County teams hoping recent good play leads to regional successPierce County boys' basketball teams are hoping recent success of the past few weeks leads to advancement through WIAA regional tournament which begin tonight.
By: Sean Scallon, Pierce County Herald
Pierce County boys' basketball teams are hoping recent successes of the past few weeks lead to advancement through WIAA regionals which begin tonight.
In Division 2, Ellsworth, fresh off a big 76-59 win that denied Osceola an outright Middle Border Conference title, is the No.5 seed in their Division 2 Osseo-Fairchild Regional and play at No. 4 seed Sparta. The winner takes on No. 1 seed Black River Falls Thursday at BRF.
The Spartans have the higher seed despite a 5-15 overall record by virtue playing in the big-school Mississippi Valley Conference. But last year the Panthers, 8-12 overall, won their first regional contest in nine years with a win over Cumberland and Ellsworth head coach Cory Brathol hopes the same late effort will repeat itself.
"When we've put forth good effort and good overall play, we just haven't come close, we won our games and that gives us the hope we can take that through the tournament." Brathol said.
The Spartans area coming off a 74-51 beating at the hands of La Crosse Logan. Sparta is led in scoring by Kevin Rassmussen averaging 13.7 points per game. Teammate Jordan Laufenberg is scoring over 12 points per game.
You have to string to gether wins to win a regional tournament title and one club that has recently tied together two W's is Prescott. Last week the Cardinals beat Baldwin-Woodville and Durand both on the road and are arguably playing their best ball of the season right now.
"We're playing with more consistency at both ends of the floor and that started back in the Osceola game we should have won to now where we have won our last two games. We're looking forward to continue that success in the tournament," Prescott head coach Corey Morning said to KDWA AM 1460 radio.
The Cards, 6-14 overall, are the No. 3 seed in the Division 3 Amery Regional. PHS is at No. 3 seed St. Croix Falls, 13-7 overall. The Saints finished third in the Lakeland West Conference behind two top-ranked programs in No. 4 Luck and No. 14 Grantsburg, which is the No. 1 seed in the regional. The Saints are big up front, with line-up of 6-6 Kyle Christensen and 6-5 Ryan Larson and 6-5 Austin Whittenberger. The winner of this contest plays a reeling and teetering No. 2 seed Glenwood City, 12-8 overall, losers of their last five in a row, or 3-17 Boyceville the No. 7 seed.
In Division 4, all three county teams come into tournament play off of wins last week. Particularly hot is Plum City, 11-9 overall, which has also won its last two ballgames. The Blue Devils are a No. 4 seed in the Arcadia Regional and host No. 5 seed Cochrane-Fountain City, 10-10 overall. The Pirates played almost .500 ball in a tough Dairyland Conference this season and are led by 6-4 senior John Schmidtknecht in scoring as he averages 15.3 per contest.
The D-SC did not fare too well outside of league play this season, a concern for Elmwood, 7-13 overall, which lost both of its non-conference games this season. EHS travels to No. 3 seed Alma, 13-7 overall. The Rivermen spent a week in the Top 15 of the WSN Coaches Poll and are led in scoring by Jordan Ludwigson with 12 points per game and Grant Hickman at 11 points per game. Ludwigson is a guard and Hickman a forward.
Gilmanton, which is also 13-7 overall and tied with the Rivermen for second in the Small Dairyland Conference, is the No. 1 seed in the regional. Behind the Panthers is No. 2 seed Spring Valley, 12-8 overall. The Cardinals host No. 7 seed Pepin, 5-15 overall. The Lakers too, have had some recent success, beating Glenwood City 58-51 in the final regular season game. Pepin's Travis Heit is one of the top five scorers in the Dunn-St. Croix this season.More from around the web