March Madness is here.
And for boys basketball in Kenosha County, that actually starts on the final night of February.
The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association boys basketball playoffs begin around the state on Tuesday night with regional quarterfinal games in all five divisions, including a Division 1 matchup between the longest-standing rivals in Kenosha when Tremper hosts Bradford at 7 p.m. for their third — and final — meeting this season. For ticket information, click HERE.
The Wilmot (Division 2) and Shoreland Lutheran (Division 3) boys basketball teams also play in regional quarterfinal action Tuesday night, with the winners advancing to Friday night’s regional semifinals. Then come Saturday’s regional finals, with trips to sectionals on the line.
Speaking of sectionals, Bradford is the only county girls basketball team remaining in the WIAA playoffs of that sport. After claiming a Division 1 regional title last weekend, the Red Devils now face top-seeded and top-ranked Kettle Moraine in a sectional semifinal at 7 p.m. Thursday at Waukesha South High School. The winner advances to Saturday’s sectional final, where a trip to the State Tournament will be on the line.
Here are Kenosha.com Associate Editor Mike Johnson’s “Top 5 Events to Watch” this week, along with a weekly calendar of high school varsity sports involving county teams:
TOP 5 EVENTS TO WATCH
BRADFORD AT TREMPER (boys basketball, WIAA Division 1 regional quarterfinal)
Tuesday (Feb. 28), 7 p.m., Tremper High School (8560 26th Ave., Kenosha)
It doesn’t matter what the records of these teams are, because when they play each other, that one game always means plenty. This time, they’ll be playing to continue their seasons, with a berth in Friday’s regional semifinals and a trip to No. 1 seed Kettle Moraine on the line. The Trojans (5-17) got the No. 16 seed in the sectional group and Tuesday’s hosting rights over the No. 17 seed Red Devils (3-21), and Tremper will also be going for its third win this season over its crosstown rival. The Trojans topped the Red Devils, 61-49, on Jan. 10 at Tremper and 71-69 on Feb. 11 at Bradford. Junior guard DeJuan Graise (15.7 points per game) and senior forward Will Starks (13.5 points per game) lead the Trojans in scoring, while sophomore wing Andy Sauer leads the Red Devils with 12 points per game. For ticket information, click HERE.
BRADFORD VS. KETTLE MORAINE (girls basketball, WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal)
Thursday (March 2), 7 p.m., Waukesha South High School (401 E. Roberta Ave., Waukesha)
The Red Devils are two wins away from the first WIAA Division 1 State Tournament berth in program history. But to reach the State Tournament, scheduled for March 9-11 at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Bradford will have to overcome two major obstacles to win a sectional title. That starts Thursday night at Waukesha South High School – sectional games are played at neutral sites — against top-seeded and defending state champion Kettle Moraine, which has held down the No. 1 spot in Division 1 in the WisSports.net state coaches poll for seven weeks in a row and cruises into sectionals with a 24-1 record. Bradford, a No. 4 seed, enters Thursday’s matchup with a 20-6 mark after wins over Racine Case and Janesville Craig to claim a regional title. If Bradford can find a way to topple Kettle Moraine on Thursday night, then waiting in Saturday’s sectional final — which would be at Tremper — will be a familiar foe. Thursday night’s other sectional semifinal pits No. 3 seed Oak Creek at No. 2 seed Franklin, both Southeast Conference rivals of Bradford. In order, Franklin, Oak Creek and Bradford finished 1-2-3 in the SEC. In the regional final defeat of Craig this past Saturday at the Bradford Fieldhouse, senior forward Nevaeh Thomas racked up 28 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Red Devils, senior forward Syderah Farmer scored 17 points and sophomore forward Angela Parker added 15 points.
MILWAUKEE PULASKI/CARMEN SOUTH/CARMEN SOUTHEAST AT INDIAN TRAIL (boys basketball, WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal)
Friday (March 3), 7 p.m., Indian Trail High School and Academy (6800 60th St., Kenosha)
While Bradford and Tremper duke it out in a WIAA Division 1 regional quarterfinal on Tuesday night, the city’s other SEC school — Indian Trail — has a bye through Tuesday and kicks off its postseason run on Friday night in the regional semifinals. The Hawks (18-6) finished tied for second place in the Southeast Conference with Oak Creek, two games behind first-place Franklin, and received a No. 4 seed in their sectional group. Friday’s opponent is No. 13 seed Milwaukee Pulaski/Carmen South/Carmen Southeast, a combined program that competes in the Milwaukee City Conference Red Division and enters the postseason with a 6-13 record. The winner advances to Saturday’s regional final against either No. 12 seed Janesville Parker or No. 5 seed Waukesha South. Indian Trail would be the higher seed against either of those teams, so a win on Friday night means the Hawks would also be home Saturday night, with a regional title on the line. Junior forward Manasseh Stackhouse has had a breakout season for Indian Trail, as he finished the regular season first in the SEC in scoring at 22.1 points per game and second in rebounding at 8.9 per game. Also for the Hawks, senior guard Jackson Wilhelmson is averaging 15.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per contest.
