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State Girls Basketball Tournament Preview

Monday, February 22, 2021

State Girls Basketball Tournament Preview

THE STATE TOURNAMENT:  The 45th Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Girls Basketball State Tournament will take place Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 25-27, at the La Crosse Center in La Crosse and Friday-Saturday, Feb. 26-27 at the Menominee Nation Arena in Oshkosh, Wis.

PURCHASING TICKETS:  Tickets for admission will first be offered to qualifying schools, beginning on Sunday, Feb. 21.  Unsold tickets will be offered to the general public beginning Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 8 a.m. Codes for each specific game will be required to purchase tickets. Check the WIAA Girls 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 with processing fee is $13 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, Feb. 25

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

#1 Black Hawk (21-0) vs. #4 Three Lakes (19-5) - 9:05 a.m.
#2 McDonell Catholic (12-3) vs. #3 Assumption (14-8) - 12:35 p.m.
Championship Game
Winner of Semifinals - 7:05 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 26

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

#1 Mishicot (18-2) vs. #4 Fall Creek (15-4) - 9:05.m.
#2 Bangor (18-2) vs. #3 Mineral Point (16-5) - 12:25 p.m.
Championship Game
Winner of Semifinals - 6:35 p.m.

Division 3 - Menominee Nation Arena, Oshkosh, Wis.Semifinals
#1 Aquinas (21-0) vs. #4 Westfield (19-5) - 10:45 a.m.
#2 Lake Mills (23-2) vs. #3 Howards Grove (24-1) - 2:10 p.m.
Championship Game
Winner of Semifinals - 8:15 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 27

Division 2 - La Crosse Center,  La Crosse, Wis.
Semifinals
#1 Notre Dame (26-1) vs. #4 Onalaska (17-3) - 9:05 a.m.
#2 New Berlin Eisenhower (24-4) vs. #3 Reedsburg (19-1) -12:25 p.m.
Championship Game
Winner of Semifinals - 6:35 p.m.

Division 1 - Menominee Nation Arena, Oshkosh, Wis.
Semifinals

#1 Germantown (27-1) vs. #4 Verona (8-4) - 10:45 a.m.
#2 Hudson (22-0) vs. #3 Franklin (15-5) - 2:10 p.m.
Championship Game
Winner of Semifinals - 8:15 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.

