WIAA Girls Tournament Preview
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Milwaukee Vincent is back, trying to go three-for-three at the WIAA girls' state basketball tournament.
The two-time defending champion Lady Vikings earned a chance to make it three in a row by taking down previously undefeated Mukwonago 51-45 in the Waukesha North sectional final Saturday.
But they face an experienced field beginning Thursday at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, as six of the eight qualifiers from last year's Division 1 field return.
Vincent will tip off against Neenah, which will make its seventh appearance in the tournament -- and its first since a streak of six straight ended in 1981. That run of appearances produced a championship in 1978 and runner-up finishes in 1976 and 1980. The Rockets placed second in the Fox Valley Association this season, and they won the Neenah sectional by beating Oshkosh West.
Middleton returns to state for the fifth time overall and for the second consecutive year. The Cardinals have finished second in the state twice, once in 1993 and again in 2003. Middleton was co-champion of the Big Eight conference this season with state tournament qualifier Verona.
They'll face Verona, which qualified for the state tournament for the second straight season after making its first appearance last year. The Wildcats topped Janesville Parker 50-34 in the final of the Badger sectional.
De Pere is making its second straight trip to state and fifth overall. The Redbirds won the state title in 2005 and the Class A championship in the second of back-to-back appearances in 1983. They are the champions of the Fox River Classic conference this season and won the sectional they hosted with a 44-33 win over Appleton West in the final.
They begin against Brookfield Central, which returns to the tournament field for the second consecutive year and for the third time overall. The Lancers' first-ever trip to state back in 1985 resulted in a Class A title. They earned their berth this season by edging Muskego 33-32 in the Greenfield sectional final. They are the champions of the Greater Metro Conference this season.
Marshfield is appearing in the state tournament for the second year in a row and for the fourth time in the last six years. The Tigers defeated Eau Claire North 50-37 in the final of the Wausau West Sectional to qualify for the field after earning the Wisconsin Valley Conference title this season.
Marshfield faces Milwaukee King, which also is playing in the state tournament for the third time. The Lady Generals lost in the quarterfinals in their only other two appearances, 2004 and 2007, but shared the Milwaukee City Conference title with Vincent this season.
DIVISION 2: Defending champion Monroe is making its seventh appearance at state and looking for another championship.
The Cheesemakers' last two state tournament appearances have produced titles, having also won in 2006. Their back-to-back appearances in 1988 and 1989 produced a title in 1989 and runner-up finish the year before. Monroe was co-champion of the Badger conference with Edgewood, the same team it defeated 40-34 in the final of the Janesville Craig sectional to earn the shot at defending the title.
They'll tip off on Friday against 2007 champion Grafton, which is making its fifth state tournament appearance and its third in a row. The Black Hawks' only two other appearances came in 1991 and 1994. They are the co-champions of the North Shore Conference with Nicolet, advancing through the Waukesha South Sectional with a 45-36 win over Ripon in the final.
Durand makes its 10th appearance at state and its first since 1997. The Panthers have won two state championships, winning them back-to-back in 1986-87. They also finished runner-up in 1996. The champions of the Middle Border Conference defeated Amery 45-35 in the final of the Chippewa Falls Sectional to earn a trip to state.
They'll face Notre Dame, which is back in the tournament for the first time since losing in the 2005 championship game. They won the state title in 2001, their only other appearance. Notre Dame finished third in the Fox River Classic conference this season and beat New London 35-26 in the final Seymour sectional final.
DIVISION 3: Defending champion Oostburg is back at state for the third straight year and for the seventh time overall. The Flying Dutchmen also won state championships in 1990 and 1994. This season, they placed second in the Central Lakeshore Conference and qualified for state by beating The Hope School 46-35 in the West Bend Sectional final.
They'll begin play Thursday against perennial power Cuba City, which is making its 12th appearance at state. The Cubans have won more state titles than any other program with eight, winning championships in 1977, 1980, 1990, 1991, 1993, 2005, 2006 and 2007. They won the Southwest Wisconsin Activities League title this season and won the Reedsburg sectional with a 54-43 win over Aquinas.
Amherst is making its fourth consecutive state appearance and its sixth overall. The Falcons won the state championship in 1999 and were runners-up in 2007. They are the champions of the Central Wisconsin conference, earning another berth in the tournament by topping Roncalli 55-42 in the Ashwaubenon sectional final.
They'll tip off against Fall Creek, which is making its 10th appearance in the state tournament and its first since 1998. The Crickets won championships in 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1996 and had runner-up finishes in 1986, 1990, 1994 and 1998. They placed fourth in the Cloverbelt Conference this season and won the Altoona sectional by defeating Prescott 43-38.
DIVISION 4: St. Mary Central is back for another shot at the title after falling just short in its first state tournament appearance last year.
As a former member of WISAA, St. Mary Central won the Division 2 title in 1998. They finished third in the Olympian Conference this season and advanced through the Waupaca Sectional with a 71-38 win over Almond-Bancroft in the final.
They'll begin play Friday against Lakeland Conference champion Siren, which earned its first appearance in the tournament with a 40-34 win over Greenwood in the Spooner sectional final.
Potosi is making its second state tournament appearance after a runner-up finish in 1999. The Lady Chieftains defeated Assumption in the La Crosse Central sectional final 37-34.
They'll tip off against conference rival Black Hawk, which is making its first appearance in the state tournament. The Warriors beat Randolph 44-30 in the Fort Atkinson sectional final.
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