Tonight the journey towards a WIAA State Boys Basketball title begins for six of the area’s eight teams throughout Divisions 1, 3 and 4.
Manitowoc Lincoln, Two Rivers, Reedsville and Manitowoc Lutheran will all be at home to start the postseason while Mishicot and Kiel are on the road. The final two area teams, Roncalli and Valders, earned a bye to the regional semifinals.
The No. 8 seeded Ships (6-15) square off with a No. 9 Green Bay East (4-18) side Lincoln has already beat twice this season, although by a combined six points, in Fox River Classic Conference play. The Ships prevailed past the Red Devils 58-54 on Dec. 20 in Green Bay and again in Manitowoc on Feb. 14 56-54.
Adam Bonk drives Lincoln’s offense averaging 19.6 point per game, good for third in the FRCC, while East has three players averaging between 8.4 and 8.8 ppg. Also averaging double digits for the Ships is freshman T.J. Schneider (11.6 ppg).
The winner of the matchup moves on to face No. 1 Bay Port (14-8) which has beaten both teams this season.
The No. 1 seeded Jets (21-1) will have to wait until later tonight to know who they play as Roncalli awaits the winner of the 8-9 matchup between No. 9 Kiel (9-13) and No. 8 Sturgeon Bay (12-10). Roncalli hasn’t faced either squad this season, but regardless of which team advances, the Jets will look for strong contributions from Josh Erickson (17.1 ppg) and Nick Stelzer (13.8 ppg).
Neither the Raiders nor Clippers have met this season but both have lost to Two Rivers this season. Kiel is led in scoring by Carter Voelker (15.6 ppg) while teammate Jacob Winkel is nearly averaging a double-double with 13 points and 9.2 rebounds a contest.
Also playing the waiting game is No. 2 Valders (19-3) as the Vikings will meet either No. 10 New Holstein (7-15) or No. 7 Southern Door (12-9). The Vikings haven’t seen the Eagles this campaign but already own a 42-point victory over the Huskies to start the season.
Zack Goedeke is the focal point for Valders offense, averaging 14.2 ppg, but his presence inside opens up shooting opportunities for teammates Thomas Schwoerer (13.9 ppg) and Forrest Fenlon (13.1 ppg). Goedeke missed several games down the stretch with an ankle injury but returned in the final few games of the season to give Valders a much needed boost.
The final team in D3, No. 5 Two Rivers (12-10), plays host to No. 12 Denmark (3-19). This will be the first meeting between the Raiders and Vikings although both teams squared off with Kewaunee (8-14). Two Rivers prevailed 66-53 while Denmark were defeated 64-43.
The Raiders are a perimeter oriented team, shooting an Eastern Wisconsin Conference high 542 3-pointers which is 135 more then second-place Plymouth’s 407.
Leading Two Rivers’ long-range assault is Ethan Willman, who is fourth in the EWC with a .349 shooting percentage from 3-point among players with at least 100 attempts. Willman is tied for fourth in the EWC with 18.8 ppg and is joined in double figures by teammate Dexter Smith (12.3).
Reedsville (12-10) is the top seeded team in D4 checking in at No. 5 and will host No. 12 Olympian Conference foe St. Mary Central (4-17). The Panthers have already swept the two-game regular season series.
Brock Gilsdorf (14. 1 ppg) and Cody Schamburek (11.2 ppg) lead a cast of all seniors for Reedsville which is no stranger to the postseason, falling two points shy of a State appearance a season go.
Manitowoc Lutheran (10-12), who received the seven seed and hosts No. 10 Rosholt (7-15), are entering the playoffs on a hot streak having won four of six games to close the season. The two sides haven’t faced off nor share any common opponents.
The Raiders though will have contend with Jared Muench, the Lancers’ and OC’s leading scorer at 17.9 ppg.
Rounding out D4 is the matchup between No. 11 Mishicot (4-18) and host No. 6 Algoma (14-8). This will be the first meeting for the two sides this season, although the Wolves have faced two OC schools, losing to Reedsville and defeating Manitowoc Lutheran.
Colten Haack’s 10.9 ppg paces the Indians.