To bye or not to bye? There’s different answers to that simple question for area girls basketball coaches.
The way the WIAA basketball tournament is currently set up, when there aren’t enough teams to fill a regional or sectional, the top seeds in that grouping get a bye.
Waupun girls basketball coach Doug Disch wouldn’t be too disappointed to see it the other way around.
“If I could set up the brackets, I would have the top teams playing on Tuesday and skip the whole bye process there,” Disch said. “As long as we keep the homefield advantage, so to speak, I’d like to play on Tuesday. You just want to keep playing and stay competitive.”
For St. Mary’s Springs’ Mitch Redig, seeing his team earn that bye is something he takes a lot of pride in.
“I think it’s nice to get that bye,” Redig said. “It just validates all of the hard work we’ve done this season to earn that bye. It gives us a little time to rest, work on things we need to work on and get prepared for Friday night.”
The Warriors and the Ledgers will take their different approaches to the opening week of the WIAA girls basketball tournament as each will have the opening night off after earning No. 2 seeds in their respective sectionals as the WIAA tournament pairings were released on Sunday afternoon.
One of the reasons Waupun was able to garner such a high seed in its Division 3 sectional has been its strong play after starting the year 4-5. The Warriors have won 10 of their last 12, including six straight heading into Thursday’s regular-season finale at home against Two Rivers.
That’s definitely something I consider when I look at other teams and overall record because it is a long season,” Disch said. “In our case, the longer we play together the stronger we’re getting. I think the second half of the season was definitely a strength for us.”
The Warriors will face either seventh-seeded Ripon or 10th-seeded Campbellsport in a regional semifinal on March 7. Waupun has beaten Campbellsport twice this year in overtime by a combined four points.
Laconia — which lost to Waupun 75-53 during the regular season — drew the No. 3 seed in the sectional and will face either sixth-seeded Sheboygan Falls or 11 th-seeded Watertown Luther Prep in a regional semifinal.
First-round games in the other half of the section have fourth-seeded Lomira hosting Kewaskum, Mayville travelling to fifth-seeded Columbus and eighth-seeded Winnebago Lutheran tussling with ninth-seeded North Fond du Lac.
The winner of the Vikings and Orioles earns a shot at top-seeded Oostburg.
For Springs, there won’t be that type of familiarity within its Division 4 sectional as the second-seeded Ledgers are the only Flyway Conference team in the sectional and they have faced only two of the other 11 teams this season.
One team Springs may be very familiar with is Lourdes Academy, which earned the top seed in the sectional. The Ledgers and Knights haven’t met on the court this season, however, Redig certainly has carved out time to look ahead to the possible sectional semifinal opponent.
“We know they are very talented. We have looked ahead a little bit and seen them play a couple of times,” Redig said. “We’re hopeful to get a chance to play against them and in a one-game situation, I’m confident my girls are going to perform as well as they can.”
Springs will open its tournament run against either seventh-seeded Howards Grove — who the Ledgers beat 56-40 in December — or 10th seeded Dodgeland. The other first-round game in that half of the sectional has sixth-seeded Deerfield hosting 11th-seeded Random Lake, with the winner getting third-seeded Lake Country Lutheran.
In the other half of the sectional, fifth-seeded Horicon hosts Waterloo with fourth-seeded Cambridge awaiting the winner, while top-seeded Lourdes gets either eighth-seeded Cedar Grove-Belgium or ninth-seeded Ozaukee.
In Division 1, Fond du Lac will drew the seventh seed in its sectional and will face No. 2 Appleton North on March 7. The other top seeds are fellow FVA members Oshkosh North (No. 1), Oshkosh West (No. 3) and Neenah (No. 4).
Both Oakfield and Central Wisconsin Christian, who play in different regionals, will host Division 5 home games on Tuesday.
The Crusaders earned the No. 4 seed and will open against Wayland Academy, while the Oaks are the No. 3 seed and face Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah to open the tournament.