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View from the cheap seats

View from the cheap seats View from the cheap seats

A weekly perspective on sports

Casey Krautkramer Reporter The Record-Review

The WIAA has released its revised 2021 boys and girls basketball tournament series divisional assignments, in response to the number of teams that have declared they’ll not be participating in postseason play this year because of COVID-19.

I’m just happy there’ll actually be a state tournament for the varsity boys and girls basketball teams this season, even if the games will be played at closer gyms such as D.C. Everest and Wausau West. The WIAA hasn’t determined the locations of the state boys and girls basketball tournaments yet.

This news won’t take back the heartache the Stratford varsity boys basketball team experienced last season, after its dreams of advancing to state for the first time in school history were dashed because of COVID-19. Stratford needs to erect a 2019-20 team banner in the gym that reads “undefeated season” if it hasn’t already been done.

The news is great, however, for this season’s very experienced and talented Edgar varsity boys basketball squad. The Wildcats’ starting five players of Kyle Brewster, Konnor Wolf, Brayden Baumgartner, Austin Dahlke and Drew Guden will attempt to get the team back to the state championship for the first time since 1997.

I still recall riding an Edgar fan bus with my uncle, Lenny Berg, to watch my first cousin, John Berg and his Wildcat teammates play Randolph in the Divison 4 state title game at the UW Fieldhouse. A framed picture of the 1996-97 Edgar boys basketball state championship team is hung on the northeast corner wall inside Edgar High School’s gym to remind the 2020-21 squad what’s at stake this season.

Edgar’s 1996-97 state championship team had talented players such as Ryan Bargender, Chad Guenther, Eric Totzke, Nathan Lehman and Dean Thurs.

This year’s Edgar squad is paired in a Division 4 regional with archrival Marathon, Athens, Abbotsford, Spencer and Thorp. Edgar might have just defeated Marathon and Athens in the regular season, but the Red Raiders and Bluejays will be tough to beat in the playoffs.

Stratford’s boys basketball team is paired in a Division 3 regional with Chequamegon, Colby, Neillsville and Stanley-Boyd. Boys basketball regional play begins on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

The Athens girls basketball squad finds itself in a Division 5 regional with Mercer, Newman Catholic, Owen-Withee, Prentice and Rib Lake. Girls basketball regional games start one week before the boys.

A Division 4 girls regional includes Abbotsford, Cadott, Edgar, Marathon, Spencer and Thorp. Stratford is in a Division 3 regional with Colby, Neillsville, Osseo-Fairchild and Stanley-Boyd. Let the fun begin!