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Monroe looks to push pace
Monroe High School senior Alex Tordoff averages 16.4 points a game to lead the Cheesemakers. (Times photo: Marissa Weiher)
MONROE - It will be a clash in styles when the Monroe High School boys basketball team hosts Oregon for a WIAA Division 2 regional quarterfinal today.

Oregon (10-12) will look to slow down the game, and Monroe (10-12) will look to push the tempo and press the Panthers.

"Out of all the teams in our regional, it's probably the one team we didn't want to play," Monroe coach Brian Bassett said. "They have the one coach who is really good at finding and exploiting matchups."

Oregon coach Jon Nedelcoff was a scouting director at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville when former coach Pat Murphy was playing for the Pioneers.

Monroe split two games with the Panthers this year. The Panthers knocked off the Cheesemakers 45-38 Jan. 27 in Oregon. Six days later, Monroe beat Oregon 54-43 at home.

"The big thing is our energy," Bassett said. "When we played them at Oregon our energy wasn't very good. When we played them in Monroe our energy was probably the best it's been all season. When we beat them in Monroe we used a fullcourt press and were able to keep the ball out of the hands of their point guard, and we made someone else bring the ball down. We need to push the tempo with our fullcourt press."

Monroe senior Alex Tordoff leads the Cheesemakers, averaging 16.4 points per game this year. Two other players also average in double figures, senior Carter Sawdey (11.3 ppg) and junior Brayden Zettle (10.4 ppg).

The Cheesemakers have lost six games by six points or less this year.

"It may have value if we would have won any of them," Bassett said of playing in so many close games. "We haven't been very good at closing out games. I'm hoping these seniors get one more chance to close out a game in the tournament."

If the Cheesemakers beat Oregon, they would play at top-seeded and fourth-ranked Waunakee (20-2) in a regional semifinal on Friday.

"I think every major outlet and internet site is picking Waunakee to make a return to state," Bassett said. "They return two of the best guards in the state. We just have to cross that bridge of coming out with a win against Oregon."

Division 3

Brodhead (7-15) will play at Madison Edgewood (17-5) in a regional quarterfinal on Tuesday. The Cardinals snapped a five-game losing streak with a 63-60 win over Orfordville Parkview in the regular-season finale Feb. 23. While Brodhead may be the underdog, the Cardinals in spurts have shown they can compete with bigger schools, including during a one-point loss to Monroe.

"We are probably better than our record," Brodhead coach Nick Jarvis said. "At times we just haven't got it done to win. If we can take care of the basketball and hit some shots, we are confident we can compete."

Brodhead junior Justice Tway, who averaged 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, is one of three playmakers the Cardinals rely on. The other top scorers for the Cardinals are junior Brekan Day (14.4 ppg) and junior Parker Johnson (12.9 ppg).

Jarvis sees ninth-ranked Edgewood as a test.

"We need to be ready to be physical," he said. "They (Edgewood) are a very good rebounding team. They have some very good scorers and defend well."

Division 4

Both Darlington (22-0), ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press Division 4 state poll, and New Glarus (18-4) have first-round regional byes and won't play until the regional semifinals Friday.

As the top sectional seed, Darlington will play the winner of eighth-seeded Cambridge and ninth-seeded Lancaster on Friday in a regional semifinal game.

"I feel like our sectional is one of the toughest in the state," Darlington coach Tom Uppena said. "It's nice to have the top seed and have the home court advantage through regionals. We earned the No. 1 seed. I don't think our boys feel any pressure as the No. 1 seed. I think they are excited and ready to play in the regional."

The Redbirds have a team full of talented, experienced and capable scorers led by seniors Will Schwartz (15.9 ppg), Trevor Johnson (13.6 ppg), Ryan Glendenning (11.2 ppg) and Josh Soper (9.3 ppg).

The other top contenders in the bottom part of the Baraboo sectional include second-seeded New Glarus (18-4), third-seeded Deerfield and fourth-seeded Mineral Point, which gave the Redbirds their closest game this season - a 72-67 win Feb. 3.

New Glarus, the Capitol South Conference champions, had a 13-game winning streak snapped when it fell to fourth-ranked Lake Mills 87-71 in a regular-season finale Feb. 23. The Glarner Knights will play the winner of seventh-seeded Belleville and 10th-seeded Cuba City on Friday in a regional semifinal game in New Glarus.

New Glarus is led by sophomore Jaden Kreklow (19.3 ppg), junior Cullen Brooks (18.9 ppg) and sophomore Zach Feller (13.3 ppg).

In the top part of the Baraboo sectional, Cochrane-Fountain City is the top seed and Pardeeville is the second seed. However, the most dangerous team may be La Crosse Aquinas, an eighth seed which beat Darlington in overtime last year in a sectional championship game to make it to state. If Aquinas beats the Coulee Christian School today, Aquinas would advance to play at Cochrane-Fountain City on Friday.

"We will work on our offense, get some shots up and fine-tune some things on defense," Uppena said. "It's nice to have a bye because it allows us to do that. Aquinas is battled-tested."

Division 5

Black Hawk coach Charlie Anderson said Barneveld, the top-seeded team in the sectional and second-ranked team in Division 5, Barneveld is the favorite to come out of the top part of the Watertown sectional. However, Black Hawk, a third seed, beat Barneveld 53-51 in a regular-season finale Thursday.

"I think at the end of the year you want to be playing your best basketball, find ways to compete and win close games against really good teams," Anderson said. "That is what it will take to go on a deep run in the tournament. I think we are playing our best basketball now."

Black Hawk (18-4), which has won nine of its past 10 games, will host 14th-seeded Madison Country Day in a regional quarterfinal game today.

If the Warriors advance, they would host the winner of sixth-seeded Cambria-Friesland and 11th-seeded Monticello (4-18) in a regional semifinal game Friday in South Wayne.

Argyle (3-19) will play at Fall River in another regional quarterfinal today.

Seventh-seeded Juda (14-8) will host 10th-seeded Albany (10-12) today in a regional quarterfinal, while second-seeded Pecatonica (17-5) will host 15th-seeded Central Wisconsin Christian. If Pecatonica advances, the Vikings would host the Juda-vs.-Albany winner in a regional semifinal game Friday in Blanchardville.

Black Hawk has three players averaging in double figures, led by 6-foot-4 sophomore Conner Meyer (21.2 ppg). The other top scorers for the Warriors are 6-7 senior Josh Meier (13.7 ppg) and 6-5 junior C.J. Leuzinger (12.9 ppg).

The earliest Black Hawk could get a rematch against Barneveld would come in a sectional semifinal game. However, the Warriors may have to get over the roadblock that Pecatonica has been. The Vikings have beaten the Warriors twice this year.

"I think we matchup good with Barneveld with our height, and we can get it inside," Anderson said. "Pecatonica's A.J. Hendrickson is a great scorer, and he has had two big games against us to lead Pec. Last year, we lost in the first round of the regional. We just want to redeem ourselves this year with pretty much the same group."

Hendrickson (23.9 ppg) is the top scorer and playmaker for the Vikings. The other key players for Pecatonica are sophomore Colton Schraepfer (12.2 ppg) and senior Kole Kent (9.8 ppg).

"I think there are three or four teams in our quadrant who can win the regional," Anderson said. "I think Barneveld is the favorite to win the sectional. They have proven it during the season. They were the best team in our conference."