Cardinals could face familiar foe in Division 5 final
If things fall right in Friday’s Division 5 state semifinal match-ups between Bangor and Marshfield Columbus Catholic and Chippewa Falls McDonell Catholic Central and Sheboygan Lutheran, the Cards could be looking at a familiar foe in Saturday’s championship game.
Semifinal wins by Bangor and McDonell would pit the Cards and the Macks against each other in the final for the second straight season.
Bangor overwhelmed McDonell 91-67 in last year’s Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 5 title game to capture the first boys basketball state championship in school history.
While a rematch is possible, the Cards and the Macks have their work cut out for them in Friday morning’s semifinal round.
Third-seeded Bangor is up against No. 2 seed Marshfield Columbus Catholic, while the fourth-seeded Macks face a tall order against top-seeded and top-ranked Sheboygan Lutheran.
The Crusaders bring one of the state’s best to the hardwood in Jacob Ognacevoic.
The 6’-8” junior is one of the leading scorers in Wisconsin and has been compared to former Sheboygan Lutheran and University of Wisconsin standout Sam Decker, who now plays in the NBA for the Washington Wizards.
Ognacevoic reached the 1,000-point plateau in just 38 games – eight less than Decker – and is averaging a hefty 30.5 points and 15.6 rebounds this season.
The Crusaders, who shared the Big East Conference championship with Howards Grove this season with a 12-1 league record, enter the state tourney with a 25-2 record overall.
Delvin Barnstable (17.7 ppg) and Graden Grabowski (10.4) have been solid on offense for Sheboygan Lutheran as well this season, while Grabowski is second in rebounding with 5.8 boards per game and Casey Verhagen is dishing out close to 10 assists per game.
The Crusaders are averaging nearly 83 points per game this season.
McDonell Catholic Central will counter Ognacevoic and the potent Sheboygan Lutheran attack with a trio of offensive threats.
Cory Hoglund leads the Macks in scoring with 17 points per game, followed by Charlie Bleskachek with 11.6 ppg and Eion Kressin with 9.6 ppg.
On the glass, Hoglund and Bleskachek are hauling down seven rebounds apiece for the Macks, while Hoglund and Efe Selvitopu are averaging 3.8 and 2.6 assists per game, respectively.
McDonell Catholic Central enters the state semifinal with an 18-9 overall record.
The Macks posted a 9-5 league mark to finish runner-up in the Cloverbelt West Conference Conference behind Division 5 state qualifier Osseo-Fairchild (14-0).
McDonell Catholic Central and Sheboygan Lutheran will face off in Friday’s first Division 5 semifinal at 9:05 a.m. at the Kohl Center in Madison