Posted on

Seeding completed for girls basketball tournaments; regionals start Feb. 25

Division 2

The Medford Raiders (16-6 overall, 7-5 Great Northern Conference) drew the seventh seed in their half of the La Crosse Logan sectional and will host 10th-seeded Rice Lake (6-15 overall, 1-10 Big Rivers Conference) in their regional opener Tuesday.

The half-bracket features an obvious number-one seed in River Falls, who leads the Big Rivers at 11-0 and is 19-2 overall, and an improved group from the Mississippi Valley Conference, of course, just in time for Medford’s addition to this side of the bracket.

River Falls gets nearly 17 points per game, 8.5 rebounds and four assists per game out of 5-7 North Dakota State recruit Kylie Strop. The Wildcats lost two of their first three games to Minnesota schools and carry an 18-game winning streak into Friday’s season finale at Chippewa Falls.

La Crosse Central (9-3 MVC, 16-6 overall) dropped to the third seed in the bracket but clinched second place in its conference with a 50-29 win over Onalaska Tuesday. The Red Raiders gave River Falls a run on Jan. 14, losing 48-41 and swept Onalaska this season, also beating the Hilltoppers 55-50 on the road back on Jan. 17.

Onalaska has been a consistent contender in this sectional and has an early-season 54-48 win over highly-ranked DeForest to its credit. The Hilltoppers finished 8-4 in league play with two losses each to Central and Division 4 juggernaut La Crosse Aquinas.

New Richmond (17-4) has had a stellar year in the Middle Border Conference, going 11-2. They’ll finish second behind unbeaten Prescott, who the Tigers host Friday. The Tigers lost 46-43 to La Crosse Central on Dec. 14 and 49-34 to River Falls on Jan. 6. They beat Menomonie early in the year 60-46.

Medford went 16-2 this season against anyone not named Rhinelander or Lakeland.

–– Sports Editor Matt Frey

Division 5

The Gilman Pirates and Rib Lake Lady Redmen were sent to their separate ways this season by the WIAA with Gilman staying in the west and Rib Lake getting shipped to the Bowler sectional.

Gilman could be a factor in its sectional. The Pirates are a solid 16-5 and tied Colby for third in the Eastern Cloverbelt Conference at 11-5. They’re led by the senior tandem of Grace Grunseth and Emma Warner and a strong sophomore class. Gilman’s 51-50 win over Neillsville on Dec. 5 is a sign of what it’s capable of.

Gilman drew the fourth seed in the Colfax side of the bracket and will host 13th-seeded Clayton (7-14, 3-7 Central Lakeland) Tuesday in its opener. Clayton is the four-time sectional champion but getting to five isn’t likely.

Clear Lake (20-0, 10-0 Central Lakeland) appears to be the team to beat on the Colfax side. The Warriors feature many of the same players that won the Division 4 state volleyball championship in the fall. Madison Zimmer averages nearly 14 points and eight rebounds per game. Clear Lake handled fifthseeded McDonell 75-58 on Dec. 9 and swept second-seeded Prairie Farm 63-53 and 61-44. Their non-conference competition hasn’t been great, so it will be interesting to see how they fare as the tournament road gets more challenging.

The same goes for second-seeded Prairie Farm, who sits at 16-2 overall.

Loyal (17-4), on the other hand, could be an interesting three-seed to watch. The Greyhounds swept Gilman and finished second in the Eastern Cloverbelt at 13-3. They’re led by 17 points-per-game senior Remi Geiger.

No one is likely counting out fifth-seeded McDonell (13-8), who took third in the Western Cloverbelt at 10-4 and could be Gilman’s regional semifinal opponent Feb. 28.

Rib Lake (1-14 Marawood North, 2-19 overall) drew the 12th seed in the Mosinee half of the Bowler sectional and will go to fifth-seeded Northland Lutheran (15-3, 8-1 Central Wisconsin North) in Tuesday’s regional opener. The Wildcats did well in their league and knocked off Columbus Catholic 30-25 on Jan. 31 when the Dons were missing star Addison Baierl. But a 66-25 loss to third-seeded Edgar Tuesday is concerning.

The half-bracket’s headliner is top-seeded Newman Catholic, who is 17-4 overall and 13-2 in Marawood Conference play. The Cardinals are the two-time defending sectional champions and are led by a strong senior trio of Julia Seidel, Jadelyn Ganski and Lauren Shields.

Newman’s wins include an early-season 60-53 victory over Rhinelander, a Division 2 team, and a season sweep of Edgar 58-45, and 41-40.

Third-seeded Edgar (15-6, 10-5 Marawood South) won’t be easy to knock out and fourth-seeded Prentice (14-7, 10-5 Marawood North) showed they’re a force to be reckoned with as well when they upset Newman Catholic 59-47 on Friday. Prentice features one of the top players in the sectional in high-scoring senior guard Kaelyn Isaacson, who averages 21 points per game.

Second-seeded Wild Rose (17-3) is 11-0 in the Central Wisconsin South and could be an interesting matchup for Edgar if they meet in the regional final. They get 22 points per game from senior guard Anna Caswell.

–– Sports Editor Matt Frey