By Jason Zaleski
The return of the boys and girls basketball Power Five on Zaleski Sports.
For those that remember, this is our alphabetical list of five girls and boys basketball teams that we think you should find a way to watch due to their exemplary play this season. Find them quickly as this list is dynamic and you will see teams come and go from this list regularly due to their performance, lack of, or better performance of another.
For those that forgot, we don't blame you. We took last year off from this weekly update due to the fact that schools weren't permitting casual fans into their gyms due to debatable reasons. Debatable? Yep. As we found out at the beginning of last year's basketball playoffs, the WIAA told schools if you don't open your doors to everybody then you cannot host a playoff contest. That was last year and we hope to never see most of what we saw ever again.
Many games mentioned below are broadcast live on Zaleski Sports. See the weekly schedule by clicking here.
On with the show!
Girls Power Five
Assumption - The reigning D5 state champs are on the list. Fact is, the champs could have began the season 0-7 and would have still been on this Power Five opening list if for no other reason than to give respect where it's due. Fact is, the Royals are 7-1 and figure to be on this list all season long. Make sure you're in Auburndale (a team that likely wonders why they're not on this list) on Thursday when the Royals attempt to ground the Eagles in a big Marawood South conference matchup.
Neillsville - Another crop of seniors leave, next new group in, same result for John Gaier and his Warriors. Neillsville is a perfect 5-0 along with a 51-10 clobbering of Loyal and a 70-15 dismantling of Greenwood, both conference opponents. Message sent to the rest of the Cloverbelt East? Likely so. Only one Neillsville game to choose from this week, at Colby on Thursday.
Phillips - How do you beat a team 96-9? We're not sure either as neither team sent in any stats. Perhaps the score was too embarrassing for both Chequamegon (0-7) and Phillips (4-0) to tell anybody what happened. Two games during the next 17 days for the Loggers and with those opponents (Ladysmith and Athens) a combined 13-1, doubtful we see another 96-9 scoreboard. We're hopeful that stats will be made available to the media.
Spencer - In the four seasons prior to last's years situation, the Rockets had a total of 20 wins, an average of five per year. The Spencer girls have already racked up four wins this season and play in a brand spankin' new domed facility.
The schedule gets tougher for Spencer quickly so get out a see them while they're on this list. Next home dome clash is Thursday vs Loyal.
Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln - Wisconsin Valley Conference player of the year favorite, Megan Clary, is off to a great start. Clary averages over 20 points per game and laid 25 on the road in a win at Marshfield last week Tuesday. The Red Raiders are 2-3 and have played a tough non-conference schedule with the losses coming to D1 number one Appleton East, number seven Kimberly, and D2 number five Beaver Dam. Rapids hosts SPASH Monday with tip set
Boys Power Five
Columbus Catholic - Fundamentally sound, patient, textbook. All words I have used to describe the Dons. The number two ranked boys from Marshfield are a perfect 4-0 on the season playing all but one non-conference game. Sam "Sturdy" Wilczek is a smooth operating guard who averages double-digit scoring.
Cole "Worm" Noreen outworks all on the court in a Dennis Rodman-esque fashion. Sophmore guard Blake "Ain't Nothin' But a Hound Dog" Jakobi hounds defensively and leads the team averaging over 13 points per game. Next up is another non-conference game on Tuesday at home vs Regis.
Iola-Scandinavia - The T-Birds are undefeated at 3-0 on the young season with wins over Pittsville, Almond, and overtime vs Wittenberg. Senior Parker Prahl averages a double-double with 20 points per game and 10 rebounds per game. Prahl also leads the team in assists with 3.3 dimes each time out. The Pacelli Cardinals will be at Iola's Thunderdome on Tuesday 7:30pm.
Marathon - Another undefeated squad on this week's list with the Red Raiders checking in a 4-0. With three of the four victories coming comfortably with 20+ point scoring margins Marathon having no trouble finding the bottom of the net this year. Jaden Koeller, a 6'3" senior, leads the way averaging 23 points per game. Marathon is at Edgar on Tuesday and home vs Stratford on Friday.
Newman Catholic - The Cardinals are ranked tenth in the latest poll and have impressed early. After dropping the season opener to D3 Northland Pines, the Cardinals have won its last three by no less than 17. Smooth operating guard Mason Prey and 3-point sniper Isaac Seidel average a combined 45 points per game. A trio of games to catch the Cards this week; vs Spencer on Monday, at Assumption on Tuesday, and vs Auburndale on Friday.
Stratford - Our third Marawood South conference team on the list and like Marathon, the Tigers are undefeated at 4-0. Stratford has won its games by an average of 22 points and has found a scoring triumvirate. Cam Daul (14.2ppg), Ashton Wrensch (12.8ppg), and Caden Bruesiwitz (10.2ppg) can all pour it in. The Tigers visit Auburndale on Tuesday and what appears to be a real humdinger on Friday at Marathon.