WIAA Boys State Basketball Tournament Preview

THE STATE TOURNAMENT:  The 106th Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Boys Basketball State Tournament will take place Thursday-Saturday, March 17-19, at the Kohl Center on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis.

HOWTOGETTICKETS: Ticket prices for the tourney are $11 per session for all seating purchased at the Kohl Center. Ticket windows are available one hour prior to the start of any session. Tickets are available online for $11 plus fees. Online tickets are print-at-home, available at the will-call window or through mobile delivery.

WIAA Boys Basketball Sectional Final Scoreboard: Livestream info, team stats, scores

WIAA Boys Sectional Semifinal Scoreboard : Preview, Livestream Links and Computer Prediction

STATE TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE:  The single elimination tournament features a five-division format with four teams qualifying in each of the five divisions. This is the first year the State Tournament is seeded by a WIAA-designed computer formula.

Thursday, March 17

DIVISION 3
Semifinals – Thursday, March 17
Game-1:  #1 West Salem vs. #4 Brillion – 1:35 p.m.
Game-2:  #2 Lake Country Lutheran vs. #3 Saint Thomas More – Approx. 15 minutes following Game-1

DIVISION 4
Semifinals – Thursday, March 17
Game-1:  #1 Milwaukee Academy of Science vs. #4 Cameron – 6:35 p.m.
Game-2:  #2 Roncalli vs. #3 Marshall – Approx. 15 minutes following Game-1

WIAA State Girls Basketball State Finals Scoreboard

WIAA Girls Basketball State Semifinal Scoreboard: Livestream, Records, Stats, Computer Predictions

Friday, March 18

DIVISION 5
Semifinals – Friday, March 18
Game-1:  #1 Randolph vs. #4 Gibraltar – 9:05 a.m.
Game-2:  #2 Bangor vs. #3 Hurley – Approx. 15 minutes following Game-1

DIVISION 2
Semifinals – Friday, March 18
Game-1:  #1 Pewaukee vs. #4 Ashwaubenon (24-4) – 1:35 p.m.
Game-2:  #2 La Crosse Central (27-1) vs. #3 Westosha Central – Approx. 15 minutes following Game-1

DIVISION 1
Semifinals – Friday, March 18

Game-1:  #1 Neenah (27-1) vs. #4 Racine Case – 6:35 p.m.
Game-2:  #2 Menomonee Falls (25-3) vs. #3 Brookfield Central – Approx. 15 minutes following Game-1

Saturday, March 19
3-Point Challenge – 9:30 a.m.
Division 5 Championship Game – 11:05 a.m.
Division 4 Championship Game*
Division 3 Championship Game*
Division 2 Championship Game – 6:35 p.m.
Division 1 Championship Game*

*Note: Subsequent games of each session will begin approximately 15 minutes following the previous game.

STATE TOURNAMENT ON THE AIR:  The State Tournament will be televised live on WKOW-TV in Madison, WAOW-TV in Wausau, WXOW-TV in La Crosse, WQOW-TV in Eau Claire, WYOW-TV in Eagle River, WMOW-TV in Crandon, WMLW-TV in Milwaukee and WCWF W-14 in Green Bay and the Fox Valley. The Wisconsin Division of Allen Media, Inc., will produce the coverage. The championships will also be streamed on the statewide network station websites. Also, download the Magic of March app for live streaming video, scores, highlights and more about the WIAA State basketball tournaments. Live coverage of the tournaments on iOS or Android phones and tablets are also available on the app.

POST-GAME MEDIA CONFERENCES STREAMED:  The post-game media conferences will be shown live without subscription on the WIAA.tv portal of the NFHS Network immediately following each game. Register on the NFHS Network website prior to the media conference.

