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County girls' hoops teams begin regional play Tuesday

Regional tournaments from high school girls basketball get underway across the state tonight at 7 p.m. All of Pierce County's teams except Prescott will be on the road.

The Cardinals are the No. 2 seed in its regional despite their 8-14 record and the fact they've won only one game in their last eight. PHS is hoping playing a tough schedule will help it in a Division 3 Somerset Regional that only features two teams with winning records, No. 1 seeded St. Croix Central, 13-8. fresh off an upset win over Boycevile, and No. 3 seeded St. Croix Falls, also 13-8.

Prescott will more than likely play SCF in the regional semifinals if both teams can get past their first round opposition, which for the Redbirds is Webster, 7-13 overall. The Tigers will be led by the Lakeland West Conference second leading scorer, Michelle Gibbs, averaging 13.7 points per game.

I the same Division 3 regional St. Croix Central hosts No. 8 seed Spring Valley, 5-17 overall. The Cardinals took the Panthers down to the wire the last time they played. Central only won by a 36-35 score. The winner of this game gets either Clear Lake, 8-14 overall, or Glenwood City, 5-15 in the 4-5 seed match-up.

The Division 2 Spring Valley Regional is forcing teams to earn their way to sectionals. Middle Border Conference champ Durand, 16-6 overall, is only a No. 3 seed in this regional. Ellsworth has to travel to Altoona as the No. 5 seed to take on a similar 13-9 squad in Altoona, the No. 4 seed. The Railroaders are led in scoring by Ariel Gillespe, who averages nine points per game and scored 13 to lead her club in 52-47 loss to Spencer last week. Altoona plays the usually tough Cloverbelt Conference.

The winner has the unenviable task of play up at No. 2 seeded Rice Lake, who finished second in the Division 1-school Big Rivers Conference with a 10-2 mark (17-5 overall). The Warriors' Alyssa Anderson led her team with 21 points in a win over Ashland last week.

In Division 4 action, in the Durand Regional, Elmwood, 3-16 overall, the No. 7 seed, is at No. 2 seeded Chippewa Falls McDonell, 9-13 overall, while No. 8 seed Plum City will look for its first win of the season at No. 1 seed Eleva-Strum, 14-8 overall, the Dairyland Conference Large Division champion.

438 girls' high school basketball teams will begin their quest for a state title tonight. Thirty-seven other teams will have first-round byes - including one of last year's four divisional champions, Milwaukee Vincent. The other returning champs - Grafton, Amherst, and Menasha Saint Mary's will all play in tonight's first round, and none have the top seeds in their brackets. Saint Mary's is seeded the lowest at number-five.

Tonight's winners will advance to the next round on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the final girls' AP poll came out yesterday. De Pere is atop Division-One, followed by Milwaukee Vincent, Nicolet, and Beaver Dam. Monroe leads Division-Two, after moving up from the second spot. Freedom dropped to second, and Columbus is third. Cuba City topped the Division-Three for the entire season. Brillion and Osseo-Fairchild are second-and-third. Minong Northwood is the AP's final number-one in Division-Four. Wausau Newman and Black Hawk are second and third.