OAK CREEK WRESTLING
The Knights got exactly what they wanted out of their dominant WIAA regional championship effort Feb. 11 at Oak Creek.
They overwhelmed the seven-school field with a 316-point effort, qualifying all 14 grapplers for the WIAA Individual sectional at Burlington on Saturday, Feb. 18. The top two in each weight class will advance to the state individual tournament in Madison on Feb. 23-25.
More importantly, they advanced to take on southeast rival Kenosha Bradford in the WIAA team sectional dual on Feb. 14. The winner of that meet advances to the state team tournament in Madison on March 3-4. The state's third-ranked Knights were heavy favorites to beat the Red Devils in the dual last season but faltered.
They've been waiting for a rematch on this level ever since.
"This is exactly what we want," said coach Matt Sommerville, "but this a different Bradford team (than earlier in the season). They have not been whole since the beginning, but they are now. We're going to go in confident but not overconfident. We're going to have a chip on our shoulder. The kids are really eager for it."
They prepped for it with the 316-point total at the regional,which far outdistanced runnerup South Milwaukee (177).
Earning regional titles were Randall Hunt at 106 pounds (27-12), Mitch Landgraf at 120 (36-2), Matt Berlin at 126 (36-2), Veliko Kochiu at 132 (23-1), Joey Colla at 138 (32-6), Jesse Kovnesky at 152 (32-6), Nolan Paar at 170 (35-3), Enrique Acevedo at 220 (32-6) and Brycen Hakes at 285 (26-12).
Sommerville thinks there are at least 10 Knights who have legitimate chances at advancing to state. Other qualifiers include Emilee Orosz at 113 (15-23), Nathan Berlin at 145 (20-11), Collin Daniels at 160 (11-8), Edwin Rodriguez at 182 (16-13) and John Wright at 195 (19-6).
The Sabers earned third place in the WIAA regional at Oak Creek on Feb. 11 and advanced nine wrestlers to the WIAA sectional at Burlington on Feb. 18.
From there, the top two in each weight class will advance to the individual state tournament in Madison on Feb. 23-25.
"We are now focused on the task at hand at sectionals," said coach Devoll Sino. "We believe that if we clean up a few mental mistakes we have a chance to qualify at least two or three wrestlers to the state tournament. We know that we might have to come up with some upsets, but we are taking the tournament as one match at a time. We feel that if we can just win our first match and get into the semifinals anything can happen after that."
Franklin scored 155 points for its spot in the regional as Oak Creek won with 316 and South Milwaukee was second with 177.
Winning regional titles for the Sabers were Noah Rugaber at 160 (14-8 overall with two pins at the tournament), and Steve Djurina at 182 (30-5, two decisions).
Other sectional qualifiers included Deylin Ealy at 106 (12-11), Ben Ewig at 113 (7-10), Mike Jaber at 138 (19-16), Yaman Jaber at 145 (1-16), Aaron Simmons at 152 (13-16), Murphy McCutcheon at 195 (14-7) and Alex Riel at 220 (21-14).
Yaman Jabar's quarterfinal pin over a Milwaukee Ronald Reagan opponent was his first win of the season and earned him his sectional berth.
Chip Hansen and Nathan Hensley are leading a group of six wrestlers to WIAA Division 1 sectional competition at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, at West Allis Central.
Hansen (31-11) was the runnerup at 106 pounds in a regional meet on Feb. 11 at West Allis Hale, and Hensley (41-2) took second at 126 pounds. Both lost their championship matches, then wrestled back to second place.
Dom Trimboli (36-9) finished third at 170 pounds, and fourth places went to Gabe Lewis (138), Julian Cagle (145) and Jon Poulakos (182).
The co-op team was sixth with 118 points in the regional.
FRANKLIN GIRLS BASKETBALL
The Sabers are ending the regular season on a positive note.
They defeated Kenosha Indian Trail, 55-44, on Feb. 7 and Racine Park, 54-45, on Feb. 10 to improve to 11-2 in Southeast Conference play and 14-6 overall. They have won three in a row and nine of their last 10. They took on Brookfield Central on Tuesday, Feb. 14, and will close the regular season with a Southeast Conference tilt at Kenosha Tremper on Thursday, Feb. 16.
