An optimist would say that each team has as good a chance as anyone, and that it's anyone's ball-game in the West Allis Central WIAA State Division 2 girls basketball sectional this weekend.
But that's just not the case. The defending state champion New Berlin Eisenhower squad (22-2), having survived a brutal regional with a 47-41 decision over Woodland Conference rival Pewaukee, is an odd's-on favorite, with not a lot of disagreement.
The Lions take on Wisconsin Lutheran (13-11) in a 7 p.m. sectional semifinal Thursday at Oak Creek. The other semifinal has a resurgent Whitefish Bay squad (19-5) taking on Wauwatosa West (8-16) in a 7 p.m. Thursday tilt at Waukesha South.
For Bay coach Greg Capper, whose team won its first regional title in five years he recognizes that his young team would like to emulate squads like Eisenhower and so this experience is going to be invaluable for the future.
"It's just another step forward," he said.
But for the battle-tested Lions, the time is now.
The sectional final is at 2
Coach: Greg Capper
Conference record: 11-3 (second in the North Shore)
Key players: 6-1 freshman Maya Jonas (12.1 ppg.), 5-10 sophomore Elisabeth Johnston (9.8 ppg.) and 5-9 senior Leslie Fuda (6.8 ppg.)
Significant wins: 48-32 over Cedarburg (16-7) on Jan. 14
Win streak: four in a row, 10 of last 11
How they advanced: beat St Joan Antida, 55-15; beat Brown Deer, 30-29
Synopsis: This is the latest step upward for the Blue Dukes who were winless four years ago. They have gotten a lot of mileage out of the talented freshman Jonas in the post and rely on Johnston to run the show from the point. The return of 5-10 senior Jessica Switzer (7 ppg.) to the game after a hiatus, will be a big help to the Blue Dukes, who beat Tosa West in the season opener, 51-28.
Coach: Gil Tage
Conference: 8-6 (fourth in the Wisconsin Little 10)
Key players: 6-3 junior Karynda DuPree (12.2 ppg.); 5-8 sophomore Kelsey Frey (11.8)
Significant wins: beat West Bend East (18-5), 43-19, on Jan. 14
Win streak: five in a row
How they advanced: beat St. Francis, 47-38; beat Cudahy, 60-58
Synopsis: The Vikings have been streaky, with losing streaks of three and four games, respectively, this season, and another win streak of four games. There are four Freys on the team, including fellow sophomore senior Christel (6.3 ppg.) and sophomore Mandy (4.5 ppg.).
Coach: Mike Pietrowiak
Conference record: 4-13 (tied for fourth in the Woodland Black)
Key players: 5-6 junior Paige Soles (8.0) and 5-9 sophomore Latasha Harmon (7.3 ppg.)
Significant win: 46-29 over Wauwatosa East on Feb. 8
Win streak: two in a row
How they advanced: beat Milwaukee Juneau, 43-38; beat Milwaukee Custer, 30-27
Synopsis: The Trojans came out of the weak Brookfield Central regional but still earned their first WIAA regional plaque since 2000. Lost their first five but have been competitive ever since.
NEW BERLIN EISENHOWER
Coach: Gary Schmidt
Conference record: 17-0 (first in the Woodland Black)
Key players: 5-9 junior guard Nicole Bauman (15 ppg.), 6-1 senior center Anna Hahn (10.2 ppg.), and 5-8 sophomore swing Jenny Weiland (9.1 ppg.)
Significant wins: two over third-ranked in state Pewaukee (17-1, 22-2)
Win streak: five in a row
How advanced: beat Catholic Memorial, 64-29; and Pewaukee, 47-41
Synopsis: The second-ranked in state Lions have been on a tear since a loss a few weeks ago to state power Milwaukee Vincent. Behind NOW Player of the Year candidate Bauman they have challenged themselves time and again beating the likes of Brookfield Central and DSHA with their only other loss to powerhouse Monroe.
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