Coaches across the state will gather this weekend for seeding meetings, locking in the WIAA tournament brackets.
But despite none of the results having any effect on the playoffs, next week — the final one of the regular season — may be the most fascinating of the year. There are conference title showdowns, playoff previews and grudge matches.
Eau Claire Regis travels to Colfax on Monday for a nonconference tilt between two teams with a lot of history, including last season, when the Vikings knocked out a Ramblers team that looked like a state contender in the regional finals.
“It’s always a special game for me, because I’m from Colfax,” Regis coach Patrick Boughton said. “(Vikings coach Joe) Doucette was my phy ed teacher, my track coach.
“It would be nice to get a little payback, a little redemption on Monday.”
There won’t be a playoff rematch this year unless both teams make it to the sectional final — the Vikings were kicked up north in the sectional reshuffling.
The game isn’t even the biggest of the week for Colfax, which hosts Durand next Thursday with the winner taking the outright Dunn-St. Croix championship. The Vikings are the only team to beat the Panthers this year.
Bloomer can grab a share of the Heart O’North title with a win at Hayward next Friday. The Hurricanes won on Jan. 5 in Bloomer when Madelyn Neff flipped in a shot in the waning seconds. The Blackhawks haven’t lost since.
Hudson and Chippewa Falls, even in the loss column, will decide who wins the Big Rivers. They don’t play each other, but both face several tough tests over the next nine days.
In a another big nonconference game, Flambeau travels to Chippewa Falls McDonell on Monday. The two teams are likely to be the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds in the southern half of the Division 5 Spooner Sectional. Bragging rights are on the line, but don’t expect either team to tip its hand too much ahead of what could be a sectional semifinal rematch. Macks coach Don Cooper said he’s got a plan to deal with Falcons standout Jordan Ludescher, but don’t expect to see it until the playoffs.
“Yes I do,” Cooper said with a laugh after McDonell’s 58-54 win over Regis on Tuesday. “But we’re not going to show them anything (on Monday).”
Player of the week: Brooke Olson, Rice Lake. The Minnesota-Duluth-bound senior became the school’s all-time leading scorer Saturday with 25 points in a win over River Falls. With 19 more in a loss Tuesday to Hayward, Olson is now at 1,388 and counting — 40 clear of Jenna Orr.
Team of the week: Eau Claire Memorial (5-14, 3-6 Big Rivers). The Old Abes followed up an upset of Rice Lake on Jan. 26 with another Friday against Chippewa Falls, erasing the Cardinals’ BRC lead in the process. Up next are trips to River Falls and North. Jada Biermeier had 20 points to lead the effort against the Cardinals and a season-high 24 in a win over La Crosse Logan on Jan. 30.
Menomonie at Hudson, 7:15 p.m. today: The Mustangs still can play spoiler in the BRC race. The Raiders can pull even with Chippewa Falls with a win. Klees’ pick: Menomonie.
Cameron at Flambeau, 7:15 p.m. today: The leaders of the Central and East Lakeland face off in Tony. I think the Comets hand the Falcons their first loss. Klees pick: Cameron.
Flambeau at McDonell, 7:15 p.m. Monday: The Macks beat the Falcons twice last year. I think that trend continues. Klees’ pick: McDonell.
Memorial at North, 8 p.m. Tuesday: Despite their records, these teams are both playing well down the stretch. I’ll take the Huskies at home. Klees’ pick: North.
Last week’s record: 2-2. Season record: 16-12.
St. Croix Central wrapped up the outright Middle Border Conference title Tuesday with a 55-38 win over Baldwin-Woodville. … Blair-Taylor can claim a share of its second straight Small Dairyland crown on Friday with a win over Immanuel Lutheran and an outright title with another win over Alma/Pepin on Monday. ... Flambeau is the outright East Lakeland champ after its win over Cornell on Friday. That makes 35 conference titles for the Falcons. … Independence freshman Ziy Connor scored a career-high 23 points in just her eighth varsity game Tuesday against Alma/Pepin. Connor, who came in averaging 6.1 ppg, was 10 of 14 from the floor and grabbed 12 rebounds. ... Kaitlyn Tice of Cadott went off for a career-best 19 points last Friday in a win over Gilmanton. … Boyceville’s Taylor Grambow scored in double figures for the first time last Thursday with 14 points against neighboring rival Glenwood City.
