Fall Creek, Eleva-Strum boys' hoops teams advance in regional tournament

Two Tri-County area prep boys' basketball teams will play in the semifinals of their respective WIAA regional tournaments this evening beginning at 7 p.m. If they win they will play on Saturday in championship games, also at 7 p.m.

Both Fall Creek and Eleva- Strum high school advanced past the first round played on Tuesday, March 3. The No. 6 seeded Crickets won in overtime over No. 11 seed Stanley-Boyd 51-46 at home in Division 4. Ploeckelman scored the bulk of his 14 points in the second half and help lift the Crickets to the win, avenging a 58-35 loss to the Orioles only a couple of weeks before and snapping S-B's win streak at five games. His teammate Luke Olson finished with 16 points.

To win the regional tournament for the second straight season FC (11-12 overall;) will have to win at Whitehall, 16-6, this evening. The No. 3 seeded Norse won a share of the Large Dairyland Conference title led by their young backcourt of freshman Devon McCune and sophomore Jonathan Thorn. The Norse also have a pair of quality seniors in forward James Breska and 6-8 center Brandon Dick. McCune, Breska and Dick are all in double figures in both scoring and rebounding. The winner of this game will get No. 2 seeded Eau Claire Regis or No. 7 seed La Crosse Aquinas. These old CWCC rivals will square off in Eau Claire Friday. The Ramblers (16-6) are the No. 2 seed in the tournament bracket facing the No. 7 seeded Blugolds of Auinas. Regis' top players are senior guard Branton Paulsrud, averaging 16 points per game and fellow senior, 6-6 Abe Rocksvold, who averages seven rebounds per contest to go with his nearly 13 points per game. Aquinas (7-16) despite finishing 1-11 in the tough Mississippi Valley Conference, got a No. 7 seed and parlayed it to a 75-69 win at home Tuesday. Aquinas's top scorer is sophomore Quinn Miskowski at 12 points per game. He had 21 as the Blugolds held off a late Osseo-Fairchild rally to win.

Speaking of rallying from deficits, In Division 5, Eleva-Strum did so from halftime to the end of its first round game vs. Independence (7-16). The Cardinals, were down 32-30 at halftime before Nick Higley scored the bulk of his 25 points for the Cards in the second halftime while Mitch Olson finished with 15 points and Cade McSorley had 13 points. The No. 7 seeded Cardinals are at No. 4 ranked and No. 2 seeded Blair-Taylor in the regional semifinals. The Wildcats (21-2) easily won its tournament opener 97-32 over Coulee Christian. Kyle Steien is B-T top scorer at 16.3 ppg. and his fellow junior teammate Matt Waldera has 13 ppg. and nearly 10 rebounds. B-T won the only game E-S played against each other this season 67-53.

The winner of this contest will take on the No. 3 seed, Large Dairyland Conference co-champs Alma Center Lincoln (18-5). The Hornets are led in both scoring and rebounding by 6-5 senior forward Ethan Breheim who averages nearly 18 and 14 respectively. His teammate, senior guard Justin Rowekamp averages 14 ppg. Lincoln takes on Royall (11-11). The Panthers are led by 6-2 sophomore forward Nathan Veith who averages 10 points and seven rebounds per contest and also leads the team in assists. Royall beat Gilmanton 66-61 to advance in the tourney while Lincoln beat LaFarge 71-50.

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