It’s beaten the No. 3 seed. It’s beaten the No. 2 seed. Now facing the No. 1-seeded Shiocton at 7 p.m. tonight in Kaukauna, can the No. 6-seeded Reedsville boys basketball team pull off yet another WIAA Division 4 State Boys Basketball Tournament upset and advance to a sectional championship game?
“They are very physical. They are well balanced and very athletic. We will have to play smart and will have to be prepared for the physical nature of playing against them,” Reedsville coach Steve Brooks said. “We have gone through what we think we have to do against them, where we think their weaknesses are, and said this is where we have to start.”
Shiocton (21-3, 13-1 Central-Eight Conference) and Reedsville (10-15, 5-13 Olympian Conference) did not face each other in the regular season but had a trio of common opponents: St. Mary Central, Green Bay NEW Lutheran and Brillion.
At home the Chiefs fell to Brillion in early December 63-33 and NEW Lutheran 72-64 in mid-January while they earned a 59-45 home win over St. Mary Central in mid-December and defeated the No. 9 seed again at home 80-52 on Friday.
The Panthers fell to Brillion twice — a 65-43 late November road loss and a 58-49 home loss in mid-January — and to NEW Lutheran in a 69-64 road loss in late January. Reedsville swept its season series with St. Mary Central, first beating the Zephyrs in a 50-45 road win in early January and then earning a 51-48 home win earlier this month.
With the amount of common opponents, Brooks said his team has been able to view around five game tapes on Shiocton and has also seen them in person.
“If they are up against a team that they are physically intimidating, it makes it easy and they go their own direction. If they play a team who can hold their own, they tend to ware down and aren’t nearly as aggressive,” Brooks said. “Our hope is to weather the first few minutes of the game and get used to what’s going on and then counter what they do.”
Shiocton has decent size with three starters ranging in the 6-foot-1-inch to 6-foot-3-inch range. The Chiefs’ main ball handler is a 5-foot-8-inch guard. Brooks said two of their players are the staple of the team’s offense while two others chip in when it comes to the post game.
“Our first thing is to weather the first couple minutes, get points on the scoreboard and find out how much pressure they will put on us and how we react to that,” Brooks said.
Reedsville being able to keep up with Shiocton offensively — the Chiefs enter the game having scored 60 or more points in 12 games this season while the Panthers had six — could be a key to the game’s outcome, but the Panthers keeping pace with a No. 1 seed is nothing new. Last year, the then-No. 8 Reedsville topped No. 1 Laconia 73-70 in double overtime. Entering the game, Reedsville had scored more than 70 points once while Laconia had scored 70 points seven times entering the game.
Several players on this year’s Reedsville team played in that game, including all three seniors — Bryler Kiekhaefer, Brett Dvorachek and Connor Sebo. Additionally, Brooks said juniors Bryce Wenzel, Cody Schamburek and Brock Gilsdorf saw minutes in that game and everyone is excited about the prospect of taking down another top-ranked team.
“There has been a little bit of talk about last year, but it’s not something we harp on. We have done this before, we know what to do, and we just have to play hard and play our game and do things we know we can do,” Brooks said. “This is why the tournament is a special time. I’ve told them this doesn’t happen that often, so take it in. The game will be different in that, it will be in a bigger gym and there will be lots more people there than what we are used to, but I think by and large we are OK with that. We have had to travel for two of three (postseason) games. Hopefully we are ready.”