Evening State Sports Briefs: Finals set in Division 2 and 3 at state boys tourneyWisconsin Sports
-- La Crosse Aquinas and Lodi will square off tomorrow for the state boys’ high school Division 3 basketball championship while Pulaski will take on Wisconsin Lutheran in the Division 2 finals. All won their semifinal games at the Kohl Center today in the 98th WIAA State Boys Basketball Tournament.
MADISON - La Crosse Aquinas and Lodi will square off tomorrow for the state boys’ high school Division 3 basketball championship while Pulaski will take on Wisconsin Lutheran in the Division 2 finals. All won their semifinal games at the Kohl Center today in the 98th WIAA State Boys Basketball Tournament.
Aquinas defeated Little Chute 61-51 this morning. Then during the noon hour, Lodi eliminated East Troy, 54-46. East Troy was behind most of the way until Will Iloncaie made a dunk to tie the game with 35 seconds left – but East Troy never scored after that, and Lodi went 8-for-8 from the free throw line to seal its victory. Nate Dodge scored 16 for East Troy, which ended its season at 23-4. Shea Jordan scored 21 for Lodi, which improved to 24-3. In the Aquinas victory, University of Wisconsin point guard recruit Bronson Koenig had 14 points, four rebounds, and four assists.
In the Division 2 semis Pulaski pulled off the upset of the tournament so far as they dethroned top-ranked Onalaska 46-42 in overtime. The Red Raiders had only been to state three times before, none since 1989, and never won a game in the state tourney until today. Pulaski led by as many as nine points in the third quarter at 30-21. However, the Hilltoppers held the Red Raiders scoreless in the final minute of the period and through 6:15 into the fourth quarter and would tie the game at 33-33 to send it into overtime. Pulaski's Jordan Stiede opened the extra period with a three-pointer and the Red Raiders never relinquished the lead. Onalaska's Matt Thomas scored eight points in overtime, but Pulaski converted 8-of-11 free throws to fend off the defending champion.
UW-Milwaukee recruit Cody Wichmann scored 17 points to lead Pulaski while Stiede chipped in with 13. The Iowa State-bound Thomas led all scorers with 25 points.
In other D-2 semifinal Wisconsin Lutheran took control of the game against Stoughton in the second quarter and led by over 20 points at times in the second half as their quickness proved too much for Stoughton to handle in a 54-38 victory. Wisconsin Lutheran converted 10 Stoughton turnovers into 12 points. Stoughton was making its first trip to state since 1939.
The Division 1 semis are set for tonight. Unbeaten and defending champion Germantown goes against Oshkosh North, and Mukwonago faces Milwaukee Rufus King. Title games in five divisions are set for tomorrow starting at 11 a.m.
A late Purdue run ended the season of the University of Wisconsin women's basketball team in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament this afternoon at the Sears Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. The Badgers led the Boilermakers 42-37 with 15:55 to go in the second half when Purdue outscored them 37-20 for the remainder of the game. Jacki Gulczynski led Wisconsin in scoring with 21 points while teammate Tessa Cichy had 14 points. UW closes its season with a 12-19 record.
UW-Green Bay will face Illinois-Chicago tonight in the quarter-finals of the Horizon League men’s tournament in Valparaiso, Indiana. Tonight’s winner has a date with top-seeded Valpo in the semi-finals tomorrow. The Number-four Phoenix advanced with a 16-point win over UW-Milwaukee in their tournament opener on Tuesday night. Junior center Alec Brown dominated the middle while scoring 18 for Green Bay. Illinois-Chicago is seeded fifth. The Flames advanced by crushing Cleveland State 82-59 in Round-One. The Phoenix and UIC split their two games in the regular season. Green Bay won by six at home on January 12th, while Illinois-Chicago pulled out a three-point victory on its home floor January 31st. UIC is coached by former University of Wisconsin player and assistant coach Howard Moore.
UW-Whitewater will try to advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division III women’s basketball tournament, when it hosts Simpson of Iowa tonight. The winner will face either Hope College of Michigan or Saint Thomas of Saint Paul in tomorrow night’s quarter-finals. Whitewater was the only Wisconsin team to make the Sweet-16 round, after a 20-point win over Carthage of Kenosha in last weekend’s second round. Simpson advanced with an 88-84 victory over UW-Stevens Point. Meanwhile, the Division III men’s Round-of-32 will be played tomorrow. Whitewater plays at North Central of Illinois, and Stevens Point hosts Calvin College of Michigan.
The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team has one final chance to get home-ice advantage for the upcoming WCHA Playoffs and maybe even win a share of the MacNaughton Cup. The Badgers will close out their regular season against Saint Cloud State tonight and tomorrow night at the Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum in Madison. And Wisconsin needs at least a win and a tie to open their post-season at home the following weekend. The Badgers are tied for fourth in the WCHA with 31 points. But they’ll again be without senior center Derek Lee, who’s been out since February 25th with a knee injury. Saint Cloud State comes in at 17-8-1 in conference play, and they’ve already clinched home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Wisconsin is 12-7-7 in the league.
