State Boys Basketball Tournament Preview


State Boys Basketball Tournament Preview

Monday, March 18, 2019

State Boys Basketball Tournament Preview

STEVENS POINT, Wis. –  The 104th Annual Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Boys Basketball State Tournament will take place Thursday-Saturday, March 14-16, at the Kohl Center on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis. 

HOW TO GET TICKETS: Ticket prices for the tourney are $10 per session (two games in a session) for all seating purchased at the Kohl Center. Ticket windows are available one hour prior to the start of any session. Tickets are available online on the WIAA website for $12. All online tickets are print at home or available at the Will-Call window.

GATE SECURITY PROCEDURES:  Everyone entering the Kohl Center is subject to pass through metal detectors. Fans and media are encouraged to arrive early to avoid missing the start of each session. 

STATE TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE:  The single elimination tournament features a five division format with four teams qualifying in each of the five divisions. This is the first year the State tournament is seeded. The coaches of the qualifying teams in each division determined the seeds.

Thursday, March 14
Division 3*
#1 Martin Luther (23-3) vs. #4  Northwestern (21-5) - 1:35 p.m.
#2 Waupun (25-1) vs. #3 Denmark (22-4) 

Division 4*
#1 Roncalli (26-0) vs. #4 New Glarus (24-2) - 6:35 p.m.
#2 Lourdes Academy (25-1) vs. #3 Osseo-Fairchild (24-2)

Friday, March 15
Division 5*
#1 Sheboygan Lutheran (25-2) vs. #4 McDonell Catholic (18-9) - 9:05 a.m.
#2 Columbus Catholic (25-2) vs. #3 Bangor (25-1) 

Division 2*
#1 Nicolet (25-1) vs. #4 Elkhorn (23-3) - 1:35 p.m.
#2 Milwaukee Washington (21-5) vs. #3 La Crosse Central (24-2)

Division 1*
#1 Brookfield Central (21-5) vs. #4 Neenah (19-7) - 6:35 p.m.
#2 West Allis Central (22-3) vs. #3 Sun Prairie (20-6) 

Saturday, March 16
3-Point Challenge - 9:30 a.m.
Division 5 Championship Game - 11:05 a.m.
Division 4 Championship Game*
Division 3 Championship Game*
Division 2 Championship Game - 6:35 p.m.
Division 1 Championship Game*

*Note: Subsequent games of each session will begin approximately 15 minutes following the previous game.

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 your source for live streaming video, scores, highlights and more about the WIAA State Boys Basketball Tournament on iOS or Android phones and tablets.

3-POINT CHALLENGE STREAMED LIVE:  The 3-Point Challenge will be streamed live on the NFHS Network Saturday at 9:30 a.m. To watch the competition, register and subscribe to the NFHS Network. To purchase a subscription to the live programming for only $9.95 per month, log-on to or and click on the subscription image in the middle of the page. Archived streams of the events will be available on demand on the NFHS Network 72 hours after the tournament without requirement of a subscription. 

POST-GAME MEDIA CONFERENCES STREAMED:  The post-game media conferences will be shown live on the portal of the NFHS Network immediately following each game.

TOURNAMENT HISTORY:  The first WIAA State Boys Basketball Tournament was held in 1916. This will be the 22nd year the Kohl Center has hosted the championships 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 122 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 Brookfield Central is making its 11th overall appearance and its second in the past three seasons. The Lancers’ furthest advance in the tournament has been to the semifinals in 2000, 2002, 2008 when the tourney featured eight teams and again in 2017. They finished runner-up in the Greater Metro Conference standings behind Hamilton this season and are the champions of the Oconomowoc Sectional following a 69-62 overtime victory over Hamilton in the final. West Allis Central, the second seed, qualifies for the third time and for the first time since 2015. The Bulldogs only other appearance came in 1947. They have advanced to the State semifinals in each of those two previous seasons before being ousted from title contention. This year, the Bulldogs finished atop the standings in the West Division of the Woodland  Conference. Their tournament run to State came through the Waukesha South Sectional. They defeated Waukesha West 78-72 in double overtime in the final.  Third-seeded Sun Prairie advances to the State Tournament for the second straight season after making its first-ever appearance last season. They defeated Madison La Follette 66-53 in the sectional final played at Waunakee to advance to the State semifinals for the second year in a row. The Cardinals placed fourth in the Big Eight Conference this season. Fourth-seeded Neenah qualifies for the first time since 2014 and for the 27th time in the school’s history, which ties for most appearances among all members. The Rockets have won three championships. Those came in 1930, 1975 and 1978. In addition, they have an abundance of runner-up results, including 1920, 1939, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1988 and 2014. They finished third in the Fox Valley Association this season, and they advanced from the Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln Sectional with a 68-66 victory over Hudson in the final. 

