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Monday, March 17, 2014

State Girls Basketball Tournament Preview

THE STATE TOURNAMENT:  The 39th Annual Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Girls Basketball State Championships will take place Thursday-Saturday, March 20-22, at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wis. This is the second time the girls basketball State Tournament will be conducted in Green Bay. 

PURCHASING TICKETS:  Ticket price for the tourney is $10 per session when purchased at the Resch Center. Tickets for the tournament will also be available for purchase online at the Ticket Star website:   www.ticketstaronline.com.  All-session, as well as individual session tickets are available for purchase online for $12 per session. A link is also provided on the WIAA website:  www.wiaawi.org. Call Ticket Star at 1-800-895-0071. 

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

Thursday, March 20
Time Div. Pairings 
1:35 p.m.  5 Assumption (25-2) vs. Heritage Christian (20-4)
 5 Owen-Withee (22-5) vs. Barneveld (26-0)*
6:35 p.m.   4 Algoma (24-2) vs. St. Mary’s Springs (22-3)
 4     Regis (21-5) vs. Cuba City (25-1)*

Friday, March 21
Time Div. Pairings
9:05 a.m.   3 Oconto Falls (22-3) vs. Kettle Moraine Lutheran (25-1)
  3 Neillsville (26-0) vs. Brodhead (26-0)*
1:35 p.m.   2 Notre Dame (25-1) vs. Pius XI (24-2)
  2 La Crosse Central (21-5) vs. DeForest (25-1) * 
6:35 p.m.   1 Kimberly (26-0) vs. Oak Creek (24-2)
  1 Superior (23-3) vs. Mukwonago (20-6)*

Saturday, March 22
Time Div.  Pairings
11:05 p.m.   5 Division 5 Championship Game
   4 Division 4 Championship Game*
   3 Division 3 Championship Game*
6:35 p.m.    2 Division 2 Championship Game
   1 Division 1 Championship Game*

*Note: Subsequent games of each session will begin approximately 25 minutes following the previous game.

STATE TOURNAMENT ON THE AIR:  The State Tournament will be televised live on WKOW-TV channel 27 in Madison, WAOW-TV channel 9 in Wausau, WXOW-TV channel 19 in La Crosse, WQOW-TV channel 18 in Eau Claire, WYOW-TV channel 34 in Eagle River, WMOW-TV 4 in Crandon, WMLW-TV channel 41 in Milwaukee, KBJR-TV digital channel 6.2 in Duluth/Superior and WACY-TV channel 32 in Green Bay and the Fox Valley. The Wisconsin Division of Quincy Newspapers, Inc., will produce the coverage. The championships will also be streamed on the statewide network station websites.

POST-GAME MEDIA CONFERENCES ON WIAA.TV:  The post-game media conferences will be shown live on WIAA.tv immediately following each game.

