johnwall1
Let's start a playoff discussion. Week 1 games look like this:

Tuesday

Luther at Aquinas
Tomah at Logan
Sparta at Central


Friday

Aquinas/Luther at Blair-Taylor
Tomah/Logan at Holmen
Central/Sparta at Onalaska
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oldballcoach1
Let's start a playoff discussion. Week 1 games look like this:

Tuesday

Luther at Aquinas
Tomah at Logan
Sparta at Central


Friday

Aquinas/ at Blair-Taylor
Logan at Holmen
Central at Onalaska


I think there is a possiblity we could see some upsets. Probably none on Tuesday - but Friday - to he honest - I think all games could see the underdogs win. BT could beat Aquinas. Ladsten is capable of scoring 25+ and they will look to play fast. They could win if they hit some shots.

Yes, Logan could beat Holmen. They have been right in some games and with some of the talent they have, they very well could put things together for a huge upset. Trey Davis has been pretty quiet and if he could put it together on both ends, he could be a game changer.

Central and Ona is a toss up. The last game at Ona - a friend of mine that was there said that is appeared Central had a couple of their starters hurt and they got behind early and had a huge hole to climb. Like 17 points or something and had a shot to tie it with about a minute left. I don't see another 147 point game with those two teams.
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oldballcoach1
Looking further down the road - For Aquinas in D4 - their regional is very soft with a probable Melrose in a regional final game. Even their half of the sectional is soft with a 11-11 Pardeville the #1 seed. The top of their conference is a good small school conference, but they are a .500 team. Mineral Point will eventually come out of the bottom half and no one will beat them I don't think. Cuba City could with their history, but the Pointers are really good this year.

As for the D2 schools - again I think Central is the only team to challenge Rice Lake in that half of the sectional. To beat them - you have to have multiple scoring threats and probably will have to put up 70 points to beat them. You have to have someone that Ellinson will have to guard and be able to make him come out on the perimeter. Central is really the only team with someone like that. And you have to have finishers. If you can hit some 3's against them and make them extend - then you can attack them with the dribble. You can get to the hoop on them, but finishing with a 6'10" guy coming to help is tough. I haven't seen a lot of players that can do that - but Central maybe has the only ones that could.

Rice Lake will have to beat Menomonie and although they have twice, that will be a knock down fight with it being very physical. Some Rice Lake foul trouble and some luck, Menomonie has the capability of winning that game.

The bottom half of that sectional has Merrill and Shawno being the top seeds. Shawno is a decent club - finished with 16 or 17 wins and had a couple really good teams at the top of their conference. Merrill finished second in the Valley behind SPASH and that conference was down a little after SPASH. Neither of those teams would strike fear into anyone. If Rice Lake gets there - they will win easily.

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johnwall1
oldballcoach1 wrote:
Looking further down the road - For Aquinas in D4 - their regional is very soft with a probable Melrose in a regional final game. Even their half of the sectional is soft with a 11-11 Pardeville the #1 seed. The top of their conference is a good small school conference, but they are a .500 team. Mineral Point will eventually come out of the bottom half and no one will beat them I don't think. Cuba City could with their history, but the Pointers are really good this year.

As for the D2 schools - again I think Central is the only team to challenge Rice Lake in that half of the sectional. To beat them - you have to have multiple scoring threats and probably will have to put up 70 points to beat them. You have to have someone that Ellinson will have to guard and be able to make him come out on the perimeter. Central is really the only team with someone like that. And you have to have finishers. If you can hit some 3's against them and make them extend - then you can attack them with the dribble. You can get to the hoop on them, but finishing with a 6'10" guy coming to help is tough. I haven't seen a lot of players that can do that - but Central maybe has the only ones that could.

Rice Lake will have to beat Menomonie and although they have twice, that will be a knock down fight with it being very physical. Some Rice Lake foul trouble and some luck, Menomonie has the capability of winning that game.

The bottom half of that sectional has Merrill and Shawno being the top seeds. Shawno is a decent club - finished with 16 or 17 wins and had a couple really good teams at the top of their conference. Merrill finished second in the Valley behind SPASH and that conference was down a little after SPASH. Neither of those teams would strike fear into anyone. If Rice Lake gets there - they will win easily.


