Posted On: 03/16/18 7:39 AM
MADISON — Day one of the 2018 WIAA State Tournament featured the Division 3 and Division 4 semifinals. In the D3 title game, Prescott advanced to take on Valders, while Roncalli gets Marathon in the Division 5 state championship.
Bailey Blanchard – 2019 – SF – Clear Lake
Blanchard made sure Clear Lake stayed in the game in Thursday’s Division 4 semifinal. Unfortunately for he and the Warriors, Blanchard and company ran out of steam. Blanchard scored 13 first half points, slashing to the rim and using his 6-foot-5 frame to make things happen around the basket. The junior wing has some deceptive bounce and can get up over the trees and finish. Blanchard is more than a slasher. He’ll step out and shoot the basketball if given room. He went 2-of-4 from beyond the arc, finishing with a team-best 15 points. Although Clear Lake’s undefeated season came to an end, Blanchard and the Warriors have every chance to return to Madison and win it all next season.
Peter Brookshaw – 2018 – G – Prescott
East Troy had no answer and simply could not contain Brookshaw on Thursday. When the senior guard wanted to score, he did just that. The North Dakota State baseball commit dropped a game-high 34 points on an efficient 20 shots.
A smooth, speedy guard, Brookshaw is a nightmare to try and stay in front of. Brookshaw changes speeds and directions extremely well, causing defenders’ feet to stumble. Brookshaw can pull up off the bounce and drain triples early in a possession. In fact, when the other team scores, Brookshaw did a ton of damage on taking the ball down the floor and scoring immediately. Brookshaw sliced and diced East Troy’s defense all game. Needing only a slight crease to get to the bucket, Brookshaw doesn’t waste many dribbles and finishes at the rim before the defense can react.
Combi Lambert – 2019 – PG – Roncalli
In Division 4, there’s not going to be a ton defenders can do to stop a player of Lambert’s speed and skill. When he’s feeling it like he was on Thursday, the opposition is just helpless. Even when the defense was stout, Lambert found ways to break it down, often breaking Pardeeville’s back in long possessions.
Lambert scored 22 points in the first half alone. He finished with 32 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including 6-of-8 from downtown. The junior guard was dynamic from all areas of the floor. Despite being a little undersized, Lambert gets great elevation on his shot and knocked down mid-range and 3-point jumpers off the bounce with ease. When defenders tried to crowd him, Lambert exploded to the hole, beating his man with ease. Lambert also added five assists and four rebounds to push Roncalli into the title game.
We’ll see what Lambert does this spring, but this appears to be a high priority Division 3 prospect going into the travel season.
Nathan Stoffel – 2018 – F – Marathon
Stoffel set the tone for Marathon in their win over Clear Lake. He was physical and killed the Warriors on the glass. It wasn’t all just about bruising play, however. Stoffel caught in high percentage areas and showed the ability to get to his secondary post moves, including a nice reverse pivot into a jump hook. Stoffel played well through contact, absorbing hits and showcasing the ability to score as if nobody even touched him. Stoffel finished with a game-high 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead Marathon to the state championship game on Saturday.
Treyner Sundsmo – 2018 – G – Valders
The kid just hit big shots when Valders needed him to step up. With Kettle Moraine Lutheran keying on Kyle Tuma most of the game, that allowed Sundsmo to create looks for himself and he delivered. The senior guard poured in 21 huge points, including four triples. Sundsmo scored 13 after halftime as the Vikings led for all but a few seconds of the second half. Sundsmo has a nice looking stroke off the dribble. He was very comfortable shooting off a crossover dribble or stepping into a triple early in a possession — shots that swung the momentum to Valders time and time again.
Kyle Tuma – 2018 – SF – Valders
This is a good pickup for Jeff Gard and UW-Platteville. The 6-foot-5 swing man is a really good fit for that system. He’ll pick and pop from all over the perimeter and can take advantage of all sorts of mismatch opportunities, whether it’s driving against slower bigs and posting up smaller guards.
Tuma had to work for just about everything he got on Thursday, but proved to be a huge problem for Kettle Moraine Lutheran. Tuma finished with a game-high 24 points (8-18), including 3-for-6 from 3-point range. Tuma can fill a lot of roles offensively. Always in triple-threat off the catch, he’ll rise and fire if the defender plays him with a hand down or rip through and take a great angle to the rim.
A.J. Vukovich – 2020 – F – East Troy
If he can develop a consistent jumper, Vukovich is going to be quite a handful over the next two seasons. He started the game with a triple, but defenders were still willing to give up wide open 18-20 foot jumpers all game. What Vukovich does well is attack. Playing with no regard for human life, Vukovich relishes contact and doesn’t care who he has to go through to get to the rack.
The 6-foot-5 sophomore led East Troy with 17 points and nine rebounds in a loss to Prescott. He had some tough stretches, but Vukovich never let off the gas pedal. A high motor forward, Vukovich is excellent at catching in the mid-range area, sizing up his man, and playing bully ball. Vukovich is also an excellent passer and dished out four assists while drawing multiple defenders and hitting his teammates right under the rim.
Solomon Zarling – 2018 – W/G – Kettle Moraine Lutheran
Zarling is so fundamentally sound. Everything he does feels like the right basketball play. A scorer, facilitator, rebounder, and lock down defender, there’s not much this kid doesn’t do over the course of 36 minutes. In an overtime loss to Valders, Zarling posted a team-high 21 points. He also added six rebounds, four blocks, and three assists. Zarling was asked to defend Tuma and did a stout job, even with the Platteville commit tried to use his size inside. Going 3-of-5 from 3-point range, Zarling hit some big ones late to help KML send the game into the extra session.