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Plum City takes on Royall in boys' hoops sectional match-up

Plum City plays its first WIAA sectional basketball game in nine years Thursday when takes on Royall at Neillsville High School. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

PC won the Division 5 Mondovi Regional 34-32 over Chippewa Falls McDonell last weekend. While the Blue Devils defense was superb throughout the regional tournament, head coach Paul Churchill knows Plum City will need more than defense to win the La Crosse Central Sectional.

"We need to get our game on offense going and that means we need more balanced scoring," Churchill said. "We need more players to step up with the basketball and be scoring options, especially our seniors."

Plum City is 15-8 overall and Royall comes into the match-up with a 19-6 record. Both teams are No. 2 seeds from the regionals. The Panthers finished third in the Scenic Bluffs Conference but upended league champ Hillsboro in the Wonewoc-Center Regional final 47-46.

The Panthers are the defending small school sectional champions, making it to the state semifinals before losing to eventual champion Randolph last season.

Royall, which is located in Elroy, is led in scoring by 6-2 junior forward Gabe Ness who averages 13.5 points per game. Teammate Sam Murphy is next on the list averaging over 12 points per game, and the 6-4 sophomore is one of the Panthers' starting guards. Royall will also continue their height advantage over the Blue Devils with 6-5 senior center Kody Vaassen. The Panthers have won at least 17 games or more the past three seasons.

The winner of this contest will take on the winner of the No. 11 Wauzeka-Steuben (22-2) vs. No. 2 Benton (24-1) match-up down in Mineral Point in the other half of the bracket. The sectional final is set for Saturday at 4 p.m. at La Crosse Central High School.