I saw the path Aquinas has to go through. If they play like they did the last half of the season, they will win all the way to the sectional final....where as you stated, Mineral Point is likely waiting. Just to get there would be a heck of a season for an untested crew with a new coaching staff.

I know I've said this before, but I am still expecting Central to live up to at least half of their potential. That team lost to Holmen twice, Onalaska and D4 Aquinas down the stretch. Maybe I should give up on them, but their talent is far superior to anyone else in this regional. They should win the regional and go on to face Rice Lake. AND, if Menomonie somehow pulls off a major upset, that could pave the way to a state tournament. I just don't believe Holmen or Onalaska are good enough to go anywhere, whereas Central has the talent, just not sure they have the heart.
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oldballcoach1
There may be a couple of other area schools that will be state contenders.

Bangor in Division 5. A probable game vs. Hillsboro at Central is the sectional semi and then they would likely face either Seneca or Shullsburg in the sectional final at Logan. Both of those teams are good defensive teams, but neither has the capability of stopping the big kid from Bangor.

Arcadia and GET are on course to meet in a sectional semi at Osseo in Division 3. GET will have to beat West Salem and that won't be easy for the 3rd time. Prescott probably awaits in the sectional final, although they will have to beat Northwestern. GET will have the best change to beat Prescott.

This has been a strange year for boys basketball in the area. Because of that, maybe a couple of the teams can sneek through and we can see them in Madison.
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johnwall1
oldballcoach1 wrote:
There may be a couple of other area schools that will be state contenders.

Bangor in Division 5. A probable game vs. Hillsboro at Central is the sectional semi and then they would likely face either Seneca or Shullsburg in the sectional final at Logan. Both of those teams are good defensive teams, but neither has the capability of stopping the big kid from Bangor.

Arcadia and GET are on course to meet in a sectional semi at Osseo in Division 3. GET will have to beat West Salem and that won't be easy for the 3rd time. Prescott probably awaits in the sectional final, although they will have to beat Northwestern. GET will have the best change to beat Prescott.

This has been a strange year for boys basketball in the area. Because of that, maybe a couple of the teams can sneek through and we can see them in Madison.


I have seen Bangor play, and they will be a very difficult team to beat in D5. They have one terrific player, and a decent supporting cast around him. I expect to see them advance to the Kohl Center. I expect Prescott will beat whomever survives a likely GET v Arcadia game.

Back to the MVC, Central again disappoints. What was a runaway became a very tight game in Sutton last night. Sparta had no business in the game, but that's simply who Central is. Can they beat Onalaska on Friday night? Based on talent, they should blow them out....but I don't think they will. If I had to pick, I'd pick Central, but an Ona win would not be a surprise, even though Ona's tallest player is not quite 6'2.

Logan is just awful. Hard to imagine getting blown out at home by a Tomah team that just lost to 1-11 Sparta. Embarassing on the north side. Tomah will get beat by Holmen.

Looks like Aquinas survived a scare from an underseeded Luther, now moves on to Blair-Taylor. That one is too close to call at this point.
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redraidernation
I think that Sparta deserves a bit of credit for their second half play. They made something like 7 three balls and finally got the ball into the post to their big man. Central did enough in the first half to coast the rest of the game.
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johnwall1
redraidernation wrote:
I think that Sparta deserves a bit of credit for their second half play. They made something like 7 three balls and finally got the ball into the post to their big man. Central did enough in the first half to coast the rest of the game.


Sure, let's give Sparta credit, I agree. But at the same time you have to be honest and realize Sparta was 1-11 in a down MVC for a reason...they are not a good basketball team. Not even an average team, 1-11 in this conference is all you need to see. It should not have been remotely close. Central's talent, esp at the guard spot is so superior, no way Sparta should even get 7 good looks from the arc, much less 7 makes. Goes back to that drive/heart thing. Central is simply a very soft basketball team. Talented as anyone around here, without question, but so disinterested defensively on most possessions. Frustrating to watch. Some say it's youth. Well there is a team in Onalaska they play tonight that is younger than Central.
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oldballcoach1
I do have to give Sparta a little credit also. They did make some 3's that were not easy. In watching the game on the live stream - it looked like there were a lot of long rebounds on both ends of the court and those caused a lot of scramble plays. In playoff time, a win counts no matter the score and you move on from that.

