CWS Sports Desk
February 18, 2018
Wausau– It’s only February 18, but March Madness here once again. The WIAA has released the pairings for the 2018 boys basketball playoffs and, as is customary, CWS takes a look at area teams, seedings and opponents in the opening rounds of the tournament.
Regional play will begin February 27.
All statistics, standings and records are as of February 18, 2018.
This post will be updated frequently, please check back as more information becomes available.
#3 SPASH vs. #14 Appleton East: Most so-called experts wrote the Panthers off after superstar Joey Hauser was lost for the season (Hauser subsequently left for Marquette to start the spring semester), but anyone overlooking SPASH come playoff time would be making a big mistake. SPASH owns a 16-5 overall record and came out on top of the Wisconsin Valley Conference once again. Drew Blair is an absolute machine offensively and comes in averaging over 30 points a game. Drew Cullen and Andrew Erdman are nice players on offense for SPASH. East is just 5-16 overall this season and 3-14 in a tough Fox Valley Association and will have an uphill battle playing in Stevens Point.
#8 Wisconsin Rapids vs. #9 Chippewa Falls: Rapids has shown flashes of being a really good team this season. Case in point: the Red Raiders’ 70-51 win over D.C. Everest on February 16. Rapids can get scoring from a number of players, including Zach Langemeier, Keegan Hewitt, Dylan Lisitza and Isaac Pelot. Defense is key for Rapids as they average just 42.6 points per game in the regular season. Falls averages nearly 60 points a game and are led by Tyler Robarge (15.1 ppg) and Bryce Daniels (12.3 ppg). Falls is just 4-7 in the Big Rivers Conference.
#10 D.C. Everest vs. #7 Neenah: The Evergreens are currently 7-5 in the Wisconsin Valley Conference and 10-10 overall. They average nearly 65 points a game and are led by Zion Turner (25.5 ppg) and Bryan Halambeck (16.9 ppg). Neenah is 11-10 overall. The Rockets have three players who average in double figures. Max Klesmit leads the way with a 13.9 ppg average.
#15 Wausau West vs. #2 Kimberly: The Warriors really struggled offensively this year as they currently hold a 4-17 record and score just 28.8 points per game. Kimberly is in third place in the Fox Valley Association with a 13-4 record. Alec Rosner leads the team with a 17.7 ppg average.
#5 Marshfield vs. #12 Wausau East: Marshfield is an interesting team. The Tigers have shown that they can hang with one of the best teams in the area (if not the state) in SPASH as evidenced by their 59-56 loss to SPASH on January 23. That game really could have gone either way. However, since then, Marshfield has limped to a 3-4 record. Seth Anderson leads the team with a 22.5 ppg average. East took a step backward this year and is just 2-19 overall.
#2 Merrill vs. #10 Antigo or #7 Hortonville: Merrill’s signature win this season came in an upset victory over SPASH. The Bluejays are 12-8 overall. Zach Mootz and Quinn Steckbauer both average about 18 points per game. Hortonville checks in at 7-13 overall and 6-10 in a very tough Fox Valley Association Conference. Antigo has a respectable 12-8 record overall.
#1 Rhinelander vs. #9 Medford or #8 Shawano: Rhinelander is a perfect 11-0 in the Great Northern Conference and 19-2 overall– deserving of their #1 status. Owen White averages 18.6 points per game to lead the Hodags. Medford, also from the Great Northern Conference, is 6-5 in conference play and sitting in fourth place. Shawano comes from the Bay Conference where they are 4-9 in conference play and 8-12 overall.
#5 Amherst vs. #12 Tomahawk: The Amherst Falcons are currently tied with Shiocton at the top of the CWC-East with a 10-1 record. The Falcons have a lot of guys who can beat you. Colton Groholski (17.1 ppg), Mason Wideman (16.2 ppg) and Marcus Glodowski (11.6 ppg) are all reliable scorers. Overall, Amherst is 15-6 so far. Tomahawk is just 4-16 this season and just 1-10 in the Great Northern Conference.
#6 Stratford vs. #11 Viroqua: The Stratford Tigers are 17-4 overall and average about 62 points per game. They are in third place in the Marawood South behind Marathon and Auburndale and tied with Assumption. Benarten averages 13.3 points per game to lead the Tigers. Viroqua has won just three games this year so far and averages just over 41 points per game as a team.
#13 Nekoosa vs. #4 Altoona: Nekoosa is still looking for win #1 this season as they take a 0-20 record into the playoffs. Altoona is 15-6 overall and has an 11-3 record in the Cloverbelt-West. Jacob Chilson leads Altoona with 18.4 points per game.
#10 Adams-Friendship vs. #7 Arcadia: Adams-Friendship has a record of 4-16 to date and has two more games on the regular season schedule. Jaiquon Ingram leads A-F with a 16.1 points per game average. Arcadia comes from the Coulee Conference where they had a 6-5 record. Overall, they are 13-7.