TEAM TOURNAMENT HISTORY:  The first WIAA State Girls Basketball Championship Tournament was held in 1976. The tournament was held at the UW Field House from 1976-97 and also in 1999, 2000 and 2002. The championships were held in the Kohl Center in 1998, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2010-12, and at the Alliant Energy Center in 2004 and 2006-09. The current site of the tournament, the Resch Center in Green Bay, became the home of the tournament in 2013. The tournament featured a three-class format until 1991, when a four-division format was adopted. In 2011, a fifth division was added. Cuba City has won the most State titles over the years with nine. Milwaukee Washington has won five, and Barneveld, Fall Creek, Flambeau and Kimberly have won four. There have been 80 different schools that have won championships. Cuba City has the distinction of having qualified for the most State Tournaments with 15, including this year. Janesville Parker has participated 12 times. Durand, Fall Creek, Kimberly Milwaukee Washington, Newman Catholic and Oostburg have qualified 10 times.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 1 FIELD:   Last season’s runner-up Mukwonago is making its seventh appearance at State. Prior to last year, the Indians’ most notable result from the previous experiences was making it to the semifinals in 1979.   The Indians earned a return trip to Green Bay with a 49-30 win over Madison West in the Sun Prairie Sectional final. They finished runner-up to Arrowhead in the Classic 8 Conference this season. Kimberly qualifies for the State Tournament for the 10th time and for the first time since 1998. The Papermakers made five appearances in the 1980s and four in the 1990s. They have won four State titles. They won the Class A championship in 1987 and the Class B title in 1989. They added Division 2 titles in 1996 and 1998. The Papermakers also finished runner-up in Class A in 1982 and in Division 2 in 1997. They are the champions of the Fox Valley Association this season, and they are the representatives from the Sheboygan North Sectional with a 42-40 win over Arrowhead in the final. Oak Creek returns to the tournament field for the first time since 2008. The Knights had a string of three straight appearances from 1982-84, which produced a runner-up finish in 1983. They are the champions of the Southeastern Conference this season, and they advance to the State semifinals from the West Allis Central Sectional after defeating Brookfield Central 46-25 in the final. Superior is making its second straight State appearance and its third overall. The school’s first experience at State came in 1995. The Spartans earned their return to the Resch Center with an 82-69 win over Neenah in the Stevens Point Sectional final. They finished on top of the Lake Superior Conference standings again this season.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 2 FIELD:  Defending champion Notre Dame is back in the tournament for the third straight season and for the sixth time overall. The Tritons also won the State title in their first-ever appearance in 2001 and added a runner-up finish in 2005. Prior to joining the WIAA, the Tritons were the Division 1 runners-up in 1994 as a former member of WISAA. This season, they finished second in the Fox River Classic Conference standings behind Sheboygan North and have advanced to the semifinals through the Sheboygan South Sectional with a 64-46 win over Cedarburg in the final. Pius XI is making its fourth appearance at State and its first since 2011. The Lady Popes won the Division 1 championship in 2010. They are the champions in the West Division of the Woodland Conference this season. They won the Brookfield Central Sectional by defeating New Berlin Eisenhower 35-20 in the final. They were a perennial power during its membership in WISAA. They won 18 championships and finished runner-up once. They have 12 straight championships from 1982-1993 and four straight from 1997-2000. La Crosse Central is back in the State Tournament for the first time since the second of back-to-back Division 1 runner-up finishes in 1995. It is the fourth appearance overall for the Red Raiders, who finished second in the Mississippi Valley Conference standings this season. They are the representatives out of the Marshfield Sectional with a 33-28 overtime triumph over New London in the final. DeForest also makes its fourth appearance and its first since the second of back-to-back experiences in 2006. All three of the previous appearances have come in Division 1. The Norskies’ furthest advance was to the semifinals in 2005. This season, they defeated Wilmot Union 65-30 in the final of the Janesville Craig Sectional to return to the tournament. The Norskies were the champions in the Northern Division of the Badger Conference this season.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 3 FIELD:  Neillsville makes its third consecutive State appearance and its fifth overall. The Warriors moved up to Division 3 last season after winning the Division 4 championship in 2012. They qualified in Division 2 in 2007 after qualifying for the first time in 2006 as a Division 3 program. They are the champions of the Eastern Division of the Cloverbelt Conference this season. The path for their return trip to State came through the River Falls Sectional, which culminated with 31-30 win over Hayward. The three other teams in the Division 3 field are making their first appearance at State. Brodhead gets to experience the State Tournament atmosphere for the first time after beating Adams-Friendship 36-25 in the final of the Middleton Sectional final. The Cardinals are the champions in the South Division of the Rock Valley Conference. Kettle Moraine Lutheran thumped Oostburg 66-34 in the Whitefish Bay Sectional to gain its initial berth in the tournament field. The Chargers are the champions of the Wisconsin Flyway Conference. Prior to joining the WIAA, the Chargers won a WISAA Class B championship in 1990 and have finished runner-up on four other occasions. Oconto Falls’ first appearance comes virtue of its 30-28 victory over Two Rivers in the Ashwaubenon Sectional final. The Panthers finished tied for second place behind New London in the Bay Conference standings this season.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 4 FIELD:  Defending champion Algoma returns to State for the third time in the last four seasons and for the eighth time overall. The Wolves also won the Class B title in 1981 and the Class C championship in 1986. In addition, they took home the silver ball in 1985 and 2011. They are the defending champions of the Packerland Conference this season, and they defeated Auburndale 48-40 to win the Waupaca Sectional title.  Cuba City returns to the Resch Center for the second straight season and is making its membership-leading 15th appearance in the State Tournament. The Cubans have won more State titles than any other program with nine, winning championships in 1977, 1980, 1990, 1991, 1993, 2005, 2006, 2007 and again in 2010. They also have a runner-up finish in 2009. They won the Southwest Wisconsin Activities League title again this season and advanced to State through the DeForest Sectional with a 58-43 win over Luther in the final. Regis is appearing at State for the fifth time and for the first time since the second of the back-to-back appearances in 2012. The Lady Ramblers also tallied back-to-back experiences in 2003-04. They have won a pair of State championships. The first came in 2003 with the second coming in 2011. They finished second in the Western Division of the Cloverbelt Conference this season behind Fall Creek. The Lady Ramblers defeated Cameron 69-53 in the Chippewa Falls Sectional final. Regis also had a history of success in the WISAA tournament before that association dissolved. Regis won back-to-back titles in 1986, 1992 and 1993, and was runner-up in 1995 and 1991. St. Mary’s Springs will experience the State Tournament for the first time. The Ledgers earned their initial appearance by downing Dominican 55-46 in the Oconomowoc Sectional final. They finished second in the Wisconsin Flyway Conference behind Kettle Moraine Lutheran, which has qualified for the tournament in Division 3.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 5 FIELD:  Defending champion Assumption will experience the State Tournament for the third time. The Royals’ first appearance came in 2005, which ended with a defeat in the semifinals. They are the champions in the South Division of the Marawood Conference this season. Their quest to defend their crown has proceeded through the D.C. Everest Sectional with a 58-34 win over Goodman/Pembine in the final. Last year’s runner-up Barneveld qualifies for the State Tournament for the second consecutive season and for the ninth time overall. The Golden Eagles have won four State titles, capturing the crown in 1995, 1998, 1999 and 2005. In addition, they have runner-up finishes in 2005, 2007 and 2013. They are the defending champions in the Eastern Division of the Six Rivers Conference. The Golden Eagles rolled over Gilmanton 69-31 in the final of the La Crosse Logan Sectional to earn their return to the Resch Center. Owen-Withee makes its ninth tournament appearance and its first since 2012. The Blackhawks most notable outcomes at State have been runner-up finishes in 1988, 2003, 2005 and 2012. They finished second in the East Division of the Cloverbelt Conference this season behind Division 3 qualifier Neillsville. The Blackhawks defeated South Shore 51-48 in the Spooner Sectional final. The only other experience in the State Tournament for Heritage Christian resulted in a State championship in 2012. They return to State for another run at a title following a 39-34 win over Randolph in the Watertown Sectional final. The Lady Patriots tied for the Midwest Classic Conference championship with Lake Country Lutheran. 

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

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