The 2016 high school basketball season is just around the corner. In Division 2, a number of the top teams and top players return for what was a loaded state tournament a year ago. Looking ahead to another competitive season, here an early look at the preseason top 5...
The defending Division 2 state champs lost some key role players from last season, but after the way they finished last season, proved the rest of the field has catching up to do. The Ghosts had an average margin of victory of 24.8 in six playoff games. Kaukauna returns West Virginia commit Jordan McCabe, who was sensational down the stretch. Sharpshooter and Minnesota-Duluth commit Adam Smith will miss roughly eight weeks, but should return for the stretch run.
Key Games: vs. Madison East (Dec. 17), La Crosse Central (Dec. 28/WBY Shootout), Whitnall (Dec. 29/WBY Shootout), at. Oshkosh North (Feb. 14)
La Crosse Central
Central couldn’t seem to get over the hump against the better teams on their schedule, but they’ll get some more help in 2016-17. Wisconsin commit Kobe King and Minnesota-Duluth commit Bailey Kale lead a dangerous 1-2 punch. The Red Raiders return just about everything and could get help from two of the state’s top freshman, Jordan and Jonathan Davis.
Key Games: Kaukauna (Dec. 28/WBY Shootout), vs. Waunakee (Jan. 14/Midwest Player’s Classic), vs. Stevens Point (Feb. 7).
Waunakee made the state championship game a season ago and return both of their top two players, Mason Steffen and Mitch Listau. Coming off 25 wins and a Badger North title, the Warriors rattled off 20 straight wins before falling to Kaukauna in the title. A number of key role players, including Tyler Ronk and Nate Carter, make Waunakee a favorite to return to Madison.
Key Games: vs. Wauwatosa East (Dec. 3), at Monona Grove (Dec. 16) at. La Crosse Central (Jan. 14/Midwest Player’s Classic), vs. Stoughton (Feb. 7)
Whitnall got hot at the right time last season and reached the state semifinals, falling by just three points to Waunakee. Wisconsin commit Tyler Herro and Winona State commit Kevion Taylor are a year better and both showed the ability to carry the load and force teams to pick their poison.
Key Games: at. Brown Deer (Dec. 20), Kaukauna (Dec. 29/WBY Shootout), at. Cedarburg (Jan. 28)
Illinois commit Te’Jon Lucas is gone, but Washington has a young core that will contend for a state run in 2016-17. Touted 2019 forward Deontay Long will be one of the top scorers in Wisconsin this season. Another sophomore, Johntae Martin, is also coming off a fine freshman season.
Key Games: New Berlin Eisenhower (Nov. 25), vs. Chicago Simeon (Jan. 21), at Milwaukee Riverside (Jan. 27), vs. Milwaukee Hamilton (Feb. 24)
Others: Cedarburg, Pewaukee, Onalaska, Stoughton, Pulaski