the best in junior Connor Miller. Regis should advance to Madison here.
Marathon vs. Brillion
Brillion turned in another solid effort on Friday but Marathon made a huge statement again with another convincing win. A loss by Marathon here would be a shocker.
Blair-Taylor vs. Poynette
The shocker of the day last night was Poynette's win over a heavily favored Cuba City squad. We always felt Cuba City was the heavy favorite in this tournament but Poynette turned in an exceptional effort last night to outlast Evan Richard and Cuba City. Expect much of the same here as Poynette is rolling right now and should do so right into Madison.
Racine St. Catherines vs. Winnebago Lutheran
The game of the day in this tournament as Winnebago Lutheran outlasted Brookfield Academy in double overtime last night to move on. On the flip side senior Steve McWhorter was absolutely unstoppable last night and turned in his best effort of the season in a dominating performance against Dominican. St. Cats appears to be on a mission here but Winnebago Lutheran is a huge obstacle in their path. The key to this one will be the play of sophomores Cary Thomas and Jordan Fouse who came up huge for St. Cats last night. Another key could be legs as Winnebago played a very draining game against Brookfield Academy while St. Cats was able to coast in the second half. Look for St. Cats to have more juice in the tank and move on to Madison later today.
Prentice vs. Clayton
Both delivered convincing wins last night and everything came true to form in this sectional as the top seeds square off against each other. The trio of Nate Erickson, Nick Erickson and Brian Kraegenbrink account for almost 37 points a game for Prentice. Clayton counters with junior Tyler Ketz and seniors Taylor Dayton and Brandon Schaffer who drop a little over 44 points per game. Whichever trio plays the best will determine this one. My gut says Clayton ends up in Madison but this can go either way.
Green Lake vs. Green Bay NEW Lutheran
Both teams advanced last night but GB NEW Lutheran need overtime to do it and that extra session could be cause for some tired legs later today. Regardless, Green Lake has too much size and the 1-2 punch of senior Brad Brooks and sophomore Matt Van Scyoc looks to be too much for GB NEW Lutheran to handle. GB NEW Lutheran will need to play their best game of the season to win and even that may not be enough. A loss by Green Lake here would be a huge surprise but a balanced efficient stellar defensive effort by GB NEW Lutheran combined with an off game by Brooks or Van Scyoc could do the trick.
McDonell Central vs. Royall
Another Sectional that proved true to form with the top seeds meeting later today. Central is rolling right now and Royall was solid again in their win last night as well. Sernior Derek Watton leads the attack for Central while senior Cory Witt does the same for Royall. This one will be determined by the supporting cast and whoever steps up the most will deliver. Central is really clicking right now and looks like they'll be in Madison next week when the dust settles tonight.
Barneveld vs. Randolph
Randolph moved on again last night fueled by a 17 point effort from senior Kyle Kelm. On the flip side Barneveld delivered once again as they outlasted Monticello to get to the Sectional Final. Senior Logan Johnson fuels the Barneveld ship and he will need to turn in a major performance if Barneveld expects to get past a Randolph team has already been given the state championship by most. The best player on the court in this one is Kelm and in games like this it's always good to have that on your side. A loss by Randolph here is an upset, expect Kelm & Co. in Madison next week.
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.