UW-Whitewater is the preseason favorite to win the WIAC baseball title. The league’s coaches and sports information directors gave the 11th-ranked Warhawks seven-of-14 possible first place votes. Marty Herum and Jared Fon, who shared the WIAC’s position player-of-the-year award in 2012, are both back for Whitewater. UW-La Crosse, which is ranked 16th in Division III, is picked to finish second in the conference. La Crosse won sole possession of the league crown a year ago for the first time since 1978. Stevens Point is predicted to finish third.
UW-La Crosse will go for back-to-back titles tomorrow at the WIAC gymnastics meet in Oshkosh. The event also serves as the West Regional qualifier for the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association’s tournament, to be held in Whitewater on March 22nd and 23rd. The top three conference finishers will advance to the nationals, along with selected individuals. Brittany DeZiel of UW-Stout has the nation’s third-best all-around score this season, with an average of 37.606
Team USA will play its opener tonight in the World Baseball Classic against a Mexican squad that’s already 0-1 in its three-game preliminary round. The forecast is for rain, but everything will stay dry under the retractable roof at Chase Field in Phoenix. Milwaukee Brewers’ right-hander Yovani Gallardo will try to get his native Mexico back-on-track, after an upset loss to Italy 6-5 yesterday. Gallardo will face an American squad that includes his Milwaukee teammates Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy. Pool-“D” also includes team Canada, which has Brewers John Axford and Jim Henderson in their bullpen. The Canadians open their preliminary round this evening against Italy at Chase Field. The Americans have never finished higher than fourth in the world tournament. They lost to Mexico in the second round in 2006, and they fell to Japan in the semi-finals in ’09. MLB Network will televise Team USA’s contest starting at eight o’clock.
Tramon Williams kept telling his fans he was just fine last year, when he really wasn’t. The Green Bay Packers’ defensive back now says he has still not fully recovered from nerve damage in his right shoulder, suffered almost two seasons ago. Williams collided with teammate Nick Collins in the 2011 season opener against New Orleans. Williams came clean about the aftermath of the injury in an interview with a radio station in Baltimore, where he’ll receive the Ed Block Courage Award on March 18th. It’s given to the player on each NFL team who demonstrates the most courage, dedication, and sportsmanship. Williams said he should have taken more time off after his injury – but he came back after taking one game off because thought the Packers needed him. He said he wanted to prove that his team could count on him, even if he’s hurt. Williams said his shoulder nerves are getting better – and he says the rehab is a long, slow process. He’s hoping things get back to normal this year. Williams is 29 with two years left on his current contract with Green Bay.
The Milwaukee Admirals will try to gain some ground in the American Hockey League playoff race, when they play a home-and-home series with Chicago this weekend. Game-One is tonight at the Bradley Center, and Game-Two is tomorrow night in the Windy City. The Admirals are four points away from the eighth-and-final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Chicago is second in the Midwest Division, five points behind Grand Rapids. Austin Wilson of the Admirals has played especially well against Chicago, with four goals and four assists against the Wolves this season.
The University of Wisconsin has the third-largest number of men’s athletes competing in the NCAA Division I indoor track meet today and tomorrow in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Badgers have seven competitors who advanced to the nationals – including Japheth Cato, who has the top-seed in the heptathlon with a Big Ten record 6,090 points. The Badger women have four representatives in their meet. Senior Jessica Flax and sophomore Deanna Latham are the nation’s only set of teammates in the pentathlon. Flax won the endurance series two weeks ago at the Big Ten meet.
Jessica Watychowicz of UW-Parkside is the only Wisconsin athlete in the Division II national meet in Birmingham, Alabama. She’ll compete in the 5000-meter run tonight, and the 3000-meter run tomorrow.
As always, Wisconsin is well represented at the NCAA Division III indoor track meet in Naperville, Illinois today and tomorrow. Two athletes from the Badger State have top seeds in two events each, for recording the nation’s best performances in their events this winter. They are Isaac Vazquez of UW-La Crosse in the men’s long jump and triple jump, and Christy Cazzola of Oshkosh in the women’s mile and five-thousand meters. Breanna Strupp of Oshkosh has the state’s only other women’s Number-One seed, that being in the shot put. Other men’s top seeds from Wisconsin are Aric Hoeschen of La Crosse in the 400-meters, Dan Sullivan of Stevens Point in the mile, Marcus Smith of Whitewater in the 60-meter hurdles, Bryan Klister of La Crosse in the pole vault, Nick Baatz of Oshkosh in the shot put, and Zach Anderson of Stout in the heptathlon.