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Let the games begin
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MONROE - With the tip-off of the WIAA boys basketball tournament around the corner Tuesday night, Monroe coach Pat Murphy is confident the Cheesemakers can make a postseason run.

For Monroe (8-14) it all starts Tuesday night as the seventh-seeded Cheesemakers host No. 10 Sauk Prairie (6-16) in a WIAA Division 2 regional quarterfinal. Monroe has a seven game losing streak entering the tournament.

"Everyone is 0-0 now," Murphy said. "The records don't matter. We can beat anyone on our schedule and we can lose to anyone. At this point of the year, you are not going to do anything magical. You are who you are. Whatever you have established you want to play to your strengths and limit your weaknesses. It's definitely different for us. We have always been the favorite and now we are playing an underdog role."

The Cheesemakers have prided themselves at closing out games in the fourth quarter in Murphy's tenure. This year, the Cheesemakers have had some leads slip away in the fourth quarter.

"We always talk about winning the fourth quarter," Murphy said. "Now you know if you don't execute you will be putting the uniform away. As a senior, that's tough."

Sauk Prairie senior Lucas Baier averages 16.2 points per game to lead the Eagles.

"We have to find a way to slow down Lucas Baier," Murphy said. "He's right up there with some of the best guards."

Murphy expects the Eagles to play a 1-3-1 zone. If Monroe can defeat Sauk Prairie, the Cheesemakers would play at No. 2 seed DeForest, which beat the Cheesemakers 51-49 to end their season last year.

"We will have to find a way to make some shots and limit them to just one shot," he said.

Here is a look at the other regional matchups.

Division 3

Brodhead (14-7) received a No. 4 seed and received a first round bye. The Cardinals will play the winner of Parkview and Jefferson on Friday in Brodhead.

Brodhead senior Tate Harnack (17 ppg) leads the Cardinals. However, Brodhead seniors Trent Jordan (11.8) and Jesse DeLorme (10.9) also average double figures. The Cardinals have won eight of their last 10 games. If the Cardinals win Friday night, they could get a rematch with No. 2 seed Clinton in a regional championship game on Saturday.

Division 4

New Glarus (12-10) received a No. 4 seed and will host fifth-seeded Deerfield on Friday. New Glarus has a solid backcourt led by senior Tyler Kreklow (15.4 ppg) and sophomore Trae VandeBerg (14.6 ppg). VandeBerg is coming off a 30-point performance where he made seven 3-pointers.

If the Glarner Knights defeat Deerfield, they will play at No. 1 ranked Cuba City in a regional final game on Saturday.

Darlington (14-8) also won't play until Friday. The Redbirds will host the winner of Wisconsin Heights and Mineral Point. Darlington senior Brandon Hardyman (17 ppg) and senior Kent Miehe (10 ppg) lead the Redbirds. If Darlington wins Friday night, the Redbirds would likely play at Cambridge in a regional title game on Saturday.

Division 5

Every Division 5 school is slated to play a regional quarterfinal game Tuesday night. Fourth-seeded Monticello (14-8) will host Princeton. The Ponies have won six of their last seven games entering the tournament. Monticello senior Lukas Kolasch (14.5 ppg) and sophomore Lucas Marty (8.6 ppg) lead the Ponies' attack.

"It won't be easy regardless of who we are playing," Monticello coach Mark Olson said. "It will be a tough road. We have had some close games with Albany and Juda this year."

Albany received a 12th seed and will play at fifth-seeded conference rival Juda (14-6). Albany sophomore Isaiah Sell (17 ppg) leads the Comets. The Panthers are led by seniors Brandon Bauman (12.1 ppg) and Joey Jordan (10.4 ppg). The winner of the Albany-Juda game could get a rematch at Monticello on Friday. Shell scored 25 points as the Comets lost an overtime heartbreaker to Monticello 63-57 in the regular season finale.

"The name of the game in the tournament is survival because then you get to play another day," Juda coach Mike Armitage said. "I really don't care how we play as long as we survive."

Pecatonica (4-18) will play at No. 3 seed Barneveld (20-2). Pecatonica senior Karson Feller (13.9 ppg) leads the Vikings. The last time the two teams met earlier this month, Feller scored a game-high 23 points, but the Eagles were able to hang on for a 66-55 win.

Black Hawk (11-11) as a No. 11 seed will play at Central Wisconsin Christian (13-9). The Warriors got a big lift when junior Merik Meythaler returned from a broken tibia he suffered late in the football season. Black Hawk is led by junior Cory Rupnow (11 ppg) and Meythaler (8.3 ppg).

Argyle (3-18) will play at No. 1 seed Randolph (18-4). Argyle sophomore Christopher Severson (12.3 ppg) has returned from an injury for the Orioles. Argyle has lost 13 straight games heading into the tournament.