Postseason play is in the air.
When you see the phrase “conference meet,” you know the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association postseason is right around the corner, and that’s the case this weekend for high school winter sports in Kenosha County.
On Saturday, local wrestlers and boys swimmers will compete in their respective conference meets all day long, as athletes jostle for conference titles before WIAA regionals and sectionals get underway later in February.
One of those conference meets will be at Shoreland Lutheran, which has a big day of wrestling scheduled on Saturday, starting at 9 a.m., with wrestlers from two conferences, the Metro Classic and Midwest Classic, combining for one ultra-conference meet. In addition to Shoreland, wrestlers from St. Joseph and Christian Life will also be in that meet.
On the basketball court, meanwhile, the Westosha Central boys host Burlington on Thursday night in a massive Southern Lakes Conference game that could very well decide who wins the conference title.
Here are Kenosha.com Associate Editor Mike Johnson’s “Top 5 Events to Watch” in the county this week, along with a weekly calendar of high school varsity sports involving county teams.
TOP 5 EVENTS TO WATCH
GREENDALE MARTIN LUTHER AT ST. JOSEPH (boys basketball)
Tuesday (Jan. 31), 7 p.m., St. Joseph’s Madrigrano Gymnasium (2401 69th St., Kenosha)
The St. Joseph boys are trying to advance up the Metro Classic standings and improve their seeding prospects for postseason play, so Tuesday night’s home game against Martin Luther is a big one. The Lancers enter the game at 10-6 overall and 4-5 in the Metro Classic, alone in fifth place and just behind the fourth-place Spartans, who are 11-7 overall and 6-4 in the conference. St. Joseph guard Eric Kenesie continues to have a stellar junior season and ranks second in the Metro Classic in scoring at 21.2 points per game and second with 6.0 assists per game. St. Joseph continues its big week when it hosts Racine Lutheran at 7 p.m. on Friday night in another important Metro Classic matchup.
BURLINGTON AT WESTOSHA CENTRAL (boys basketball)
Thursday (Feb. 2), 7 p.m., Westosha Central High School (24617 75th St., Salem)
This is a Groundhog Day matchup that’s been circled on the calendar for a long time. Central is looking for some revenge on Burlington after the Demons throttled the Falcons, 81-61, on Dec. 16 in Burlington for Central’s lone Southern Lakes Conference defeat this season. The teams will go into Thursday’s monster matchup tied for first place in the SLC at 8-1, so with five conference games left including Thursday, the winner of this game will be in the driver’s seat for the conference title. Each team is also on a big roll in general, as the Falcons have won 10 straight entering this week to improve to 15-2 overall and the Demons – ranked No. 6 in Division 2 in last week’s WisSports.net state coaches poll – have won five straight to improve to 14-2 overall. Burlington first plays at Beloit Memorial in non-conference action Monday night before Thursday’s game at Central. Central and Burlington both feature some of the area’s top players, as Central sophomore point guard Elijah Griffin ranks eighth in the SLC in scoring (14.4 points per game), first in assists (6.3 per game) and tied for second in steals (35), while Burlington junior guard Connor Roffers ranks second in the SLC in scoring (17.3 points per game) and JR Lukenbill, a 6-foot-5 senior wing, ranks third in scoring (17.1 points per game) and first in rebounding (9.7 per game). Lukenbill has committed to play in college at NCAA Division II Northern Michigan.
RACINE PARK AT BRADFORD and RACINE CASE AT TREMPER (girls basketball)
Friday (Feb. 3), 7 p.m., Bradford High School (3700 Washington Rd., Kenosha) and Tremper High School (8560 26th Ave., Kenosha)
Okay, we’re going to cheat a little here by lumping two events into “one to watch,” because they’re both Southeast Conference girls basketball games at the same time on the same night for two fun-to-watch Kenosha programs. They’re just across town, so maybe you can catch one half of one game and the other half of the other. Just keep your car engine warm! At the Bradford Fieldhouse, the Red Devils host Racine Park in their second of two SEC games this week. Bradford has won four straight to reach 14-5 overall and first plays at Racine Horlick on Tuesday night as it tries to stay in the race for the SEC title. Entering this week, the Red Devils are tied for second place in the SEC standings at 7-2 with Oak Creek, two games behind 9-0 Franklin for first. Tremper, meanwhile, enters the week at 13-6 overall and alone in fourth place in the SEC at 6-3. The Trojans first play at first-place Franklin on Tuesday night before Friday’s home game against Racine Case. The Red Devils and Trojans feature some of the top players in the area, too, as Bradford senior forwards Nevaeh Thomas and Syderah Farmer rank second (24.8 points per game) and fourth (18.2 points per game), respectively, in the SEC in scoring and second (13.1 per game) and fourth (8.8 per game), respectively, in rebounding. For Tremper, sophomore forward Emily Giese (15.4 per game) leads the SEC in rebounding and senior guard Aliana Brown (16.1 points per game) ranks sixth in scoring and second in assists (3.6 per game).
