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Area well represented at state basketball tourney



Aperture by Steve Davis

Aquinas, G-E-T, PdC play today at
Kohl Center, Central on Friday

MADISON — Several area schools have made it to the Kohl Center this week for the state boys’ basketball tournament, but few have had to wait as long as La Crosse Central.

The Red Raiders (22-4), who entered the WIAA Division 2 playoffs the No. 4-ranked team in the state, are making their first trip to state since 1986 — and hasn’t been to the championship since 1925.

The matchup they drew is a tough one, and a rematch. Second-ranked Kaukauna (24-2) beat Central 80-65 on Jan. 16 at the La Crosse Center, led by YouTube sensation Jordan McCabe, who’s been featured on ESPN and at a Golden State Warriors game.

Round 2 between Central and Kaukauna takes place at 3:30 p.m. Friday at the Kohl Center. And, it’s not surprise the two teams find themselves at state. Central coach Todd Fergot figured his schedule that way to an extent.

‘We wanted to schedule the best possible teams we could,” Fergot said. “We thought by doing that it would let us know where we’re at and kind of reveal our strengths, but also some areas where we need to improve upon.” 

Meanwhile, playing at 6:35 p.m. today will be unranked Aquinas (15-11) against state power, and No. 1-ranked Dominican (25-1), led by Kostas Antetokounmpo, the brother of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. Kostas averages 13 points on a balanced-offensive attack. Photos by Aperture/SteveDavis

In getting to state, the Blugolds took down the No. 2-ranked team in the division, Melrose-Mindoro (24-1).

Playing at 3:15 p.m. today in Division 3 is No. 1-ranked Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau (25-0) against seventh-ranked Xavier (23-3). On the other half of the Division 3 bracket, playing right before G-E-T’s matchup is No. 9 Prairie du Chien (24-2) against fifth-ranked Waupun (25-1). Like Central, PdC hasn’t been to state since 1986.

You can listen to all the games on AM 580 WKTY or by clicking “Listen Live” at 580wkty.com.

As for Central, coach Todd Fergot is confident his team has evolved since it’s loss to the Ghosts back in January.

“What’s been great about this team is, we were real honest with them, we’ve said these are things we’re doing well and these are areas we need to get better at,” Fergot said. “And they’ve done it. We’re rebounding the ball a lot better now than, certainly, when we played Kaukauna the first time and I think that’s going to be important.”

Playing at the Kohl Center will be a sort of preview of what’s to come for Central 6-foot-4, junior guard Kobe King, who is committed to play for the University of Wisconsin. 

“The guys have been down there the past couple summers, at some summer camps, so they’ve had a chance to play there, but it’ll be a little different when we have 10,000-plus people watching,” Fergot said. “But we’re excited. It’s a great opportunity for Kobe and our entire team.”

This is the first time that Central will compete in a state basketball tourney at the Kohl Center.  They played at the U-W Field House during their last visit to state 30 years ago.

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse

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