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State Boys Basketball Tournament Preview

Monday, March 1, 2021

State Boys Basketball Tournament Preview

THE STATE TOURNAMENT:  The 105th Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Boys Basketball State Tournament will take place Thursday-Saturday, March 4-6, at the La Crosse Center in La Crosse and Friday-Saturday, March 5-6 at the Menominee Nation Arena in Oshkosh, Wis.

PURCHASING TICKETS:  Tickets for admission will first be offered to qualifying schools, beginning on Sunday, Feb. 28.  Unsold tickets will be offered to the general public beginning Wednesday, March 3 at 8 a.m. Codes for each specific game will be required to purchase tickets. Check the WIAA Boys Basketball Tournament webpage for codes and links once they are released. All general public ticket questions should be directed to Ticketmaster at 1-800-653-8000. Ticket price is $13 plus processing and service fees per session.

STATE TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE:  The single elimination tournament features a five-division format with four teams qualifying in each of the five divisions.

Thursday, March 4

Division 5 - La Crosse Center,  La Crosse, Wis.

Semifinals
#1 Hustisford (16-3) vs. #4 Wauzeka-Steuben (16-2) - 9:05 a.m.
#2 McDonell Catholic (16-4) vs. #3 Green Bay N.E.W. Lutheran/Providence (16-10) - 12:35 p.m.

Championship Game
Winner of Semifinals - 7:05 p.m.

Friday, March 5

Division 4 - La Crosse Center,  La Crosse, Wis.

Semifinals
#1 The Prairie School (23-3) vs. #4 Luther (19-1) - 9:05.m.
#2 Lourdes Academy (23-5) vs. #3 Edgar (23-2) - 12:25 p.m.

Championship Game
Winner of Semifinals - 6:35 p.m.

Division 3 - Menominee Nation Arena, Oshkosh, Wis.

Semifinals
#1 Racine St. Catherine’s (26-1) vs. #4 Wrightstown (24-4) - 10:45 a.m.
#2 Lake Country Lutheran (25-1) vs. #3 St. Croix Central (23-2) - 2:10 p.m.

Championship Game
Winner of Semifinals - 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 6

Division 2 - La Crosse Center,  La Crosse, Wis.

Semifinals
#1 Onalaska (18-0) vs. #4 Xavier (23-4) - 9:05 a.m.
#2 Pewaukee (25-3) vs. #3 Lake Mills (23-5) -12:25 p.m.

Championship Game
Winner of Semifinals - 6:35 p.m.

Division 1 - Menominee Nation Arena, Oshkosh, Wis.

Semifinals
#1 Kimberly (24-2) vs. #4 DeForest (16-5) - 10:45 a.m.      
#2 Wauwatosa East (21-3) vs. #3 River Falls (21-2) - 2:10 p.m.

Championship Game
Winner of Semifinals - 8:30 p.m.

STATE TOURNAMENT ON THE AIR:  The State Tournament will be televised live on WKOW-TV in Madison, WAOW-TV in Wausau, WXOW-TV in La Crosse, WQOW-TV in Eau Claire, WYOW-TV in Eagle River, WMOW-TV in Crandon, WMLW-TV in Milwaukee, KBJR-MY9 in Duluth/Superior and WCWF W-14 in Green Bay and the Fox Valley. The Wisconsin Division of Quincy Media, Inc., will produce the coverage. The championships will also be streamed on the statewide network station websites. Also, download the Magic of March app for live streaming video, scores, highlights and more about the WIAA State basketball tournaments. Live coverage of the tournaments on iOS or Android phones and tablets are also available on the app.

POST-GAME MEDIA CONFERENCES STREAMED:  The post-game media conferences will be shown live without subscription on the WIAA.tv portal of the NFHS Network immediately following each game. Register on the NFHS Network website prior to the media conference.

