Updated: Jan 17
By Jason Zaleski
Welcome back to 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.
Many games mentioned below are broadcast live on Zaleski Sports for your viewing pleasure. See the weekly schedule by clicking here.
Girls Power Five
Assumption (12-2, 7-2) - Six consecutive wins for the Royals dating back to December 20th that included a 57-37 win over Stratford on Thursday. In the Stratford win, Assumption flexed its muscle for all of the Marawood and perhaps the state to see with a halftime score of 32-8. Freshman Sarah Shaw pairs with senior Ainara Sanz de Rosas to score 22 points per game for coach Ryan Klein. This week the Royals take their show on the road to Newman and Prentice, who have combined for one conference win this season.
Neillsville (12-1, 9-0) - In nine Eastern Cloverbelt games, the Warriors have outscored their conference mates by a whopping 554-155. That’s a per game scoring average of 60-17. On one hand, a very impressive crushing of the conference. On the other hand, Neillsville has seen little in the way of post season preparation in conference play. Often times not being battle tested can result in playoff disappointment. Coach John Gaier has had years of playoff success to help prepare his team and a playoff-type game awaits the Warriors on Tuesday at #3 ranked McDonell Central (D5).
Auburndale (11-3, 7-1) - Auburndale goes for the season sweep over Stratford on the road Tuesday and then visits Rib Lake on Friday. Both Marawood conference games and important games for the Eagles if a Marawood South conference championship is on the list of season goals. The Eagles have a full game lead on Assumption in conference and coach Dale Aue has his team positioned to stay in the top spot. A three-headed attack in Annamarie Aue, Ashlyn Grimm, and Gracie Krings combine for 33 points per game and help make Auburndale tough to beat.
Mosinee (15-0, 6-0) - 15 up, 15 down for Mosinee including a season sweep of Lakeland by way of a 50-46 win over the T-Birds at home on Friday. The Indians fell behind 24-21 at halftime before outscoring Lakeland by seven in the second half to keep its perfect season intact. The Mosinee girls play a tenacious, in-your-face defense that doesn’t relent from start to finish. A very entertaining style of basketball in a very boring world of zone defenses found elsewhere. A solo game on the schedule this week with a trip to Antigo scheduled for Friday.
Wausau West (11-2, 5-0) -
The Warriors are again the team to beat in the Wisconsin Valley Conference. That message was sent on Friday night with a 72-49 dismantling of second place Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln, which featured a 50-22 halftime lead (game highlights here). Junior Lexie White averages over 18 points per game for coach Tom Weinfauf and put up a game high 21 against Rapids on Friday. The Warriors travel to sectional mate Eau Claire Memorial on Tuesday, then see DC Everest for the first time this year on Thursday before wrapping up the three-game week at Merrill on Friday. Three road games in a four day stretch will be an interesting test for West.
Moving out: Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln
Boys Power Five
Columbus Catholic (11-1, 6-0) - The Dons are the number two ranked team in D5 lead by coach Joe Konieczny who is in his 17th year at Columbus Catholic. Coach K and his Dons are well on their way to the top seed in its section come playoff time. While sectional opponents from the Marawood South are beating up on each other, the Dons continue to stack up wins to impress the WIAA’s seeding computation formula. A 79-70 win last week at Pacelli was another on the pile. How do you outscore the Dons? Great question. Four guards each average double-digit scoring and a rapidly developing inside game mean you need to have multiple players have season best games when the boys in blue come calling. A pair of conference games this week with a road trip to Colby on Tuesday and a home game against Spencer on Friday are two great chances to check out these guys in-person.
Iola-Scandinavia (12-0, 6-0) - Twelve games played and all in the win column for coach Sam Bertsch and his Thunderbirds. 6’5” senior Parker Prahl tops the team in scoring (19.2 ppg), rebounds (10.1 rpg), and assists (3.8 apg). Somebody put a guy on him! Not so fast. The other guys are good too. Isaiah Hoyord pours in over 11 points per game, Brock Weister collects seven boards per game, and Will Tappa dishes three assists per game. The defense for Iola-Scandinavia may be the toughest hurdle for opponents to overcome as the T-Birds only allow 40 points per game. Two game homestead this week at the Thunderdome with Markesan visiting on Tuesday and Menominee Indian on Friday.
Marathon (11-1, 8-1) - Coach Adam Jacobson and his Red Raiders continue to impress this season. Only an uncharacteristic stumble at Edgar last month with a very un-Marathon-like 26 turnovers keep Coach Jacobson’s boys from an undefeated season. The winning ways continued last week against Assumption and Auburndale, thus keeping in front of hard charging Stratford in the Marawood South standings. Both Mosinee and Athens are prepping for Marathon’s 1-3-1 defense with the Red Raiders visiting the Indians on Thursday and the Bluejays on Thursday. The high flying Mosinee (11-1) team scores nearly 70 points per game and will play above the rim with little notice. Make your way to Mosinee on Tuesday or watch live at zaleskisports.com.
Marshfield (7-3, 5-0) -
The first place Marshfield Tigers. I wasn’t sure that those words would leave my mouth this season when talking about Chris Fischer’s Tigers. After a 10-point win over SPASH on Friday night that’s exactly what I said on the broadcast as the game clock went to zero. Then, in less than 24 hours time, it was Marshfield on the road taking down sectional opponent Hudson in two overtimes by a score of 65-63 on Saturday. The Tigers have beat every Wisconsin Valley opponent once with the exception of Wisconsin Rapids (1-10). Marshfield will see Rapids for the first time on Friday in a girls/boys double header with tip scheduled for 8:15pm. You can see the first place Tigers for yourself in Wisconsin Rapids on Friday or live at zaleskisports.com.
Stratford (12-1, 8-1) - The Tigers shot 6-25 from three-point range in their only loss of the season back on December 17th at Marathon, falling 61-55. Seven consecutive wins since that time including three conference wins last week. Stratford outmuscled Newman 63-47 on Tuesday and pushed around Assumption by way of a 63-37 victory on Friday. Coach Curt Schmidt and the boys will visit Wausau East (4-8) and Phillips (2-10) this week. The Tigers get scoring from different places and at different times making them hard to game plan against. Defensively the Tigers frustrate its opponents holding them to a sub 40% shooting percentage from the floor and outbound its competitors by nearly 10 per game.
Moving out: Newman Catholic