TEAM TOURNAMENT HISTORY:  The first WIAA State Girls Basketball 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 at the Kohl Center in 1998, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2010-12, and at the Alliant Energy Center in 2004 and 2006-09. The Resch Center in Green Bay was the home of the tournament from 2013-20. 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 11 followed by Barneveld with six and Milwaukee Washington with five. Fall Creek, Flambeau, Marshall and Kimberly have won four. There have been 97 different schools that have won championships. Cuba City has the distinction of having appeared in the most State Tournaments with 16. Newman Catholic is next on the list with 13, and Janesville Parker and Middleton have qualified 12 times. Barneveld, Durand, Fall Creek, Kimberly and Monroe have qualified for 11 State Tournaments with Arrowhead, Milwaukee Washington, Mukwonago and Oostburg having qualified 10 times.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 1 FIELD:  Germantown receives the top seed the first time the program qualifies for the State Tournament. The Warhawks advance to the semifinals with an 84-72 victory over Kimberly in the sectional final played at Kimberly. They finished the regular season as the champions of the Greater Metro Conference. Hudson, the #2 seed, is making its eighth appearance overall and the first since 2003. The Raiders most notable experiences at the tournament include championships in 1998 and 2002, as well as a runner-up finish in 2000. They qualify this season with a 55-50 win over Hortonville in the sectional final conducted at Hudson. The Raiders are the champions of the Big Rivers Conference this season. It’s the fourth overall appearance at State for third-seeded Franklin and the first since 2007. The Sabers’ first two experiences came back-to-back in 1999 and 2000, which produced a runner-up finish in 1999. They are a member of the Southeast Conference, which did not declare a champion for the regular season this year. The Sabers defeated Divine Savior Holy Angels 57-54 in the sectional final hosted at Franklin to advance to State. Verona has been issued the fourth seed in the bracket.  The Wildcats qualify for the tournament for the first time since capturing the State title in 2016 and for the fifth time overall. They outlasted Arrowhead 50-40 in two overtimes in their sectional final game held at Arrowhead. Verona is a member of the Big Eight Conference, which did not declare a league champion this season.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 2 FIELD:  Notre Dame returns to the tournament for the eighth time and for the first time since 2016. The Tritons won back-to-back State titles in 2013-14 to go with the championship earned in the program’s first-ever appearance in 2001. In addition, they finished runner-up 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 are the champions of  the Fox River Classic Conference and have advanced to the State semifinals following a 70-38 triumph over Freedom in the sectional final held at Notre Dame. Second-seeded New Berlin Eisenhower qualifies for the seventh time and for the first time since 2018. The Lions have won two State titles, including 2010 and 2016. In addition, they finished runner-up in 2018 and back-to-back in 2012-13. They beat Pius XI Catholic 50-37 in the sectional final played at Eisenhower to advance into the final field of four.  The Lions finished the regular season in a two-way tie with Pewaukee for the top spot in the West Division of the Woodland Conference. The only other State Tournament experience for third-seeded Reedsburg was in 2012 when the Beavers fell in the semifinals. They return this season following a 78-46 win over McFarland in the sectional final played at Reedsburg. A member of the North Division of the Badger Conference, the league did not crown a champion this season. Fourth-seeded Onalaska is also making its second appearance at State. The Hilltoppers first experience ended with a loss in the semifinals in 2016. They discarded Rice Lake 55-33 in the sectional final played in Onalaska to gain their entry into the tourney field. Their league, the Mississippi Valley Conference, also did not declare a champion during the regular season.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 3 FIELD:  With the tournament canceled last year, Aquinas remains the two-time defending Division 4 champion. The Blugolds move up a division this season after winning the Division 4 titles in 2018 and 2019. They are the #1 seed in the bracket, qualifying for the fifth straight season, including last season prior to the cancellation of the tournament.  They also have a runner-up finish during this string of appearances in 2017. The Blugolds are members of the Mississippi Valley Conference, which didn’t crown a champion this year. They defeated St. Croix Falls 84-58 in the sectional final played at Aquinas. Prior to its membership in the WIAA, Aquinas won back-to-back WISAA Division 2 championships in 1996-97 and finished runner-up in Class A in 1985 and 1989. Lake Mills, the second seed, will make its first appearance at State after qualifying for the first time last year before the cancellation of the tournament. The L-Cats are the champions in the North Division of the Capitol North Conference in 2021. They defeated Marshall 65-59 in the sectional final held at Cambridge for another opportunity to play in their first State Tournament. Third-seeded Howards Grove will experience State for the third time. The Tigers won the Division 4 championship in their most recent appearance in 2017. They edged Oostburg 38-37 in the sectional final played at Howards Grove to gain a berth in the tournament field. The Tigers finished atop the standings in the North Division of the Big East Conference this year. Westfield advances to the State Tournament for the first time in program history after the Pioneers took down Amherst 58-55 in the sectional final played at Westfield. They tied Wisconsin Dells for the South Central Conference title this season.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 4 FIELD:  Top-seeded Mishicot advances to the State Tournament for the second time after qualifying for the first time last season. The Indians fell in their semifinal game prior to the cancellation of the tournaments. Their return to the tourney came virtue of their 57-29 romp over Randolph in the final held at Mishicot. During the regular season, the Indians finished second in the standings of the North Division in the Big East Conference behind Division 3 State qualifier Howards Grove. Bangor, the second seed, qualifies for State for the fourth time in the past five seasons and for the fifth time overall. The Cardinals qualified last season, but the tournament was canceled prior to their participation. They have won a pair of championships. The most recent came in in 2018 with their first coming in 1997. This season, they are the champions of the Scenic Bluffs Conference. The Cardinals return to the State semifinals with a 67-55 win over Auburndale in the sectional final played at Bangor. Third-seeded Mineral Point will experience the State Tournament for the second time. The Pointers’ only other appearance resulted in a championship in 2016. This season, they rolled to a 65-33 win over Fennimore in the sectional final held at Mineral Point,  and they are the champions of the Southwest Wisconsin Activities League. Fall Creek was issued the fourth seed in the bracket. The Crickets make their 12th appearance in the State Tournament and their first since 2015, which resulted in a runner-up finish. They had a run of success in the 1980s and 90s, winning championships in 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1996 to go with runner-up finishes in 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2015. All tolled, they have four State championships and five runner-up finishes on their ledger. They finished third in the Western Division of the Cloverbelt Conference this season behind co-champions Osseo-Fairchild and McDonell Catholic, which has qualified for State in Division 5. The Crickets downed Phillips 63-53 in the sectional final played at Phillips to earn a return to the State semifinals.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 5 FIELD:  With the 2020 tournament canceled with the outbreak of the COVID-19, 2019 champion Black Hawk is still the defending champion. The Warriors are bestowed the #1 seed, qualifying for the  fourth year in a row, including last season, and for the seventh time overall. They also advanced to the title game in 2018 and finished runner-up. In addition, they made a string of three straight appearances from 2009-11. That run produced a runner-up finish in Division 4 in 2010. Their return to the State Tournament comes by virtue of a convincing 55-30 win over Albany in the sectional final held at Black Hawk. The Warriors are the champions of the East Division of the Six Rivers Conference this season. Second-seeded McDonell Catholic will make its first State Tournament appearance. The Macks advance to the State semifinals this season with a 72-53 victory over Prairie Farm in the sectional final held at Prairie Farm. They are the runners-up in the Western Division of the Cloverbelt Conference this season. Prior to joining the WIAA, the Macks most notable finish as a member of WISAA was a runner-up finish in Division 2 in 2000. Third-seeded Assumption will make its sixth appearance in the State Tournament and its first since a run of four consecutive appearances resulted in a State championship in 2016. The Royals also won the title in 2013 and finished runner-up in 2014 and 2015. This season, they finished in a three-way tie for first place in the South Division of the Marawood Conference. Their return to the semifinals resulted from a 65-44 win over Wauzeka-Steuben in the sectional final hosted by Wauzeka-Steuben. Three Lakes is the #4 seed in the bracket. The Bluejays qualify for the first time since their only other appearance in 1999, which resulted in a loss in the Division 4 semifinals. They finished third in the  Northern Lakes Conference this season, and they are their sectional’s representative with a 73-30 win over Athens in the final played at Three Lakes.

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 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 girls 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 Girls Basketball Tournament program with rosters of qualifying teams, history, records and schedule information can be accessed the afternoon of Tuesday, Feb 23 at: https://www.wiaawi.org/Portals/0/PDF/Publications/Programs/2021girlsbasketball.pdf.

ORDER STATE TOURNAMENT APPAREL:  WIAA licensed apparel is available online for the 2021 State Girls Basketball Tournament. To browse and purchase branded merchandise, visit the WIAA Store at: https://wiaagbbstate21.itemorder.com/sale Online purchases will be shipped after the online store closes on Wednesday, March 3 prior to midnight.

FOLLOW STATE TOURNEY ON SOCIAL MEDIA:  Receive updates of the State Girls Basketball Tournament on the WIAA State Tournament Twitter account @wiaawistate with the hashtag #wiaagb, 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 Girls 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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