Mike Klees’ top 10 teams, regardless of enrollment, from the L-T coverage area:
Team Record LW
1. Durand 18-1 1
2. Bloomer 15-3 3
3. Flambeau 17-0 4
4. Chippewa Falls 12-7 2
5. Cameron 15-3 7
6. Hudson 12-7 6
7. Regis 12-7 5
8. Osseo-Fairchild 15-4 8
9. McDonell 16-4 9
10. Colfax 15-4 —
Dropped out: No. 10 Rice Lake (14-5).
(Ranked on average; min. 125 points)
G Pts Avg
Brooke Olson, Rice Lake 18 394 21.9
Caelan Givens, CF 18 338 18.8
Kylie Strop, River Falls 18 296 16.4
Kylie Mogen, Menomonie 19 309 16.3
Tyra Boettcher, Menomonie 19 287 15.1
Shayla Wallin, Hudson 19 284 14.9
Jada Biermeier, Memorial 18 265 14.7
Bailey Reardon, River Falls 18 234 13.0
Alexis Zenner, CF 15 179 11.9
Sydney Hazuga, Memorial 18 168 9.3
Tahlia Walton, S-B 19 407 21.4
Amber Darge, Regis 18 282 15.7
Brooke Freitag, O-F 18 272 15.1
Megan Steinke, O-F 18 271 15.1
Kate Seyer, Regis 18 264 14.7
Teryn Karlstad, Regis 18 254 14.1
Arianna Mason, S-B 19 249 13.1
Abby Opsal, McDonell 19 213 11.2
Megan Baier, McDonell 19 207 10.9
Abby Wampler, McDonell 19 189 9.9
Haley Poeschel, Mondovi 19 333 17.5
Emily Annis, Durand 18 278 15.4
Morgan Radtke, Elk Mound 18 266 14.8
Shae Baier, Durand 14 195 13.9
Kameri Meredith, Colfax 17 216 12.7
Allie Weber, Elk Mound 18 202 11.2
Megan Baier, Durand 18 181 10.1
Jenesa Klinger, GC 18 170 9.4
Lexi Diesing, Elmwood/PC 18 169 9.4
Delanie Quinn, GC 17 159 9.4
Jordan Ludescher, Flambeau 17 415 24.4
Jennifer Wendler, O-W 16 370 23.1
Mia Krogseng, SCC 18 332 18.4
Haylee Yaeger, Prescott 16 278 17.4
Maddy Otto, Cameron 16 262 16.4
Madelyn Neff, Hayward 17 275 16.2
Carli Wanink, Cameron 16 249 15.6
Brianna Nelson, Eleva-Strum 18 275 15.3
Ashlyn Korger, Augusta 17 256 15.1
Katie Christopherson, M-M 18 271 15.1
Carley Yeager, LH 16 238 14.9
Cara Miller, Prairie Farm 15 223 14.9
Kelly Nielsen, Greenwood 15 219 14.6
Grace Grunseth, Gilman 18 260 14.4
Isabella Lenz, Prescott 16 228 14.3
Katie Lundeen, NW 18 254 14.1
Ashley Streveler, Colby 19 267 14.1
Erika Simmons, M-M 18 250 13.9
Mackenzie Correll, Northwestern 63
Cara Miller, Prairie Farm 51
Allie Weber, Elk Mound 48
Ashley Streveler, Colby 47
Carley Elmhorst, Colby 45
Carli Wanink, Cameron 41
Camryn Skabroud, Gilman 39
Lexy Peterson, Cochrane-FC 38
Lorin Bauer, New Richmond 36
Note: Boys and girls statistical leaders are compiled by Tim Peterson from box scores published in the Leader-Telegram and other sources. Corrections or additions should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.