GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- The boys state basketball tournament is set after last weekend's sectionals and five teams from Northeast Wisconsin have made the field, one in each of the five divisions.
Four teams are seeded No. 1: Oshkosh North, Kaukauna, Valders and Roncalli and N.E.W. Lutheran is seeded No. 4.
There is a good chance multiple gold balls will be won, so here's a preview of the local teams in the state tournament:
#1 Oshkosh North (25-1) vs. #4 Hamilton (17-9): All season long North has looked the part of being the team to beat in Division 1 and that's how it remains entering the state tournament. Led by Iowa State recruit Tyrese Haliburton (23 points per game) and Quincy Anderson (17.8 ppg.), the Spartans cruised through regionals and sectionals, winning by an average margin of 25.5 ppg. Haliburton, a 6-5 point guard, is a nightmare match with his length and Anderson feeds off Haliburton by drilling shots from the perimeter. If North plays its game, expect the Spartans to win their first state title under first-year coach Brad Weber.
- Other semifinal: #2 Sun Prairie (25-1) vs. #3 Brookfield East (24-2).
#1 Kaukauna (23-3) vs. #4 Westosha Central (20-4): The Kohl Center is where everybody expected Jordan McCabe to play his final game and he will. The West Virginia recruit has led the Galloping Ghosts to a second trip to state in three seasons. McCabe (26.8 ppg.) dominated the last time he was at state in 2016, leading Kaukauna to the state title and that should happen again. While McCabe is the star the likes of Eric Carl, Dylan Kurey, Keaton Ferris and Donovan Ivory also can contribute. Ivory actually scored 30 points in a sectional semifinal win over Pulaski. Everything points to Kaukauna winning the gold ball and it would be surprising if it doesn't.
- Other semifinal: #2 La Crosse Central (24-2) vs. Milwaukee Washington (23-3).
#1 Valders (23-3) vs. #4 Kettle Moraine Lutheran (22-5): Valders shocked the state by ending Xavier's winning streak at 53 games in a sectional final win (59-57) and that win should give the Vikings confidence entering the state tournament. Kyle Tuma (15 ppg., 8.5 rpg.), who made the game-winning free throws with 16.8 seconds left in the sectional final, is a difficult matchup as at 6-5 he can score inside and beyond the arc. Also, point guard Treyner Sundsmo (14.6 ppg.) is a quality player and will be key as long as he has recovered from a concussion he suffered in the sectional final.
Other semifinal: #2 Prescott (24-2) vs. #3 East Troy (21-5).
#1 Roncalli (21-5) vs. #4 Pardeeville(23-3): The Jets are making their second straight trip to the state tournament and unlike last season when they were an underdog this year they are the favorite. Roncalli has a great guard combo in Chombi Lambert (20 ppg.) and Mitchel Schneider (18.8 ppg.) and guard play goes a long way in the postseason. Roncalli, 0-6 in six previous trips to state, should be more comfortable this year at state with last year's experience and has a real shot at winning its first WIAA state title.
- Other semifinal: #2 Clear Lake (25-0) vs. #3 Marathon (21-4).
#4 N.E.W. Lutheran (15-12) vs. #1 Bangor (25-1): For the seventh time in nine seasons N.E.W. Lutheran is at the state tournament. The Blazers, who have never on a WIAA state title, opened the postseason 10-12 (7-9 in the Packerland Conference) and reeled off five straight wins, including a 57-56 win over No. 2-ranked Columbus Catholic in a sectional final. The Blazers are led by coach Mark Meerstein's son, junior Sam Meerstein, who's averaging 21.3 ppg. Sam Meerstein is the only player who remains on the team from the 2016 team that reached the state tournament.
- Other semifinal: #2 Deerfield (23-4) vs. #3 McDonell Central (17-10).
You can watch all the games live on CW 14 and streaming on fox11online.com. Coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay
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