METRO/MIDWEST CLASSIC CONFERENCE MEET (wrestling)
Saturday (Feb. 4), 9 a.m., Shoreland Lutheran High School (9026 12th St., Somers)
The mats will be packed on Saturday at Shoreland as wrestlers from two conferences combine to duke it out for conference honors. From the county, Shoreland, St. Joseph and Christian Life will all be represented, and two of the state’s top high school wrestlers are part of that. Christian Life junior Drew Dolphin is 34-0 and ranked No. 1 in Division 3 at 106 pounds by Wisconsin Grappler, while St. Joseph sophomore Co’ji Campbell is 23-0 and ranked No. 1 in Division 3 at 120, as he shoots for a repeat WIAA Division 3 state title after winning it at 113 last season as a freshman. In the latest FloWrestling state rankings for all divisions, Dolphin was No. 2 at 106 and Campbell was No. 4 at 120. Additionally, CLS senior Sam Wilson is 20-7 and ranked No. 9 in Division 3 at 195 by Wisconsin Grappler, while Shoreland senior Mason Gill has won over 100 matches in his stellar high school career. After this weekend’s conference meets, WIAA wrestling regionals are scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 11.
WESTOSHA CENTRAL AT TREMPER (boys basketball)
Saturday (Feb. 4), 3 p.m., Tremper High School (8560 26th Ave., Kenosha)
The Trojans will cap a busy week of three games in five days by hosting the Falcons for an intra-county non-conference Saturday matinee. Tremper enters the week at 4-12 overall and hosts Franklin on Tuesday night and plays at Racine Case on Friday night in SEC action before Saturday’s game. Junior guard DeJuan Graise (16.5 points per game), senior forward Will Starks (12.8 points per game) and senior guard Dontrell Graise (11.3 points per game) are all scoring in double figures for the Trojans.
HIGH SCHOOL CALENDAR
Boys basketball–Christian Life at Westlake Christian, 7:15 p.m. Girls basketball–Christian Life at Westlake Christian, 5:45 p.m.
Boys basketball–Racine Horlick at Bradford, 7 p.m.; Franklin at Tremper, 7 p.m.; Indian Trail at Oak Creek, 7 p.m.; Shoreland Lutheran at Racine St. Catherine’s, 7 p.m.; Greendale Martin Luther at St. Joseph, 7 p.m. Girls basketball–Christian Life at Williams Bay, 6 p.m.; Bradford at Racine Horlick, 7 p.m.; Tremper at Franklin, 7 p.m.; Oak Creek at Indian Trail, 7 p.m.; Westosha Central at Elkhorn, 7 p.m.; Wilmot at Burlington, 7 p.m.; Racine St. Catherine’s at Shoreland Lutheran, 7 p.m.; St. Joseph at Greendale Martin Luther, 7 p.m. Gymnastics–Badger/Burlington and Whitewater at Union Grove/Wilmot/Williams Bay (Willmot), 6 p.m.
Boys basketball–Christian Life at Living Word Lutheran, 7:15 p.m.
Boys basketball–Burlington at Westosha Central, 7 p.m.; Delavan-Darien at Wilmot, 7 p.m.; Reuther at Milwaukee Academy of Excellence, 7 p.m. Girls basketball–Delavan-Darien at Wilmot, 5:30 p.m.; Christian Life at Cristo Rey St. Martin, 5:30 p.m. Gymnastics–Mukwonago at Kenosha Co-op (Tremper), 6 p.m. Wrestling–St. Joseph at Kingdom Prep Lutheran Invite, 7 p.m.
Boys basketball–Shoreland Lutheran at The Prairie School (Wind Point), 5:30 p.m.; Bradford at Racine Park, 7 p.m.; Tremper at Racine Case, 7 p.m.; Racine Horlick at Indian Trail, 7 p.m.; Racine Lutheran at St. Joseph, 7 p.m.; Christian Life at Lake Country Lutheran, 7:15 p.m. Girls basketball–Christian Life vs. Heritage Christian at Wilmot, 6 p.m.; Racine Park at Bradford, 7 p.m.; Racine Case at Tremper, 7 p.m.; Indian Trail at Racine Horlick, 7 p.m.; Burlington at Westosha Central, 7 p.m.; Shoreland Lutheran at The Prairie School (Wind Point), 7 p.m. Hockey–Kenosha at Verona (Verona Ice Arena), 7 p.m.
Boys basketball–Westosha Central at Tremper, 3 p.m.; Milwaukee Messmer at Indian Trail, 3:30 p.m. Girls basketball–Oregon at Westosha Central, 3 p.m.; St. Joseph at Racine Lutheran, 4 p.m. Hockey–Monroe at Kenosha (Pleasant Prairie IcePlex), 5:30 p.m. Boys swimming–Bradford, Tremper and Indian Trail at Southeast Conference Meet (Racine Unified Aquatic Center), 9:30 a.m.; Badger/Westosha Central/Wilmot at Southern Lakes Conference Meet (Delavan-Darien), 11 a.m. Wrestling–Bradford, Tremper and Indian Trail at Southeast Conference Meet (Racine Case), 9 a.m.; Shoreland Lutheran, St. Joseph and Christian Life at Metro/Midwest Classic Conference Meet (Shoreland Lutheran), 9 a.m.; Westosha Central and Wilmot at Southern Lakes Conference Meet (Elkhorn), 9:30 a.m.; Westosha Central at Southern Lakes Conference Meet (girls, Clinton), 10 a.m.