Posted On: 03/21/18 4:32 AM
Who will play for the WIAA Division 1 state championship in 2018-19? Prep Hoops Wisconsin makes our way too early predictions.
* Does not account for potential changes to sectionals and divisions
Sectional 1 – Eau Claire North
The Huskies were 21-4 this past season and won the Big Rivers Conference. 2020 guard Dalton Banks (19.4 ppg) returns as well. North was a 4-seed in 2017-19 and this sectional opens way up. Stevens Point has to replace Drew Blair. Oshkosh North loses Tyrese Haliburton and Quincy Anderson. Kimberly will be without Alec Rosner. The Huskies have some key parts to replace, but if Banks can take a big jump this off-season, they’ll be just fine.
There’s some really good coaches in this sectional, so don’t count out Oshkosh North, SPASH, or Kimberly. Oshkosh West and Neenah could also be primed to make big jumps next season as well.
Sectional 2 – Sussex Hamilton
This was a young team that grew up in March. Hamilton was knocked out by Oshkosh North in the semifinals after overcoming an 18-point deficit. The Chargers reached the Kohl Center without 2019 shooting guard Tyler Ellingson (injury). Hamilton reloads with 2021 G/F Patrick Baldwin Jr., 2020 forward Lucas Finnessy, and 2021 point guard Tanner Resch.
It won’t be an easy road. Kettle Moraine, Arrowhead, Homestead, and others also return key pieces, but top to bottom, Hamilton seems to have the most talent and highest upside going into next season.
Sectional 3 – Sun Prairie
Marlon Ruffin is not an easy piece to replace, but when you have the best player in the state, you have to like your chances. Do-it-all prospect Jalen Johnson can take just about any four players and carry them if need be, but he’ll have some talent around him. The key for the Cardinals will be some of their other young pieces, specifically 2020 power forward Delaware Hale, 2020 point guard Colin Schaefer, and 2021 point guard Kobe Johnson, who need big off-seasons if this team is going to make another run at state.
Madison Memorial and Madison LaFollette will also be dangerous next season as Sun Prairie will have a lot more resistance than they did this past year.
Sectional 4 – Racine Park or Brookfield Central
Both programs have very strong cases.
Racine Park reached the sectional finals, upended by Brookfield East. The Panthers return 2019 guard Larry Canady, one of the best two-way players in the state. 2019 F/C Nobal Days, who led the team in rebounds, assists, and blocks is also back. There’s some tough pieces to replace, including guard Rance Kendrick, but Park should be able to improve upon a 21-5 campaign.
Brookfield Central was stunned by West Allis Central in the regional finals. A team with a bad taste in its mouth, the Lancers will feature an exciting trio in 2020 forward David Joplin (10.7 ppg), 2019 guard Cole Nau (14.0 ppg), and 2019 point guard Gage Malensek (20.1 ppg).
Also keep an eye on West Allis Central, Racine Horlick, and Racine Case.