TOURNAMENT HISTORY:  The first WIAA State Boys Basketball Tournament was held in 1916. The Kohl Center has hosted the championships since moving from the UW Field House in 1998. During the COVID-19 pandemic the tournament was canceled in 2020 and held at two separate locations in 2021, the La Crosse Center for Divisions 2, 4, and 5, and at the Menominee Nation Arena in Oshkosh for Divisions 1 and 3. The tournament featured a one-class format until 1934 when, for two years (1934-35), there were two classes. From 1936 until 1939, the tournament increased to three classes, and then returned to the one class format in 1940. A one-class tourney prevailed until 1972 when it again became a two-class event. The tourney went to three classes again in 1974 and remained that way until a four-division format was adopted in 1991. The 2011 State Tournament introduced the first five-division format and qualifying four teams from each division. Randolph has won 10 State championships, the most titles won by any member school. Beloit and Dominican have won seven championships. Racine St. Catherine’s and Stevens Point have won six titles, and Milwaukee King, Milwaukee Vincent and Milwaukee Lincoln have each won five. There have been 129 different schools that have won championships. Neenah has qualified for the most State Tournaments with 28, and Superior is next with 27, followed by Beloit with 26, and then Eau Claire with 25.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 1 FIELD:  Top-seeded Neenah qualifies for the first time since 2019 and for the membership-leading 28th time in the school’s history. The Rockets have won three championships. Those came in 1930, 1975 and 1978. In addition, they have an abundance of runner-up results, including 1920, 1939, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1988 and 2014.  The Rockets are the champions in the Fox Valley Association this season, and they advance to the final four in the bracket following a 62-47 victory over Eau Claire Memorial in the D.C. Everest Sectional final. It’s the first time Menomonee Falls, the #2 seed, has advanced to the State Tournament in the school’s history.  The Phoenix earned the opportunity to continue their quest for their first championship with a 74-70 win over De Pere in the Hartford Sectional final. They are the champions in the Greater Metro Conference in 2022. Third-seeded Brookfield Central is making its 12th overall appearance and its first since capturing the State crown in 2019. Prior to that season, the Lancers’ furthest advance in the tournament was to the semifinals in 2000, 2002 and 2008 when the tourney featured eight teams in Division  1 and again in 2017 with four teams in the division. They finished runner-up in the Greater Metro Conference standings behind Menomonee Falls, the second seed in the bracket. The Lancers advance to State this season out of the West Allis Central Sectional with a 72-61 win over Sun Prairie in the final. Racine Case is the fourth seed. The Eagles return to State for the first time since 2005 and for the eighth time overall. Their most crowning achievement in the tournament was winning the gold trophy in 1999. Prior to that, their furthest advance was to the semifinal round. The Eagles are the champions of the Southeast Conference this season. They navigated through the Mukwonago Sectional and culminated their path to State with a 58-47 win over Waukesha South in the final.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 2 FIELD:  Defending champion Pewaukee was issued the top seed. The Pirates are making their third appearance at State overall. In addition to last year’s championship, they finished runner-up in Division 2 back in 2001. This season, the Pirates were co-champions in the West Division of the Woodland Conference with Wisconsin Lutheran. They continue their quest for back-to-back titles after a convincing 82-65 win over Wisconsin Lutheran in the sectional final hosted by New Berlin West. La Crosse Central returns to the tournament field for the first time since the last of four consecutive appearances in 2019 and for the 19th time overall.  That run of four experiences produced a State title in 2017. Prior to that, the Riverhawks’ history in the State tournament dates back to the 1920s. They made nine consecutive appearances from 1920-28. That string of experiences produced a State title in 1925. Another notable finish came in 1979 when the Riverhawks placed runner-up in Division 1. They are the champions of the Mississippi Valley Conference this season, and they advanced to the State semifinals with a 56-47 victory over Medford in the Eau Claire North Sectional final. Third-seeded Westosha Central qualifies for the tournament for the second time. The Falcons’ only other experience at State resulted in a  loss in the semifinals in 2018. Their return to the Kohl Center comes virtue of a 79-48 triumph over Oregon in the Watertown Sectional final. The Falcons are the champions of the Southern Lakes Conference this winter. Ashwaubenon, the fourth seed, is also making its second trip to the State Tournament. The Jaguars lost their quarterfinal match-up in Division 1 in their first-ever appearance in 2006.  They beat Nicolet 92-71 in the final of the West  Bend East to move into the State semifinals. The Jaguars finished third in the Fox River Classic Conference this season.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 3 FIELD:  Top-seeded West Salem celebrates its first-ever trip to State following the Panthers’ 63-48 win versus Baldwin-Woodville in the Arcadia Sectional final. During the regular season, the Panthers won the title in the Coulee Conference. Last season’s runner-up  Lake Country Lutheran is the #2 seed in the bracket after qualifying for the first time last year. The Lightning are the champions in the Midwest Classic Conference this season. They will make their second run at a title after a 61-56 win over Columbus in the sectional final conducted at Beaver Dam. Third-seeded St. Thomas More  will be experiencing the State Tournament for the first time after defeating Big Foot 69-61 in the sectional final played at Whitewater. They are the 2022 champions of the Metro Classic Conference. Prior to joining the WIAA, the Cavaliers won a Class A championship in 1988 and finished runner-up in 1980 and 1994 while a member of WISAA. Fourth-seeded Brillion qualifies for the State Tournament for the fourth time. The Lions won the Division 3 championship in 2012. They earned their berth this season by edging Freedom 39-38 in the Two Rivers Sectional final. Brillion was runner-up in the Eastern Wisconsin Conference this year.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 4 FIELD:  The Milwaukee Academy of Science has been issued the top seed in the bracket. The Novas will be experiencing State for the first time. They defeated Howards Grove 93-74 in the sectional final played at Brown Deer. They are an independent program without a conference affiliation. Second-seeded Roncalli is making its first appearance since a run of three straight experience from 2017-19 and its ninth overall. The crowning accomplishment in their  eight prior appearances was a State title in 2018. The Jets return to the tournament field this year following an 52-45 win over Iola-Scandinavia in the Appleton East Sectional final. They are the champions in the Eastern Wisconsin Conference. Third-seeded Marshall returns to the State Tournament for the first time since 2012 and for sixth time overall. The Cardinals won the State championship in Division 3 in 2002 and was runner-up in 2000. They finished third in the South Division of the Capitol Conference this season, and  they reach the State semifinals following a 64-45 victory over Luther in the final of the Baraboo Sectional. Cameron, the #4 seed, qualifies for the State Tournament for the third time. The first two experiences came back-to-back in 2016 and 2017. The first of those appearances was the most notable with a runner-up finish. This season, the Comets defeated Durand 71-65 in the final of the Osseo-Fairchild Sectional to advance to the State semifinals. They are the runners-up to Northwestern in the Heart O’ North  Conference this year.