At this point in the year, teams are who they are. There is no magic wand that is going to change what they do, so it comes down to what you do best and you go from there. You play to your strengths and hopefully they out weigh your weaknesses. The thing about playoff basketball is it comes down to a few key things:

1. Good starts to each half.
2. Keeping your composure - players and coaches. Don't get caught up in the emotion of the game.
3. Officials letting the game be the attraction - not them. Sometimes, officials want to take center stage and be noticed. The best officials now are those that let the kids play, the coaches coach, and keep the flow of the game.
4. Foul trouble seems to have more of an impact on teams. Key players gotta stay on the floor.
5. Making free throws in the 4th quarter. When the pressure is on, who can convert from the line.

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kenny78
oldballcoach1 wrote:
I do have to give Sparta a little credit also. They did make some 3's that were not easy. In watching the game on the live stream - it looked like there were a lot of long rebounds on both ends of the court and those caused a lot of scramble plays. In playoff time, a win counts no matter the score and you move on from that.

At this point in the year, teams are who they are. There is no magic wand that is going to change what they do, so it comes down to what you do best and you go from there. You play to your strengths and hopefully they out weigh your weaknesses. The thing about playoff basketball is it comes down to a few key things:

1. Good starts to each half.
2. Keeping your composure - players and coaches. Don't get caught up in the emotion of the game.
3. Officials letting the game be the attraction - not them. Sometimes, officials want to take center stage and be noticed. The best officials now are those that let the kids play, the coaches coach, and keep the flow of the game.
4. Foul trouble seems to have more of an impact on teams. Key players gotta stay on the floor.
5. Making free throws in the 4th quarter. When the pressure is on, who can convert from the line.



I hope you are not implying that they should swallow their whistles. If fouls are being committed, they need to be called. If that means 50 foul calls than so be it.
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oldballcoach1
I think at times, some officials have more of an impact on games than they should. Not all - but some. Calling a consistant game is all anyone can ask. I watched a girls game last night and at the end of 3rd quarter - a hand check gets called in the back court. 1st time all game. It had no impact on the play, did not change the direction of the ball handler, and didn't need to be called. The team had been pressing all night and each possession had seen the same type of contact if not more. So why call it now?

In a recent game - Team A was called for 8 fouls and Team B had 2 - at the end of the 3rd quarter. At the quarter break, the officials come together and as good coaches do, Team A's coach simply says "8 to 2" as his team is coming into the bench. Being around the game a long time - I wanted to see the reaction of the officials. Well, they gather, have a brief conversation, and then move to their areas. Guess what happens? Within the 1st two minutes of the 4th quarter, Team B is called for 3 fouls and by midway though the 4th quarter, the fouls are even at 8.

I can only surmise why this happened.
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johnwall1
oldballcoach1 wrote:
I think at times, some officials have more of an impact on games than they should. Not all - but some. Calling a consistant game is all anyone can ask. I watched a girls game last night and at the end of 3rd quarter - a hand check gets called in the back court. 1st time all game. It had no impact on the play, did not change the direction of the ball handler, and didn't need to be called. The team had been pressing all night and each possession had seen the same type of contact if not more. So why call it now?

In a recent game - Team A was called for 8 fouls and Team B had 2 - at the end of the 3rd quarter. At the quarter break, the officials come together and as good coaches do, Team A's coach simply says "8 to 2" as his team is coming into the bench. Being around the game a long time - I wanted to see the reaction of the officials. Well, they gather, have a brief conversation, and then move to their areas. Guess what happens? Within the 1st two minutes of the 4th quarter, Team B is called for 3 fouls and by midway though the 4th quarter, the fouls are even at 8.

I can only surmise why this happened.


The officiating at the Onalaska v Holmen game I went to was horrible. 4 players fouled out, 1 of them in the 3Q...at least two of his five fouls were just awful calls. The end of the game, Holmen had 2 kids play most/all of the 2 OT periods who either almost never played during season, or only played spot minutes. Ona had a bit more depth, and that turned out to be the difference in surviving 3 disqualified players. I'm not saying don't call fouls, but it was awful both ways. Just awful.