They will finish in second place in the Southeast Conference for the sixth straight season, this time behind five-time champion Oak Creek.
Franklin earned the fifth seed in the WIAA D1 West Allis Central sectional and will host southeast rival Racine Park in a regional semifinal on Friday, Feb. 24. Four of the Sabers' six losses this season have been to ranked teams.
"We've fought for every victory," said coach Tony Kathrens. "We're a good team, and we're winning the way good teams do: efficiently. Great teams finish the job, have a killer instinct. We don't quite have that, and I would like to see that change."
There was a nice little grace note to the last week of the regular season for the Sabers as in the senior night win over Park, Kathrens was able to start Kaylee Grube, a longtime standard bearer for the program who lost her season to her second knee injury. "We made an arrangement with the Park coach," said Kathrens. "I got her in for the opening tap, and then we were able to get her out soon after that. It was nice"
The final score was deceptive, as the Sabers built a 22-point lead in the second half before Kathrens started subbing.
Megan Lee had 17 points and six rebounds with four assists, while Marina Rajkovic had 13 points and seven rebounds, and Madison Schell 9 points.
Against Indian Trail, Franklin burst out to an 18-0 lead but then lost some focus as the Hawks were able to work their way back into the game. Lee led the way with 24 points, while Schell had 9 points, and Amanda Wachter contributed nine rebounds and four assists.
FRANKLIN BOYS BASKETBALL
The Sabers showed great tenacity in winning two close Southeast Conference games last week.
They downed Racine Park, 59-51, in overtime Feb. 10 after edging Kenosha Indian Trail, 55-52, on Feb. 7.
The two wins improved them to 8-4 in conference, good for third place and 13-6 overall. They took on Muskego on Feb. 14 and will host Kenosha Tremper in a Southeast tilt on Thursday, Feb. 16.
In the win over Park, the scored was tied at 49-all after regulation but the Sabers then outscored the Panthers, 10-2, in OT.
Max Alba scored 22 points to lead the Sabers, while Marcus Lee had 14 and Jacob Vonderwell 11.
In the victory over Indian Trail, Lee had 18 points, while Vonderwell had 15 and Alba 10.
Franklin entered the week with a four-game winning streak.
WHITNALL GIRLS BASKETBALL
Sierra Grubor totaled 23 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals in a 71-52 victory over Brown Deer on Feb. 7.
Jaden Kelley added 22 points and four steals, and Sam Benzinger and Helen Smasal 8 points each for the Falcons. Miranda Bass grabbed five rebounds, and Kathryn Bay and Jessie Knackert each had three assists.
Whitnall was downed, 70-46, by Greenfield on Feb. 10. The story of the game was shooting, with the Falcons hitting just 26 percent from the floor.
Grubor totaled 18 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals, and Kelley had 13 points, seven rebounds and two steals. Knackert had three assists and Bay two steals as well.
Whitnall (6-8 in the Woodland Conference, 11-9 overall going into this week) begins WIAA Division 2 regional play at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at Cudahy.
GREENDALE BOYS BASKETBALL
The slide continued for the Panthers with losses of 74-54 to Wauwatosa West on Feb. 7 and 65-35 to New Berlin Eisenhower on Feb. 10.
Tommy Kujawa scored 23 points against Tosa West, with James Johnson adding 8 points and Clay Kujawa and Vlado Zrnic each 7 points.
Against the Lions, Tommy Kujawa had 8 points to pace Greendale.
GREENDALE GIRLS BASKETBALL
Kayce Vaile collected 16 points and 11 rebounds to help the Panthers play Wauwatosa West tough in a 49-46 loss on Feb. 7.
Cassidy Sanchez added 15 points and six rebounds, Gina Sommerfeld 6 points and seven rebounds, and Catie Caruso seven assists for Greendale.
"That was a solid effort," coach Tim Hogan said. "It was our most complete game all season, and I was proud of how we competed from start to finish."
The Panthers also lost to New Berlin Eisenhower, 58-19, on Feb. 10. They open WIAA regional action at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, at home against Waukesha North.
The defending state D1 Franklin, Muskego, Oak Creek and Whitnall co-op will look to defend its Southeast/Classic 8 Conference championship at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16. Their primary competition will be the Kenosha co-op, with whom they have competed against in several close meets this season.