#3 Pacelli vs. #11 Colby or #6 Phillips: The Cardinals are an intriguing team. They have a couple of signature wins, including beating Amherst in the Sentry Classic way back in December. This is a team that has shown it can play with just about anyone, the question is if they can keep playing at a consistently high level in the playoffs. The Cardinals won at least a share of the CWC-South title and are currently 15-6 overall. Colby is just 4-16 overall this season and 4-11 in the Cloverbelt’s East division. Phillips is 12-8 overall and 8-7 in the Marawood North, good for second place behind Rib Lake.
#1 Auburndale vs. #9 Athens or #8 Spencer: The Apaches lead the Marawood Conference as of February 18 with a 13-2 mark and one game left to play against Stratford. At 18-3 ovearall, Auburndale features four players averaging in double figures. Cooper Weinfurter and Cale Jacoby lead the way. Athens comes from the Marawood North where they are 4-11. Overall the Bluejays are 8-12. Cameron Ford is a legitimate scoring threat with a 18.1 ppg average; Seth Coker averages 11.3. Spencer is 10-11 overall and 8-8 in the Coverbelt-East.
#4 Edgar vs. #12 Chequamegon or #5 Neillsville: Edgar is 13-7 overall and averages a tad under 50 points per game. The Wildcats are currently 9-6 and in second to last place in the Marawood South. Neillsville scores a lot of points and has a nice 16-3 overall record. Alex King averages 17.5 points per game to lead Neillsville, Braden Trunkel averages 12.7. Chequamegon has yet to win a game this season and sits at 0-21.
#2 Marathon vs. #10 Abbotsford or #7 Thorp: Marathon scores a ton of points– nearly 70 points per game– and are led by Carter Hanke, Donavan Free and Nathan Stoffel, all of whom average in double figures. The Red Raiders are currently one game out of first place in the Marawood South behind Auburndale (a #1 seed). Abby is 7-13 overall and 5-10 in the Marawood North. Thorp is 9-12 overall and averages 40.7 ppg.
#2 Assumption vs. #15 Bowler: The Royals are a very dangerous team that is playing its best basketball right now. A member of the ultra-competitive Marawood South, the Royals currently own a 11-4 record and are 16-5 overall. Assumption has proven scorers in Joe Grundhoffer and Jake Sullivan. If you’re looking for a dark horse to break through in D5, the Royals may be your team. #15 Bowler is not going to win this regional game. They are just 3-18 overall so far this season.
#9 Pittsville vs. #8 Loyal: Wins have been hard to come by for the Panthers this season as they look to improve on their current 6-15 record and deliver an upset win or two in the tournament. Luke Denniston and Bailey Herkert are the team’s main scoring threats. Loyal has an 11-9 overall record and is led by Luke bogdonovich, Jordan Radue and Waylon Froeba.
#1 Columbus Catholic vs. #16 Tigerton: Columbus has skated to a 15-0 record in the Cloverbelt-East and is 18-2 overall. The Dons score points in bunches, averaging just over 70 points per game. Nick Malovrh leads the team with a 19.8 ppg average. Tigerton has won just one game so far and sits at 1-19 overall.
#5 Rosholt vs. #12 Northland Lutheran: Rosholt is fresh off a 82-52 drubbing of Pittsville and owns a 14-6 overall record. The Hornets are now 6-5 in a tough CWC-South Conference. N-L is 7-14 overall and in the middle of the pack in the CWC-North.
#13 Newman vs. #4 Wild Rose: Newman has struggled this season and so far has recorded just three wins. The Cardinals scored just 19 points in their last game against Assumption on February 16– they tallied just four points in the second half of that contest. Wild Rose is an interesting team. They sit at 14-7 and defeated Pacelli, one of the best teams in the CWC-South. Keep an eye on the Wildcats as things progress. Alec VandeCastle leads Wild Rose with a 20.5 ppg average.
#3 Almond-Bancroft vs. #14 Marion: A-B is 8-3 currently in the CWC-South and could come away with a share of the conference title with Pacelli depending on what happens this week. The Eagles are 15-6 overall and get 24 points per game from Noah Kollock. At 5-16, Marion averages about 47 points per game.
#11 Tri-County vs. #6 Port Edwards: I doubt anyone is looking forward to facing Port Edwards in the playoffs. They average 58.2 points per game and are led by Ian Gibbs, Addison Gibbs and Peyton Kohlbeck. Tri-County has just five wins so far this season and they are 0-11 in the CWC-South.
#2 Owen-Withee vs. #15 Clayton: Owen-Withee is 14-6 overall and 11-4 in a tough Cloberbelt-East Conference. They face a Clayton team that has just three wins this season and sits at 3-17.