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Thursday, 25 February 2016 14:44

Boys basketball: Area boys teams face uphill climbs in tourney play

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Beloit Turner senior Justin Hansen blows past Big Foot defenders Mark Schauf (22) and Jack Heidenreich (24) during the Rock Valley South champion Trojans’ victory Feb. 19. Beloit Turner senior Justin Hansen blows past Big Foot defenders Mark Schauf (22) and Jack Heidenreich (24) during the Rock Valley South champion Trojans’ victory Feb. 19. Terry Mayer/Staff

Anticipation for March Madness is reaching a fever pitch as Stateline area teams gear up for the WIAA boys basketball postseason, which culminates March 17-19 at the Kohl Center in Madison from Thursday through Saturday.

Regional action begins Tuesday, March 1, for schools not receiving first-round byes, while everybody joins the fray on Friday and Saturday, March 4-5.

Sectionals in all five divisions are scheduled Thursday and Saturday, March 10 and March 12.

Here is a rundown of where area squads will begin their journeys:

Division 1

Big Eight Conference rivals Janesville Craig, Janesville Parker and Beloit Memorial and Southern Lakes entrant Badger will find the going tough as usual in the Sun Prairie Sectional.

Craig has treaded water in the middle of the league race, while Beloit, which swept the season series against the Cougars, has struggled below .500.

Badger has battled Burlington and Delavan-Darien for second place in the Southern Lakes behind Westosha Central.

Top 10 teams Muskego and Middleton are among the favorites, although the field also features perennial power Madison Memorial, the host Cardinals and Wisconsin Little Ten leader Oconomowoc.

Parker is the 16th seed and tangles with 17th-seeded Madison La Follette in Tuesday’s only play-in game with the winner taking on top-seeded Sun Prairie on Friday, March 4. The winner of the latter will meet eighth-seeded Craig or ninth-seeded Verona on March 5.

Beloit Memorial is the No. 13 seed and visits fourth-seeded Muskego on Friday.

On the other side of the sectional, Badger earned the 11th seed and travels to sixth-seeded Oconomowoc on Friday.

Division 2

Ranked Badger Conference members Waunakee and Monona Grove appear to be the head of the class in the Middleton Sectional.

They top the northern bracket, while Southern Lakes foes Delavan-Darien, Burlington and Elkhorn join Milton in the southern half.

The Comets and Demons should contend along with SLC leader Westosha Central.

Central is the No. 1 seed and on Friday will face the winner of Tuesday’s match-up between eighth-seeded Elkhorn and ninth-seeded Union Grove.

Delavan-Darien earned the fifth seed and travels to fourth-seeded Fort Atkinson on Friday, with the victor likely visiting Westosha on Saturday, March 5.

Burlington is the No. 2 seed and awaits seventh-seeded Wilmot or 10th-seeded Jefferson. Meanwhile, that side of the bracket also features 11th-seeded Milton battling sixth-seeded Waterford, with the winner taking on No. 3 McFarland.

Division 3

Eight Rock Valley rivals dominate the southern bracket in the Waunakee Sectional, which also includes highly touted Lake Mills, the likely favorite.

However, RVC North king, top 10 and postseason tested East Troy must be reckoned with.

Rounding out the area teams are RVC South leader Beloit Turner, Big Foot, Whitewater, Edgerton and Clinton, along with Evansville and Brodhead.

Tuesday’s opening round sees eighth-seeded Clinton hosting ninth-seeded Whitewater. The winner then faces a tough trip to top-seeded Lake Mills on Friday.

Other games on the seven-team side of the sectional will have 12th-seeded Edgerton going to fifth-seeded Edgewood and fourth-seeded Evansville hosting No. 13 St. John’s NW Military.

The other side of the sectional has second-seeded East Troy meeting the winner of Tuesday’s contest between seventh-seeded Beloit Turner and 10th-seeded Big Foot. The other opener pits sixth-seeded Lakeside Lutheran entertaining 11th-seeded Brodhead, with the winner traveling to third-seeded Marshall.

Division 4

Struggling Rock Valley South rivals Palmyra-Eagle and Parkview will compete in the Baraboo Sectional. Their side of the bracket includes top 10 team Iowa-Grant.

The latter earned the top seed and is on the same side as Parkview. The Vikings are the 12th seed and visit fifth-seeded New Glarus in Tuesday’s first round. The winner goes to fourth-seeded Cuba City.

Palmyra-Eagle is the 10th seed and travel to seventh-seeded Mineral Point on Tuesday. Second-seeded Deerfield is next for the winner.

Division 5

The Watertown Sectional includes Williams Bay on one side of the bracket and Faith Christian and Catholic Central on the other.

The Eagles were the second best team in the Indian Trails Blue, Central has battled for second place behind Dominican in the Metro Classic and the Bulldogs were a middle-of-the-pack team in the Trailways South.

Williams Bay is the ninth seed and visits eighth-seeded Black Hawk on Tuesday. The winner likely travels to top-seeded Hustisford.

Catholic Central grabbed the third seed and opens with 14th-seeded University Lake. Meanwhile, Faith Christian is the No. 7 seed and hosts 10th-seeded Living Word Lutheran.

Illinois

Hononegah is a third seed in the Rockford Sectional.

The Indians play at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, at home against the winner of Monday’s contest between Rockford Lutheran and Rockford Guilford as part of the six-team Class 4A Machesney Park Regional.

The regional final is Friday, March 4, for a spot in the sectional, which opens March 8 at Rock Valley College.

Meanwhile, ninth-seeded South Beloit suffered a 51-33 setback to North Boone on the road Monday in the opening round of the Class 2A Byron Regional.

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