TOURNAMENT HISTORY:  The first WIAA State Boys Basketball Tournament was held in 1916. The Kohl Center has hosted the championships 22 years since moving from the UW Field House in 1998. The tournament featured a one-class format until 1934 when, for two years (1934-35), there were two classes. From 1936 until 1939, the  tournament increased to three classes, and then returned to the one class format in 1940. A one-class tourney prevailed until 1972 when it again became a two-class event. The tourney went to three classes again in 1974 and remained that way until a four-division format was adopted in 1991. The 2011 State Tournament introduced the first five-division format and qualifying four teams from each division. Randolph has won 10 State championships, the most titles won by any member school. Beloit and Dominican have won seven championships. Stevens Point has won six titles, and Milwaukee King, Milwaukee Vincent, Milwaukee Lincoln and Racine St. Catherine’s have each won five. There have been 126 different schools that have won championships. Neenah and Superior own the record for the most State Tournament appearances with 27, followed by Beloit with 26, and then Eau Claire with 25.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 1 FIELD:  Top-seeded Kimberly is making its 13th overall appearance and its first since 2007. The Papermakers have won two State championships. Those came back-to-back in Division 2 in 1994 and 1995. They captured the sectional title by rolling over Menomonee Falls with a 78-46 win in the final played at Kimberly. The Papermakers are the co-champions of the Fox Valley Association with Neenah this season. Second-seeded Wauwatosa East is making its 17th State appearance and its first since winning the championship in 2008. The Red Raiders also won the Class A championship in 1989 and were runners-up in 1991. In addition, Wauwatosa had a State title in 1948 and a runner-up finish in 1938 before the district split. The Red Raiders defeated Franklin 76-61 to win the sectional that culminated at East. They are the champions of the Greater Metro Conference this season. It’s been 16 years since River Falls, the #3 seed, last qualified for the State Tournament in 2005. The Wildcats are making their ninth appearance overall. Their first four appearances came in the 1920s, including three in a row from 1924-26, The final year of the run resulted in a runner-up finish. They are the champions of the Big Rivers Conference this year, and they advance to the State semifinals following a 53-52 win over De Pere in the sectional final at River Falls. The only experience fourth-seeded DeForest has at the State level came in 2012, which resulted in a loss in the Division 2 semifinals. The Norskies qualify for the first time in Division 1 after eliminating Arrowhead 77-69 in the sectional final played at DeForest. They are members of the North Division of the Badger Conference, which did not declare a league champion this season.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 2 FIELD:  Onalaska is the #1 seed in the bracket. The Hilltoppers are returning to State for the 10th time overall and for the first time since 2013. They have three State titles on their resume. They won the  Class A championship in 1988 and Division 2 titles in 1992 and 2012. They earned their berth this year with a convincing 49-23 victory over Rice Lake in the sectional final hosted by the Hilltoppers. They are the champions of the Mississippi Valley Conference this season. Pewaukee is the #2 seed after capturing the crown of the Woodland Conference during the regular season and advancing to the State semifinals with a 76-63 triumph over Wisconsin Lutheran in the sectional final hosted by the Pirates. They qualify for State for the second time. The only other State experience came in 2001 when the Pirates finished runner-up in Division 2. Third-seeded Lake Mills qualifies for the first time since its only other appearance in the State Tournament in 2017, which resulted in a loss in the Division 3 semifinals. The L-Cats are fresh off a tightly contested 56-55 road win over Monroe in the sectional final. The are the runners-up in the North Division of the Capitol Conference this season. Xavier is the fourth seed in its fifth appearance at State. The Hawks won the Division 3 championship in their last appearance in 2017. Prior to that, they settled for back-to-back runner-up finishes in 2015 and 2016, and lost in the semifinals in 2009. As a former member of WISAA, the Hawks won titles in 1963 and 1995, and finished runner-up on five other occasions. The Hawks are the champions in the Bay Conference this year. They defeated Seymour 78-61 in the sectional final played at Xavier.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 3 FIELD:  Top-seeded Racine St. Catherine’s returns to State for the seventh time and for the first time since 2011. The Angels had an impressive run of success with six appearances in seven years from 2005-11. During that span, they won five championships. They won three straight State championships from 2005-07. The first of those was in Division 2 with the second two in Division 3. The Angels then won back-to-back titles in Division 3 in 2009-10 and finished runner-up in 2011. The Angels were a perennial power in the now defunct WISAA. They won nine titles and finished runner-up 11 times. The championships came in 1958, 1959, 1961, 1969, 1971, 1977, 1985, 1992 and 1993. This season, the Angels finished first in the Metro Classic Conference. They advanced from the sectional with an 84-73 win over the Milwaukee Academy of Science in the final held at Shoreland Lutheran. Second-seeded Lake Country Lutheran is bound for State for the first time in program history. The Lightning are the champions in the Midwest Classic Conference this winter. They punched their ticket to Oshkosh with a high-scoring 94-68 win over St. John’s NW Military Academies in the sectional final conducted at Lake Country Lutheran. St. Croix Central will also experience the State Tournament for the first time after defeating Northwestern 80-57 in the sectional final hosted by the Panthers. They are the 2021 champions of the Middle Border Conference. Fourth-seeded Wrightstown is the third program in the bracket making its first-ever appearance at State. The Tigers earn their berth by edging Brillion 55-54 in the final of the sectional played at Wrightstown. The Tigers tied Freedom for the championship of the North Eastern Conference this season.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 4 FIELD:  The Prairie School has been issued the top seed in the bracket. It’s the first time the Hawks have qualified for the State Tournament. They placed second behind Division 3 State qualifier Racine St. Catherine’s in the Metro Classic Conference during the regular season and have advanced to the semifinals with an 82-77 win over Cuba City in the sectional final played at Cuba City. Lourdes Academy, the second seed, will appear in its fifth State Tournament and its first since finishing runner-up in the last tournament conducted in 2019. The Knights also finished runner-up in the first of consecutive appearances in 2005. They gained their State berth this season by downing Sheboygan Lutheran 85-66 in the final held in Sheboygan. They finished atop the standings in the East Division of the Trailways Conference this season. Lourdes won one title as a former member of WISAA, winning the Division 2 crown in 1999. Edgar is the third seed. The Wildcats embark on their fifth trip to State and the first in 24 years. The most notable experiences were a Division 4 championship in 1997 and a runner-up finish in Class C in 1980. They notched a 74-60 win over Clear Lake in the sectional final held at Edgar. The Wildcats are the champions in the South Division of the Marawood Conference in 2021. Like the Prairie School, fourth-seeded Luther will also be experiencing State for the first time. The Knights defeated Blair-Taylor 46-44 in the sectional final played in Onalaska. They finished in a first-place tie with West Salem in the Coulee Conference this season.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 5 FIELD: Top-seeded Hustisford is making its first-ever appearance in the State Tournament. The Falcons rolled to a 70-43 victory over Monticello in the sectional final played at Monticello to earn their first experience at State. They are runners-up in the East Division of the Trailways Conference behind Division 4 qualifier Lourdes Academy this season. Second-seeded McDonell Catholic will appear at State for the fourth straight tournament and for the sixth time overall. They won the State championship in 2016 in their first appearance in the title game. They earned their tourney berth this season with a 63-51 win over Turtle Lake in the sectional final held at McDonell Catholic. The Macks finished third in the West Division of the Cloverbelt Conference this season.  Green Bay N.E.W. Lutheran/Providence, the third seed, makes its first appearance in the State Tournament. Green Bay N.E.W. Lutheran as a stand-alone program, made seven appearances with the most recent coming in 2018. The Blazers finished as the State runners-up three times. They had back-to-back second-place finishes in 2013-14 and another in Division 4 in 2010. This season, they finished fifth in the Packerland Conference and breezed past Gresham 84-66 in the final hosted by the Blazers to continue their quest for their first State title. Fourth-seeded Wauzeka-Steuben will be making its second appearance in the State Tournament. The only other experience for the Hornets came in 2011, which resulted in a loss in the semifinals. They return to State for the first time in a decade by topping Royall 46-41 in the sectional final held at Wauzeka-Steuben. They are champions of the Ridge & Valley Conference this year.

