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Posted On: 03/13/19 5:04 PM
MADISON, Wis. — The 2019 WIAA Division 3 state tournament kicks off on Thursday. Here’s a closer look at the four teams who will make their way to the Kohl Center in search of the gold ball…
1. MARTIN LUTHER (23-3)
How They Got Here
W Big Foot 84-52
W Lakeside Lutheran 67-33
W Racine St. Catherine’s 78-68
W Beloit Turner 76-41
A preseason favorite to win it all, Martin Luther has been as good as advertised. While they were arguably the team to beat in Division 3, getting to Madison wasn’t a sure thing with Racine St. Catherine’s standing in their way.
The backcourt duo of Trequan Carrington and Ace Evans is as good of a scoring duo as there is in the state. Carrington leads the way at 19.3 ppg, but Evans (16.0 ppg) is just as much of a handful. Two terrific isolation scorers that can kill you by blowing by and getting to the rim or creating 3-point shots off the bounce,
Even if you can match up with Carrington, Evans, and Xzavier Jones, it’s often Joey Immekus that becomes a huge difference maker for the Spartans. The sharpshooting junior gets so many open looks as defenses have to account for the three-headed monster. As a result, Immekus shoots 50.4 percent from beyond the arc. The kid also has the best pump fake in the state. With defenders constantly flying out to him, Immekus sells the shot as good as anyone.
4. NORTHWESTERN 21-5
W Spooner 65-46
W Bloomer 61-55
W St. Croix Central 66-46
W Wisconsin Dells 75-68
It took two overtime games in the playoffs, but Northwestern made it to the Kohl Center. The Heart O’ North Conference champs have stumbled a bit in the second half of the season, suffering three of their five losses, but appear to be back on track going into the state tournament.
Senior wing Sam Risley leads the Tigers at 16.1 points per game. Risley shoots at a 43.2 percent clip from 3-point range.
Brody Payton is second on the team, averaging 13.1 points per game. The senior forward does a little bit of everything, grabbing 6.7 rebounds and also leading the team with 48 steals.
3. DENMARK 22-4
W Sturgeon Bay 54-36
W Sheboygan Falls 63-57
W Valders 56-49
W Freedom 46-41
Being tested in the North Eastern Conference had its benefits. While Denmark had to share the conference crown with Wrightstown and Freedom, they were battle tested for March, winning three playoff games by seven points or less.
Denmark has a very strong 1-2 punch of Zane Short and Patrick Suemnick. Short is averaging 20.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, while shooting nearly 51 percent from the field. Suemnick, averages a double-double with 19.0 points and 10.2 rebounds per game and is shooting a whopping 58.5 percent from the floor.
The 3-pointer is the great equalizer in this game. Facing some stiff competition, Denmark needs Zachary Gezella to get hot. The senior guard hit 44 triples this season, while shooting an even 40.0 percent from downtown.
2. WAUPUN 25-1
W Berlin 92-46
W Ripon 60-44
W Columbus 79-36
W Brookfield Academy 64-58
Wapun’s lone loss this season came to Martin Luther, the top seed in Division 3. Since that game, the Warriors have won 20-straight games, including 14 by 20 points or more. After taking home the gold ball three seasons ago, Waupun is looking to send a great senior class out the way they came in — on top.
There’s a very high chance that Marcus Domask is announced as Mr. Basketball this week. The Northern Kentucky commit has been dominant as a senior, averaging 26.8 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game. A three-level scorer that takes what the defense gives him and exploits it, Domask is one of the toughest players in the state to match up with.
You could go a lot of ways here. Reece Homan and Trevor VandeZande are two of the most under-appreciated players in the state and make winning plays, but Quintin Winterfeldt has taken this team to another level offensively. The Minnesota-Crookston commit is a strong, athletic wing that lives at the rim, but it now shooting it very well from 3-point range, making him a nightmare to defend. Over the last three years, if opponents could slow down Domask, they had a chance to beat Waupun. That’s no longer the case with Winterfeldt in the lineup as he can free up his fellow senior and take over the scoring load.