State Boys Basketball Tournament Preview

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State Boys Basketball Tournament Preview

Monday, March 13, 2023

State Boys Basketball Tournament Preview

THE STATE TOURNAMENT:  The 107th Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Boys Basketball State Tournament will take place Thursday-Saturday, March 16-18, at the Kohl Center on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis.

HOWTOGETTICKETS: Ticket prices for the tourney are $13.50 per session for all seating at the Kohl Center. Order tickets online by selecting the “Tickets” option at the top of the WIAA homepage or the Tickets page at:

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 by a WIAA-designed computer formula.

Thursday, March 16
Division 3
#1 West Salem (27-1) vs. #4 Milwaukee Academy of Science (18-6) - 1:35 p.m.
#2 Brillion (27-1) vs. #3 Lakeside Lutheran (25-3)* 

Division 4
#1 St. Mary Catholic (26-2) vs. #4 Kenosha St. Joseph (18-10) - 6:35 p.m.
#2 Luther (26-2) vs. #3 Whitehall (22-6)*

Friday, March 17
Division 5
#1 Newman Catholic (25-4) vs. #4 Royall (22-7) - 9:05 a.m.
#2 McDonell Catholic (28-1) vs. #3 Fall River (26-3)*

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

Division 1
#1 De Pere (28-0) vs. #4 Kettle Moraine (18-10) - 6:35 p.m.
#2 Arrowhead (26-2) vs. #3 Neenah (18-10)*

Saturday, March 18
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 and WCWF W-14 in Green Bay and the Fox Valley. The Wisconsin Division of Allen 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 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 since moving from the UW Field House in 1998. During the COVID-19 pandemic the tournament was canceled in 2020 and held at two separate locations in 2021, the La Crosse Center for Divisions 2, 4, and 5, and at the Menominee Nation Arena in Oshkosh for Divisions 1 and 3. 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 11 State championships, the most titles won by any member school. Beloit and Dominican have won seven championships. Racine St. Catherine’s and Stevens Point have won six titles, and Milwaukee King, Milwaukee Vincent and Milwaukee Lincoln have each won five. There have been 130 different schools that have won championships. Neenah has qualified for the most State Tournaments with 29, and Superior is next with 27, followed by Beloit with 26, and then Eau Claire with 25.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 1 FIELD:  De Pere received the top seed in the bracket by the computer formula. The Redbirds make it back to the State Tournament field for the first time since finishing runner-up in 2011 and for the seventh time overall. They won the Class B State title in 1934. De Pere returns to Madison this season following a 57-29 win over Marquette in the final of the Manitowoc Lincoln Sectional. They are the champions of the Fox River Valley Conference this season. Second-seeded Arrowhead is making its fifth State appearance overall and the first since 2017 when the Warhawks finished runner-up. They won the title in 2010 to account for their one championship. This season, the Warhawks defeated Milwaukee Hamilton 93-72 in the final of the sectional held at Kettle Moraine to earn their berth in the tourney. They are the champions in the Classic Eight Conference this season. Defending champion Neenah was issued the third seed. The Rockets qualify for the membership-leading 29th time in the school’s history and they have won four championships. Those came in 1930, 1975, 1978 and again last season. In addition, they have an abundance of runner-up results, including 1920, 1939, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1988 and 2014. The Rockets finished fourth in the Fox Valley Association this season, and they advance to the final four in the bracket following a 93-65 victory over Superior in the Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln Sectional final.  It’s the first time fourth-seeded Kettle Moraine has advanced to the State Tournament in the program’s history.  The Lasers earned their first trip to Madison with a 63-53 win over Franklin in the Oconomowoc Sectional final. They placed fourth in the Classic Eight Conference, which was won by Arrowhead, the #2 seed in the bracket.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 2 FIELD:  Two-time defending champion Pewaukee was issued the top seed in the bracket. The Pirates are making their third straight appearance and their fourth overall. In addition to the championship the past two seasons, they finished runner-up in Division 2 back in 2001. This season, the Pirates are the champions in the West Division of the Woodland Conference. They continue their quest for a third straight title after downing Wisconsin Lutheran 64-50 in the Milwaukee South Sectional final. Second-seeded La Crosse Central returns to the tournament field for the second straight season and for the 20th time overall.  A run of four State experiences from 2016-19 produced a State title in 2017. Prior to that, the Riverhawks’ history in the State Tournament dates back to the 1920s, which produced a State title in 1925. Another notable finish came in 1979 when the Riverhawks placed runner-up in Division 1. They are the co-champions of the Mississippi Valley Conference this season with Onalaska, and they advanced to the State semifinals with a 48-44 victory over New London in the Marshfield Sectional final. Third-seeded Whitnall is back in the State Tournament for the fifth time and for the first time since 2016. The Falcons’ most notable experience from the four prior appearances at State was winning the Class B crown in 1988. This year, they were the champions in the East Division of the Woodland Conference. They earned their return to the tournament field following a 69-66 win over McFarland in the Elkhorn Sectional final. Nicolet, the fourth seed, returns to the State Tournament for the first time since earning the gold trophy in 2019 and for the fourth time in the program’s history. The Knights defeated West De Pere 66-59 in the Menasha Sectional final to advance to the tourney field. They were runners-up to Homestead in the North Shore Conference standings this season.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 3 FIELD:  Last year’s runner-up West Salem, the #1 seed in the bracket, returns to State after appearing in the tournament for the first time last season. The Panthers earned a return trip to the Kohl Center after a 68-46 win versus Osceola in the Osseo-Fairchild Sectional final. During the regular season, the Panthers won the title in the Coulee Conference. Second-seeded Brillion qualifies for the State Tournament for the second year in a row and for the fifth time overall. The crowning achievement for the Lions in their previous three appearances was winning the Division 3 championship in 2012. They earned their berth this season by defeating Xavier 77-73 in the Oshkosh North Sectional final. Brillion is the champion in the Eastern Wisconsin Conference this year. Third-seeded Lakeside Lutheran returns to State for the first time since its only other appearance in 2011, which resulted in a loss in the semifinals. The Warriors were tri-champions of the North Division in the Capitol Conference this year with Columbus and Lake Mills. They advance to the State semifinals after beating Edgewood 68-65 in the Oregon Sectional final. Last season’s runner-up in Division 4 Milwaukee Academy of Science moves up a division this season after falling in the semifinals in Division 4 in 2022. The Novas were issued the fourth seed. They will be experiencing State for the second time after defeating St. Thomas More 86-80 in the sectional final played at Waukesha South. They are an independent program without a conference affiliation.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 4 FIELD:  St. Mary Catholic has been issued the top seed in the bracket. The Zephyrs will be experiencing State for first time since their only other appearance in 2009, which resulted in a loss in the semifinals. They defeated Auburndale 75-70 in the sectional final played at Appleton East. They finished second in the North Division of the Big East Conference this season behind Howards Grove. Second-seeded Luther returns to the State Tournament for the second time in three seasons. The Knights fell in the semifinals in their first experience at State in 2021. They defeated Belleville 88-73 in the sectional final played in Baraboo. They finished in second place behind West Salem, the top seed in the Division 3 bracket, in the Coulee Conference this season. Third-seeded Whitehall will be appearing at State for the third time overall and for the first time since 1986 when the Norse finished runner-up in Class C. Their only other experience at State came back in 1928, which resulted in a loss in the opening round. They beat Cameron 66-62 in the Neillsville Sectional finals to advance to this year’s semifinals after earning the championship in the Large Division of the Dairyland Conference this season. Kenosha St. Joseph Catholic is the fourth seed in the bracket. The Lancers are back at State for first time in 20 years. They qualified in 2003, which resulted in a loss in the semifinals in Division 3 as did their first-ever appearance in 2001. The Lancers defeated Kohler 77-68 in the Whitefish Bay Sectional final to qualify this season after placing fifth in the Metro Classic Conference this year. As a former member of WISAA, the Lancers were back-to-back runners-up in Class A in 1988 and 1989, and a Division 2 runner-up in 2000.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 5 FIELD:  Top-seeded Newman Catholic will be experiencing the State Tournament for the first time following the Fighting Cardinals’ 66-54 win over Gibraltar in the Seymour Sectional final. They are the runners-up to Marathon in the South Division of the Marawood Conference this season. Prior to joining the WIAA, the Fighting Cardinals recorded runner-up finishes in Division 3 in 1993 and in Division 2 in 1999 as a former member of WISAA. Second-seeded McDonell Catholic will appear at State for the sixth time in the last seven seasons, not including 2020 when the tournament was canceled because of COVID-19. It’s the seventh appearance for the Macks overall. They won the State championship in 2016 and finished runner-up in their most recent appearance in 2021 and in 2018. They earned their tourney berth this season with a 58-56 win over Solon Springs in the sectional final held at Amery. The Macks are the champions in the Western Division of the Cloverbelt Conference this season. Fall River, the #3 seed in the bracket, makes its second appearance at State. The Pirates lost their Division 4 semifinal match-up in their first appearance in 2000. They outlasted Heritage Christian with an 82-75 overtime win in the Watertown Sectional final to advance to the State semifinal round. The Pirates are the champions in the West Division of the Trailways Conference. Fourth-seeded Royall returns to State for the first since the Panthers’ only other appearance in 2010, which resulted in a loss in the Division 4 semifinals. They posted a 58-40 victory over Wauzeka-Steuben in the sectional final played at Wisconsin Dells to earn their trip to the Kohl Center. The Panthers finished third in the Scenic Bluffs Conference this season.