ABOUT THE DIVISION 2 FIELD: Top-seeded Nicolet returns to the State Tournament for the first time since 1993 and for the third time in the program’s history. The only other previous appearance was back in 1969. The Knights lost in the semifinals that season and in the quarterfinals in 1993. They defeated last year’s champion Kaukauna 57-44 in the  Watertown Sectional final to advance to the tourney field. The Knights are the champions in the North Shore Conference this season. Last year’s runner-up and second-seeded Milwaukee Washington qualifies for the State Tournament for the third consecutive season and for the 14th time overall. The Purgolders have won four State championships, gaining possession of the gold ball in 1985, 1987, 1990 and 1993. They have also finished runner-up on three occasions, including 1997, 2000 and again last year. This season, they are the champions of the Milwaukee City Conference. The Purgolders have advanced out of the Milwaukee Lutheran Sectional following a 87-66 triumph over Milwaukee Bay View in the final. La Crosse Central, the third seed, returns to the field for the fourth straight season and for the 18th time overall. Their earliest experiences in the State Tournament date back to the 1920s. They made nine consecutive appearances from 1920-28. That string of experiences produced a State title in 1925. The Red Raiders added their second championship with a title in Division 2 in 2017. Another notable finish came in 1979 when the Red Raiders placed runner-up in Division 1. They are the champions of the Mississippi Valley Conference this season, and they continue their chance to win a second title in the past three seasons with a 81-55 win over Merrill in the Wausau East Sectional final. Elkhorn is the fourth seed. The Elks return to the tournament field for the first time since 1987 and for the fifth time overall. They won back-to-back Class B championships in 1978 and 1979, and finished runner-up in 1980. The Elks edged Mount Horeb 60-58 in the Janesville Craig Sectional final to return to Madison for the first time in 32 seasons. They finished runner-up to Westosha Central in the Southern Lakes Conference this year.
ABOUT THE DIVISION 3 FIELD:  Top-seeded Martin Luther will make its first State Tournament appearance after trouncing Turner 76-41 in the final of the Evansville Sectional. The Spartans are the co-champions of the Metro Classic Conference this season with Racine St. Catherine’s. Waupun, the #2 seed, returns to the State Tournament for the first time since 2016 when it captured the Division 3 championship and for the third time in program history. The Warriors’ first experience in the State Tournament ended in a loss in the quarterfinals when there was a single class system. Their return to the tourney field comes following their 64-58 win over Brookfield Academy in the Brown Deer Sectional final. The Warriors are the champions of the East Central Conference this season. Third-seeded Denmark won the  Class B championship the last time it qualified for the State Tournament in 1985. Overall, the Vikings are making their fourth appearance. The first two appearances were in 1938 and 1939. They qualify this season following their 46-41 victory over Freedom in the Appleton North Sectional final. The Viking shared the title in the North Eastern Conference this year with Freedom and Wrightstown. Fourth-seeded Northwestern is making its first State appearance since the second year of two straight tournament appearances in 2009 and 2010, which   resulted in a runner-up finish in Division 2. It’s the Tigers’ fourth experience overall. They won the Heart O’North Conference title this year, and they went into overtime to defeat Wisconsin Dells 75-68 in the Marshfield Sectional final to earn their return to Madison. 