I was able to watch 1/2 of the AQU vs BT game on kqeq the other night. The announcers (Terry E and ??) were incredulous. BT shot 16 for 20 FT's in the 1st half to AQU 0 for 0. I heard it evened some in 2H, but didn't watch it. One announcer, at 2 plays where phantom fouls were called simply said...I don't get it....there is simply no foul there. And Terry went off on the official, as is not unusual for him to do. Those refs wanted to be the show, and it was hard to watch. 20 FTA's to 0 is quite a disparity. Some of that clearly was on Aquinas as they weren't going to the basket like BT was, but some of the fouls called on the other end were just dumbfounding.

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oldballcoach1
I thought the whistle was blown a lot at Holmen on Saturday night. Too much. Like I said, good officials are those that can get the sense of the flow of the game and don't interfere with it. A stoppage of play every trip down the court isn't good. I thought there were calls on both sides that were questionable and there were a lot of non-call type plays that were actually called.

Friday's game at Onalaska also had its moments. I thought the officials allowed Ona's coach way too much in terms of questioning them. The adamant flapping of the arms and running up and down the sideline is to much. And as I said in an earlier post, he rode the officials when the fouls were 5 - 1 against them and wouldn't you know that before long, the fouls were even.

I also don't believe you blow the whistle with 3 seconds left in a tie game unless there is an outrageous play. In watching the highlight on Channel 19 - the ball was over the Ona players head and past him before any contact was made. And the contact occurred on the floor as the players came down as opposed to in the air.

I am a firm believer in letting the players decide games, not the officials. It is interesting to hear that the ex-commissioner and official himself would talk about other officials. Despite the fact that I am not sure the crew that did the BT - Aquinas game should do that level of games, usually officials don't talk about each other.

Another story is the 3 man crew's for games. The WIAA and some of their mouth pieces cry foul when anyone wants to look at that issue. How they assign officials for games is a huge mystery. It certainly is not on ability or quality. And lets face the fact that the coaches rankings of officials means nothing to the WIAA. Is it years of service? Who you know? Whatever it is, the quality of play is being impacted.
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johnwall1
Well, none of our schools got close to a trip to Madison, as we expected. Looking back on the season, it really was a bad year for boys basketball, and for girls other than Aquinas who was 1 step away from state. MVC boys, I just can't imagine that team from Holmen went 11-1 and won the conference. No disrespect intended, but that was not a good team. I think their non-conf record clearly demonstrates that. Onalaska improved a ton over the course of the year, that was a different team in March than they were in December. But in the end, a lack of size prevailed over their considerable skill. Aquinas also was a much improved team in March compared to December. Central got worse as the season progressed, again demonstrated by their good non conf record compared to 8-4 in MVC with losses to Holmen (2), Ona and Aquinas. Central was such a disappointment. Logan, Sparta and Tomah were just really bad teams, sorry to put it so blunt, but no other way to say it.

Next year one would think Onalaska should be the team to beat, but they graduate the only 2 players with any size. They will be skilled and tough, but very small. Central should be the team to beat, but until they prove interested in defense and get tougher, they will disappoint. They, like Onalaska, graduate the only size they have in the program so they won't be a big team. Holmen loses everything except 1 post player, and he is good but won't be that effective with poor guard play and no quality bigs around him like he had this season. Aquinas will be interesting, they lose their big kid in the middle, but return a couple of nice young guards and 2 juniors who are 6'4 or better. Logan and Tomah look very weak, and Sparta has a decent soph class, but that's not enough for an upper division finish.

Will next year an MVC team have a chance to advance to state? Maybe with Henry gone, Ona or Central has a shot.
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oldballcoach1
It was a strange year for boys basketball and that is an under statement. Holmen was able to win and I attribute that to having some seniors play key roles. They have been around winning and that does rub off and they were able to use that to help themselves in some games. Onalaska was able to make shots when they needed to and did enough to win late in the season. Central came down to not being able to defend. They gave up way to many easy baskets and when games were on the line, they could never get the defensive stand as they have in the past.

Next year, Central and Ona will once again push for the top spot, but you can't discount Holmen then with the tradition they are building. Ona really doesn't have to replace anyone - but Central has a hole to replace as they lose a mulitple time all conference player. Sparta will continue to move up. They could push to finish 3rd and that might be the highest for them in years. Aquinas will be ok with a couple of returners, Tomah will continue to be near the bottom.

Until teams though get tougher - they will not compete with the teams from the north in division 2. Defense has to become a priority for them - you can not just plan to outscore teams.
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