Target: Berths at boys state tourney

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Todd Mishler | February 25, 2015

The road to the 100th boys state basketball tournament begins Tuesday, March 3, across the Stateline area. The regional semifinals and finals will be Friday, March 6, and Saturday, March 7, respectively.

Williams Bay and Rock Valley rivals Beloit Turner and East Troy earned top seeds, with the latter two in position for a potential sectional semifinal meeting.

However, no area teams are rated and face tough odds of reaching the capital city.

Division 1

Stateline area teams Badger, Burlington, Janesville Craig, Janesville Parker and the host Purple Knights will compete in the 18-team Beloit Memorial Sectional.

The Janesville rivals have fought most of the year to stay out of the Big Eight Conference cellar, while Jay Bryant's Beloit Memorial squad has been in the muddy middle of the league's title chase.

Madison Memorial, Madison East and Middleton are among the favorites to come out of this tough field.

Meanwhile, Forrest Larson's Badgers and Burlington have battled Waterford for supremacy in the Southern Lakes.

Several other contenders include Classic Eight power and No. 1 seed Muskego and Southeast contender and third-seeded Kenosha Indian Trail, which also have been ranked in the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association's top 10 poll.

Craig is the No. 16 seed and opens Tuesday at home against 17th seed Watertown, with the winner earning the unenviable task of traveling to Muskego on Friday. Parker is the 15th seed and hosts Kenosha Tremper, the 18th and last seed, also Tuesday. The victor moves on to face second-seeded Madison Memorial on Friday.

Ninth-seeded Badger, which clinched at least a share of the SLC title on Feb. 20, opens Friday and can move onto the regional final should it win at eighth-seeded Verona. Meanwhile, 10th seed Burlington visits seventh-seeded Sun Prairie on Friday. The Purple Knights are the 11th seed and travel to sixth-seeded Oconomowoc on Friday.

Division 2

Delavan-Darien and Elkhorn will compete in one regional and Milton in the other in the Sun Prairie Sectional.

The Comets and Elks have done their best to be competitive against the bigger schools but have trailed most of the SLC teams, and league rivals Waterford, Union Grove, Westosha Central and Wilmot will battle in the same regional, with top-seeded Waterford the favorite to advance out of this six-team regional.

Fourth-seeded Elkhorn entertains fifth-seeded Westosha Central and sixth-seeded DDHS visits third-seeded Union Grove, both on Tuesday. The Elks would travel to Waterford on Friday if they advance, while an upset by the Comets would send them to second-seeded Wilmot.

Milton has stumbled mightily in the Badger South. Loop counterparts Fort Atkinson and Monona Grove are the top teams in the regional, with Rock Valley North foes McFarland and Jefferson also featured.

Milton was handed the fifth seed and visits fourth-seeded Jefferson, with top-seeded Monona Grove waiting.

Division 3

Stateline area teams could be in the running in what appears to be a wide open bottom half of the Middleton Sectional.

East Troy, which battled D-2 McFarland for the top spot in the Rock Valley North, is the top area team in a regional that includes league foe Whitewater. The Trojans earned the top seed and settled for second place in the RVC North.

The regional also includes previous top 10 team Marshall, the second seed, and Capitol Conference members Lake Mills and Lakeside Lutheran, which earned the third and fourth seeds, respectively. East Troy will face either Lutheran or fifth-seeded Whitewater on Friday.

RVC South leader Beloit Turner should come out of the other regional bracket, which includes league foes Edgerton, Evansville, Clinton, Big Foot and Brodhead.

The league champion Trojans were awarded the top seed, with RVC North contender Evansville grabbing the No. 2 seed. Turner won its regular-season match-up by 10 at Evansville before Christmas.

Turner will play the winner of fourth-seeded Edgerton and fifth-seeded Brodhead, while the Blue Devils await either third-seeded Clinton or sixth-seeded Big Foot.

Division 4

Area Rock Valley teams Palmyra-Eagle and Parkview will play in the same regional of the geographically challenging Baraboo Sectional.

The Panthers and Vikings have struggled in the RVC South and face an uphill climb against programs such as Trailways South contender Deerfield, which got the No. 2 seed. Cambridge is the top seed and awaits the fifth-seeded Panthers or fourth-seeded Belleville.

Sixth-seeded Parkview travels to third-seeded Waterloo on Tuesday, with Deerfield awaiting the winner.

Division 5

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

The Bulldogs, despite finishing in the middle of the Trailways South pack, earned the top seed and will compete in a regional that includes league foes and several schools from the Six Rivers East, such as Albany and second-seeded Black Hawk.

Williams Bay tangles with eighth-seeded Monticello in its Tuesday opener, with fourth-seeded Albany or fifth-seeded Juda next in line Friday.

Faith Christian and Catholic Central are in the same regional on the other side of the sectional.

The Hilltoppers have been at the bottom of the rugged Metro Classic that features top-ranked Dominican and Racine St. Catherine's. Central is the third seed and hosts sixth-seeded University Lake.

The Eagles have been competitive in the Indian Trails Blue but have been dominated by the likes of Catholic Central and Williams Bay.

Faith Christian is the fifth seed and visits fourth-seeded Heritage Christian, with a potential encounter against top-seeded Young Coggs Prep awaiting the winner.

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