ABOUT THE DIVISION 4 FIELD:  Defending champion and top-seeded Roncalli is making its third straight appearance and its eighth overall. The six other prior appearances resulted in losses in the semifinals. The Jets return to the tournament field following an 81-53 win over the Milwaukee Academy of Science in the Sheboygan North Sectional final. They are the 2019 champions in the Eastern Wisconsin Conference. Lourdes Academy, the second seed, will appear in its fourth State Tournament and its first since 2012. The Knights finished runner-up in the first of consecutive appearances in 2005. They gained their State berth this season by edging Marathon 72-71 in the Neillsville Sectional final. 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. Third-seeded Osseo-Fairchild is back at State for the fifth time and for the first time since 1992. The Thunder is still seeking its first win at the State Tournament, falling in the first round in each of their previous appearances. The Thunder’s return to the final field of four teams comes virtue of its 80-73 victory over Clear Lake in the Hudson Sectional final. Osseo-Fairchild is the champion in the West Division of the Cloverbelt Conference this season. Fourth-seeded New Glarus is celebrating its return to State for the first time since 1932 and the Glarner Knights’ fourth experience overall. Their furthest advance in the tournament was to the quarterfinal when the tournament featured a single class in 1925 and 1932. This season, they rolled past Belleville 65-40 in the final of the Middleton Sectional to advance to the State semifinals. They are the champions of the South Division of the Capitol Conference this year.  

ABOUT THE DIVISION 5 FIELD:  Sheboygan Lutheran, the #1 seed, advances to the State Tournament for the third time and for the first time since 2014. The Crusaders won the Division 5 championship in 2012. This season’s path to the State Tournament came through the West Bend East Sectional following an 83-69 win over Rio in the final. They were the tri-champions in the Big East Conference this season with Howards Grove and Oostburg.  Second-seeded Columbus Catholic will be making its third State appearance and its second in the past three seasons. The Dons have lost in the semifinals in each of their two previous experiences. They are the champions of the East Division of the Cloverbelt Conference this year.   They notched a 79-69 victory over Green Bay N.E.W. Lutheran to earn their return to Madison. Defending champion and third-seeded Bangor is a State qualifier for the third time. The Cardinals’ first State experience came in 1936. This year, they advance to the State Tournament in defense of their title following a convincing 70-60 win over Southwestern in the La Crosse Logan Sectional final. They are the champions of the Scenic Bluffs Conference this winter. Last year’s runner-up McDonell Central Catholic is the fourth seed. The Macks will appear at State for the fourth straight season and for the fifth time overall. They won the State championship in 2016 in their first appearance in the title game. They earned their fourth consecutive tourney berth with a 65-56 win over Luck in the Chippewa Falls Sectional final. The Macks finished runner-up to Division 4 qualifier Osseo-Fairchild in the West Division of the Cloverbelt Conference this season. 

THREE-POINT CHALLENGE: The WIAA will conduct the fourth 3-Point Challenge prior to Saturday’s championship games. The event will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Kohl Center. A ticket for the Divisions 3, 4 and 5 championship games session is required for admittance into the event. The top two players per division were selected for the contest based on the best 3-point field goal percentage with a minimum of 75 attempts during the regular season. The contestants representing Division 1 are sophomore Will Dehn of De Pere and senior Adam Willoughby of Stevens Point. Representing Division 2 are seniors Casey Kowalski of Mosinee and Ryan LaCerte of Wausau East. The Division 3 participants are seniors Micah Kieselhorst of Luther Prep and Hunter Auchtung of Ripon. Division 4 will be represented by junior Trey Zastrow of Manitowoc Lutheran and senior Austin Edwards of Phillips; and the Division 5 contestants are sophomore Nick Higley of Eleva-Strum and senior Jack Roberts of Randolph. Visit the information on the WIAA website for more details on the 3-Point Challenge.

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

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. Also like us on Facebook,  follow us on Instagram at wiaawi, and add us on Snapchat at wiaawis.


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