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Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Kings Are Dead

Live stats :: Streaming audio (ESPN 1070)

Three defending champions bit the dust in WIAA State Tournament play during another round of great games on Friday, meaning there will be no repeat winners this year. Four new champions will be crowned today as the tourney concludes.

Divisions 2 & 4 got underway yesterday, with the Division 1 semifinals afterwards. The underdogs had their day in D2. Adams-Friendship halted big bad Plymouth on a 3-pointer by Ben Pease in the final 10 seconds. Then New Berlin Eisenhower knocked off defending champ Monroe, 53-49.

In D4, Suring and Eleva-Strum advanced, with the latter easily dispensing of traditional Randolph It will be a clash of the only two unbeaten teams remaining in Wisconsin. Both teams are 26-0, but the player to watch is Suring's Josh Regal. He and Jeronne Maymon have been generating the biggest buzz this weekend as far as individual players are concerned.

A final defending champion, Oshkosh West, engineered a valiant comeback before succumbing to Madison Memorial, 61-58. The well-groomed Spartans were hitting shots left and right as the game began, overwhelming the Wildcats with their athleticism. Memorial had leads of 12-0, 26-9 and ultimately 49-24 after a lay-up by sophomore guard Tre Creamer with just under seven minutes left to play.
At that point, West implemented tenacious pressure of it's own. They forced the young Spartan guards into some of the worst decisions I have ever seen on the basketball court. The Wildcats picked off pass after pass that resulted in 21 unanswered points. And no, this was not a football game. However, Memorial's star remained unfrazzled. Maymon took over the ball-handling duties with few problems and was able to extend the lead back to a comfortable level by sinking enough free throws in the final two minutes.

Right now, Maymon is a man among boys. Both of West's huge post players eventually fouled out, but it warrants mentioning that 6'8" sophomore David Anderson looked pretty impressive. Anderson seemed much more coordinated and well-built than you might expect for a player his age and size. Senior John Benkoske, who will follow several Oshkosh West alumni and play NCAA ball for Loyola (Chicago) next year, had a quiet night but Anderson shot 6-of-12 with three blocks [box score].

Memorial (23-2) will play a deep Wauwatosa East (25-1) team -- which defeated rival Brookfield Central in the other D1 semifinal -- around 8:30 p.m. tonight. A loaded LaCrosse Aquinas squad goes for it's first title at the D3 level against Iola-Scandinavia as well. The WIAA website has box scores and schedules for all tournament games. Dennis Semrau of The Capital Times made some predictions this morning and I tend to agree with all his picks, except for D4 where I am pulling for the 5'9" Regal and his Suring teammates. They currently lead Eleva-Strum 14-8 at the end of the first quarter. (Ed. note: Thanks to a Blogger service interruption, this post didn't appear as soon as I would have liked; Eleva-Strum now leads in the 3rd Q)

More tourney links:
JSonline's Preps Plus | Cap Times' Prep Work | Wishoops's March blogness

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