WILMOT or WATERFORD AT WESTOSHA CENTRAL (boys basketball, WIAA Division 2 regional semifinal)
Friday (March 3), 7 p.m., Westosha Central High School (24617 75th St., Salem)
Westosha Central rolls into the WIAA Division 2 playoffs on a 16-game winning streak and received a No. 1 seed for the postseason after winning an outright Southern Lakes Conference championship. Now 21-2 overall, the Falcons were ranked No. 4 in Division 2 in the latest WisSports.net state coaches poll. They also received a bye through Tuesday’s regional quarterfinals, and coming to Central for Friday’s regional semifinals will be a familiar opponent, no matter what. Central will host the winner of Tuesday night’s regional quarterfinal between No. 9 seed Wilmot and No. 8 seed Waterford, which is at Waterford. Both teams are SLC foes of Central, and the Falcons swept both during the regular season. For Wilmot, which is 10-14 going into Tuesday’s regional quarterfinal matchup at Waterford, senior wing Cooper Zimmerman (14.1), senior guard Jake Christiansen (13.5) and sophomore guard Christian Irslinger (10.4) are averaging in double figures in scoring. Whoever wins Friday’s regional semifinal at Central advances to Saturday’s regional final against either No. 4 seed Union Grove or No. 5 seed Waukesha West, which would be hosted by the Falcons should they win Friday’s game. For Central, sophomore point guard Elijah Griffin is averaging 13.5 points and 7.5 assists per game – which ranks tied for third in the entire state, per WisSports.net — while senior guard John Kinzler is averaging 10.2 points per game.
LIVING WORD LUTHERAN or MILWAUKEE LIFELONG LEARNING AT ST. JOSEPH and MILWAUKEE DESTINY or MILWAUKEE JUNEAU AT CHRISTIAN LIFE (boys basketball, WIAA Division 4 regional semifinals)
Friday (March 3), 7 p.m., St. Joseph Catholic Academy (2401 69th St., Kenosha) and Christian Life School (10700 75th St., Kenosha)
It’s appropriate to cheat here and actually include two games for the final spot, because St. Joseph and Christian Life are linked into the same regional pod in the WIAA Division 4 playoffs and could play each other next. The Lancers received a No. 1 seed and the Eagles a No. 4 seed, so both have first-round byes through Tuesday’s regional quarterfinals and will host regional semifinal games Friday night. Should they win those games, they would then play each other at St. Joseph’s Madrigrano Gymnasium in a regional final matchup on Saturday, with a trip to sectionals on the line. But first things first, and that’s Friday night’s regional semifinal games. St. Joseph (14-10) hosts either No. 9 Living Word Lutheran (9-15) or No. 8 seed Milwaukee Lifelong Learning (6-12), who play each other in Tuesday’s regional quarterfinals in Milwaukee. CLS (11-13) hosts either No. 12 seed Milwaukee Destiny (2-13) or No. 5 seed Milwaukee Juneau (9-11), who play each other in Tuesday’s regional quarterfinals in Milwaukee. Both St. Joseph and Christian Life have featured a pair of high-scoring guards this season, as junior Eric Kenesie paces the Lancers with 21.3 points and 6.0 assists per game, both second in the Metro Classic Conference, and senior Sam Jennings leads the Eagles with 22.3 points per game, which leads the Midwest Classic Conference, and 9.7 rebounds per game, which ranks second in the conference.
HIGH SCHOOL CALENDAR
Boys basketball–Bradford at Tremper in WIAA Division 1 regional quarterfinal, 7 p.m.; Wilmot at Waterford in WIAA Division 2 regional quarterfinal, 7 p.m.; Saint Francis at Shoreland Lutheran in WIAA Division 3 regional quarterfinal, 7 p.m.
Girls basketball–Bradford vs. Kettle Moraine in WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal (Waukesha South), 7 p.m.
Boys basketball–Bradford-Tremper winner at Kettle Moraine in WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal, 7 p.m.; Milwaukee Pulaski/Carmen South/Carmen Southeast at Indian Trail in WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal, 7 p.m.; Wilmot-Waterford winner at Westosha Central in WIAA Division 2 regional semifinal, 7 p.m.; Saint Francis-Shoreland Lutheran winner at Waukesha Catholic Memorial in WIAA Division 3 regional semifinal, 7 p.m.; Living Word Lutheran-Milwaukee Lifelong Learning winner at St. Joseph in WIAA Division 4 regional semifinal, 7 p.m; Milwaukee Destiny-Milwaukee Juneau winner at Christian Life in WIAA Division 4 regional semifinal, 7 p.m. Gymnastics–Wilmot/Union Grove/Williams Bay’s Leeza Patterson (all-around) in WIAA Division 1 State Meet (Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln Fieldhouse), noon.
Boys basketball–Bradford-Tremper–Kettle Moraine winner vs. Milwaukee Reagan-Oak Creek winner in WIAA Division 1 regional final, TBD; Milwaukee Pulaski/Carmen South/Carmen Southeast-Indian winner vs. Janesville Parker-Waukesha South winner in WIAA Division 1 regional final, TBD; Wilmot-Waterford–Westosha Central winner vs. Waukesha West-Union Grove winner in WIAA Division 2 regional final, TBD; Saint Francis-Shoreland Lutheran–Waukesha Catholic Memorial winner vs. Clinton-St. Augustine Prep–St. Thomas More winner in WIAA Division 3 regional final, TBD; Living Word Lutheran-Milwaukee Lifelong Learning–St. Joseph winner vs. Milwaukee Destiny-Milwaukee Juneau–Christian Life winner in WIAA Division 4 regional final, TBD. Girls basketball–Bradford-Kettle Moraine winner vs. Oak Creek-Franklin winner in WIAA Division 1 sectional final (Tremper), 7 p.m. Gymnastics–Wilmot/Union Grove/Williams Bay’s Leeza Patterson (all-around) in WIAA Division 1 State Meet (Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln Fieldhouse), 10 a.m.