ABOUT THE DIVISION 5 FIELD: Top-seeded Randolph returns to State for the 16th time. The Rockets own the distinction of having won the most titles of any school in the membership with 10. They won four straight Division 4 titles from 2002-05 to go with titles in 1996, 1998, 2007 as well back-to-back championships in 2010-11 and another in Division 5 in their most recent appearance in 2013. They also added a runner-up finish in 1997. The Rockets are the champions of the West Division of the Trailways Conference this year. In qualifying this season, they escaped the Fond du Lac Sectional final with a 43-41 win in overtime against Cambria-Friesland the same day the Randolph girls basketball team captured the Division 5 title. Second-seeded Bangor also needed overtime to advance from its sectional, defeating Southwestern 79-74 in the final played at Prairie du Chien. The Cardinals will appear at State for the fourth time overall and for the first time since back-to-back appearances in 2018-19, winning  the championship in 2018. During the regular season, they  placed atop the Scenic Bluffs Conference standings. We dialed back the clock 73 years to find the last time Hurley qualified for the State Tournament. The Northstars, the #3 seed, are making their fifth appearance overall. They won the State championship in 1949 when there was only one division in the Tournament Series, downing La Crosse Logan 37-36 in the title game. They finished third in their first-ever appearance in 1943 when the WIAA conducted a third-place game, and they were runner-up to Beloit Memorial in 1947. In addition, they lost in the quarterfinals in 1948 but won the consolation round title back when that was part of the State Tournament schedule. The Northstars  are the champions of the Indianhead Conference this season, and they will head south to the Kohl Center following a 41-38 win over Athens in the Chequamegon Sectional final. Fourth-seeded Gibraltar makes its first appearance in the State Tournament. The Vikings’ improbable berth in the semifinals as the fifth seed in the Pulaski Sectional culminated with a 55-49 conquest of Columbus Catholic. The Vikings finished fifth in the Packerland Conference this season.

THREE-POINT CHALLENGE: The WIAA will again conduct the 3-Point Challenge after cancelling it in 2020 and 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Challenge will be held prior to Saturday’s championship games. The event will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Kohl Center. A ticket for the Divisions 3, 4 and 5 championship games session is required for admittance. The top two players per division were selected for the contest based on the best 3-point field goal percentage with a minimum of 75 attempts during the regular season. The contestants representing Division 1 are Tim Franks of Homestead and Jack Jorgensen of De Pere. Representing Division 2 are Severin Hilt of West Bend East and Joshua Knueppel of Wisconsin Lutheran. The Division 3 participants are Cameron Pendleton of Catholic Memorial and DJ Johnson of Dominican. Division 4 will be represented by Cameron Martzke of Fall Creek and Ashe Oglesby of The Prairie School; and the Division 5 contestants are Blake Jakobi of Columbus Catholic and Andrew Lau of Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran. Visit the information on the WIAA website for more details on the 3-Point Challenge.

NEED RESULTS?:  The quickest way to get results will be to access the WIAA website wiaawi.org and choose the Tournament Information link on the home page or the boys basketball home page.

ORDER STATE TOURNAMENT APPAREL ONLINE:  Fans can commemorate their experience at the 2022 State Boys Basketball Tournament at the Kohl Center with exclusive souvenir merchandise and apparel for sale at Bucky’s Locker Room located in the concourse outside Section 101. Additional WIAA State Boys Basketball  Tournament apparel is available online now. Access the boy basketball tournament page on the WIAA website for a link to the online store through a partnership with Games People Play.

COVID PROVISIONS:  Fully vaccinated individuals should consider wearing a mask in areas of high likelihood of transmission. In addition, masks are strongly encouraged for individuals not fully vaccinated.

FOLLOW STATE TOURNEY ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Receive updates of the State Boys Basketball Tournament on the WIAA State Tournament Twitter account @wiaawistate with the hashtag #wiaabb, and also like us on Facebook.

TITLE IX 50TH ANNIVERSARY RECOGNITION: The WIAA launched a year-long celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of Title IX legislation at the  first-ever State Girls Individual Wrestling Tournament in January. A complimentary commemorative program will be available at all State Tournaments throughout the year. Participants in all girls’ State Tournaments this year will receive a commemorative bag tag, and recognition of the campaign will be promoted on tournament signage, t-shirt giveaways, stories and facts on the WIAA website and social media platforms.

We welcome your stories! Contact us at [email protected]!

David Keech
Author: David Keech

David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]