THREE-POINT CHALLENGE: The 3-Point Challenge will be held 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. 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 Mason Debbink of Sheboygan North and Anthony Rise of Brookfield Central. Representing Division 2 are Kon Knueppel of Wisconsin Lutheran and Derek Shaw of Pulaski. The Division 3 participants are Drew Kortz of Freedom and Ben Vasold of Watertown Luther Prep. Division 4 will be represented by Logan Alberson of Ladysmith and Vaughn Johnson of Cumberland; and the Division 5 contestants are Blake Jakobi of Columbus Catholic and William Kelley of Florence. Visit the information on the WIAA website for more details on the 3-Point Challenge.

POST-GAME CONFERENCES &INTERVIEWS:  Immediately following each game (or award ceremony after title games), the losing coach and one player will be escorted to the media conference area for a eight-minute media conference. Immediately following the losing team’s participation in the conference, the coach and one player of the winning team will conduct a media conference. Interviews prior or during the media conferences for either teams’ head coach or player is prohibited.

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

ORDER STATE MEET APPAREL ONLINE:  Fans can commemorate their experience at the 2023 State Boys Basketball Tournament at the Kohl Center with exclusive souvenir merchandise and apparel for sale at Bucky’s Locker Room located in the concourse outside Section 101. Additional WIAA State Boys Basketball Tournament apparel is available online. Access the link to the online store through a partnership with Fox Cities Embroidery at  A link will also be located on the boys basketball tournament page on the WIAA website. The deadline for online orders is prior to midnight on March 24.

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. 



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