By Adam Roberts – 2/19/2021
With news about the WIAA Division 2, 4, and 5 girl’s basketball state semis and finals coming to the La Crosse Center, there certainly is some intrigue going into this weekend’s high school basketball playoff games. There’s a chance for three girl’s teams to make the state semis tomorrow, with two of those teams possibly playing at the Center.
In Rice Lake, the Onalaska girls will visit the Warriors in Division 2. The Hilltoppers defeated Medford on Thursday to reach this point, and a win Saturday would be a monumental step forward for Shane Schmeiling’s program. Keep an eye out for Olivia Gamoke; another 20+ point performance could be the barometer for success tomorrow, and it Molly Garrity compliments Gamoke with at least 10, I think Onalaska should advance.
In Division 4, Bangor advanced to tomorrow’s sectional final by way of a Hillsboro forfeit, but don’t think for a second that the Cardinals didn’t earn their spot. 18-2 Bangor took a loss on the fifth to a very formidable Royall team in stride, and coach Merlin Jones’ ladies have looked excellent since. As for Aquinas, if they take down St. Croix Falls tomorrow, they’ll take a 21-0 record to the Menominee Nation Arena in Oshkosh in a fifth straight state appearance.
Running alongside these games are the boy’s regional semis and finals. Undefeated and #1 Onalaska begins a hopeful run to state against Black River Falls while West Salem looks to upset Tomah (6:45 tonight on ESPN La Crosse 105.5 and espnlacrosse.com). Aquinas also begins their playoff run as a one-seed in Division 3 hosting Mondovi while elsewhere a 2-3 game pits Viroqua against Poynette. And our area has three Division 4 games tonight as Blair-Taylor hosts Plum City, Bangor faces division rival Cashton, and one-seed and perhaps the most slept on team in the area Luther welcomes Mel-Min.