by Troy Sparks
The remaining boys teams that are still standing are in sectional play with the berth to the state tournament in Madison, Mar. 8-9. There haven’t been any real surprises as some of the favorites breezed through the regionals.
Germantown hasn’t lost a game since the Super Sectional final in 2011. They have been to state twice and came away empty-handed. Last year, the Warhawks won their first state title. They’re faster and press more than last year’s squad and blowing out teams along the way by a big margin. They are the favorites to repeat as state champs.
G-Town has depth, speed, talent and a 7-footer who’s headed to Indiana. If you get past their full-court press, big Luke Fischer will be standing in the lane waiting for you to throw up a shot so he can block it. Dump it down low to him and he will throw up jump hooks, scoop shots and an occasional dunk if you’re too short to stop it.
The Warhawks are a finesse team, but if they have to play physical, they will accommodate anyone’s request. A likely sectional final rematch against a very physical De Pere team at Homestead with a trip to state on the line won’t be for the faint of heart.
In the dog-eat-dog Racine Horlick sectional, the dog that comes to the fight with more bite will limp into Madison and escape with some bumps and bruises. Most of the City Conference teams are thrown into that sectional so they can cancel each other out.
The WIAA did it that way, I think, because they got tired of seeing two Milwaukee teams in the state finals. The reason is simple: Milwaukee fans don’t bring enough money when they go to Madison. People drive the 75 miles back and forth, not staying overnight in hotels and not buying a lot of souvenirs and food to help the bottom line expenses of the tournament. It is disappointing to WIAA officials.
One City Conference school could be at state among the three teams left in the Horlick sectional. The team that would throw a monkey wrench into the equation is Racine Case. They will play Milwaukee Hamilton in one sectional semifinal game at home. King and Vincent will meet in the other semifinal at Milwaukee South.
King lost to Vincent early in the season and the Generals remembered it well. They are ready for the Vikings this time, so said King’s Austin Malone-Mitchell. If you thought Germantown can put pressure on teams, King’s vice grip pressure is worse.
What the Generals lack in size is made up in hard work and determination. Beating Vincent will set up a King vs. Case sectional final at Horlick. I still think Germantown will win their second title in a row.
I’d like to see Milwaukee Washington make it to state in Division 2, but then I have to be realistic and say that it may not happen. If the Purgolders make it to Madison, it will be the first time since 2009. Whitefish Bay Dominican will run the tables and go to Madison again.
On the girls side, the sectional to watch is West Allis Central. There are some interesting matchups in the regionals to attend. A Riverside and Brookfield Central at Riverside is one game to keep an eye on, barring any upset of either team.
Another matchup is at Divine Savior Holy Angels between DSHA and King. Arike Ogunbowale and Shaq Fowler, super sophomores, friends and teammates on the U-13 national championship team in 2011 and frequent attendees of Marquette women’s basketball home games, will likely exchange pleasantries before the game. After the game starts, there will be some pushing, shoving, bumping hard fouling and everything else in the mix because the stakes are higher.
Put in there some jawing, probably between “AO” and “Shaq”, swearing, both coaches working the officials and the usual screaming by spectators in a noisy gym that seats maybe 500 and you have an environment that won’t be pretty to see.
I think Riverside will beat DSHA in the sectional semifinals and Oak Creek will beat Franklin in the other semifinals. The Tigers are a good bet to beat the Knights and go to state in Green Bay. My other predictions for state in Division 1 are De Pere, who should win state again, Verona and Sussex Hamilton. The girls state tournament is Mar. 15-16.
Will Reddick Help Team Make Playoffs?
There were rumors that guard Monta Ellis would be traded to Atlanta for Josh Smith. Smith once said that there’s nothing to do in Milwaukee when the Hawks came here for the playoffs. Smith would have to deal with living in Milwaukee if he was traded to the Bucks.
Since that didn’t happen, Ellis is still here until at least the end of the season. The Bucks traded for shooting guard J.J. Reddick, hoping he can give them some scoring depth and relieve Ellis and Brandon Jennings of some minutes. If Reddick is in the game a lot, that will take minutes away from somebody else.
According to Bucks general manager John Hammond, Reddick is here for one reason, and that’s to help the team reach the playoffs. If that experiment doesn’t work out, then Hammond has to second-guess if it was worth sending Doron Lamb, Tobias Harris and Beno Udrih away. We will see if this will help the team get into the playoffs.