THREE-POINT CHALLENGE CANCELED:  The WIAA canceled the 3-Point Challenge it has conducted in recent years because of the accommodations for mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

 NEED TEAM QUALIFIERS INFORMATION?:  All the rosters, statistics, probable starters and results of the qualifying boys teams are available on the media restricted area of the WIAA website.

NEED RESULTS?:  The quickest way to get results will be to access the WIAA website wiaawi.org and choose the Tournament Information link on the home page or the boys basketball home page. 

STATE SOUVENIR PROGRAMS ONLINE:  The souvenir programs for the 2021 winter State culminating events are available online and available to download and print at no cost. The State Boys Basketball Tournament program with rosters of qualifying teams, history, records and schedule information can be accessed the afternoon of Tuesday, March 2 at: https://www.wiaawi.org/Portals/0/PDF/Publications/Programs/2021boysbasketball.pdf.

ORDER STATE TOURNAMENT APPAREL: WIAA licensed apparel is available online for the 2021 State Boys Basketball Tournament. To browse and purchase branded merchandise, visit the WIAA Store at: https://wiaastatebb21.itemorder.com/sale. Online purchases will be shipped after the online store closes on Wednesday, March 10 prior to midnight.

FOLLOW STATE TOURNEY ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Receive updates of the State Boys Basketball Tournament on the WIAA State Tournament Twitter account @wiaawistate with the hashtag #wiaabb, and also like us on Facebook. 

BELLIN ATHLETIC TRAINING:  Bellin Health Sports Medicine is the exclusive provider of licensed athletic training services for the State Boys Basketball Tournament at the Menominee Nation Arena in Oshkosh, Wis. “Bellin Health Titletown Sports Medicine & Orthopedics is proud to provide an elite group of Athletic Trainers and Physicians to cover the WIAA State Girls and Boys Basketball tournament,” said Mark Husen, Bellin Team Facilitator of Athletic Training Services. “We have had a long standing relationship with the WIAA and ultimately want the best in safety as well as enjoyable experience for all of the participants, coaches and fans.”

MAYO CLINIC ATHLETIC TRAINING:  Members of Mayo Clinic Health System’s Sports Medicine team in Southwest Wisconsin will be providing medical coverage at both girls and boys WIAA’s state high school basketball tournaments to be held at the La Crosse Center. “We are very excited for this opportunity to work with the WIAA and support the talented high school athletes from around the state of Wisconsin,” said Jacob Erickson, D.O., sports medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Health System.

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