Green Bay possible host for WIAA state basketball tournaments

Potential good news for the Green Bay area.

Madison’s place as host to the WIAA state basketball tournaments has outlasted The Great Depression, World War II and the disco era, but it might not survive growing pressure to reserve the Kohl Center for University of Wisconsin sports during March.

WIAA executive director Dave Anderson said Friday the state’s governing body for high school sports is actively seeking a new home for its state boys and girls basketball tournaments, as early as 2012-13.

After holding the boys tournament in Madison for 91 of the past 92 years, that might mean taking both tournaments to Green Bay or Milwaukee.

Anderson told the WIAA Board of Control that PMI Entertainment Group, which represents the Resch Center in Green Bay, has made an official offer to host the tournaments beginning in 2014. He said the WIAA also has inquired about the availability of the U.S. Cellular Arena in Milwaukee to host the state tournaments for the two sports that are the WIAA’s biggest moneymakers.

It’s all but a given that beginning in 2014 both tournaments will need a new home.

“We have reached out to other venues, knowing that we’re certainly going to need a home for our tournaments by 2014,” said Anderson, whose association is under contract with UW to hold the state basketball tournaments on the Madison campus through 2013 but has been told that conflicts could force both tournaments to be moved from the Kohl Center.

“It’s a given. Whether that home is a facility in Madison, a facility in Milwaukee or a facility in Green Bay. We’re limited.”

So just what are the conflicts that are causing the WIAA to look at alternative sites?  One is the new Big Ten Hockey conference.

The long-term conflicts include the dynamics of the Big Ten men’s hockey conference, which debuts during the 2013-14 season.

The conference announced in June it will use a two-week postseason format that begins with the four lowest seeds meeting in a best-of-three series at the home of the highest seed. The winners will advance to face the top two seeds at the home of the No. 1 seed the next week.

The economic benefits in Green Bay could be huge if the tournaments were hosted here.

The 12 WIAA state tournaments held on the UW campus have an estimated economic impact of $10 million on the city of Madison and Dane County, according to Greater Madison Visitor and Convention Bureau figures. Boys and girls basketball, which bring in more than $3 million of the WIAA’s $6 million in annual revenue, account for most of that.

Were you disappointed when the WIAA moved the boys sectional tournaments from Green Bay?  If so start letting them know that you want the state tournaments to be held here.

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Breaking news: Blazers in the state title game

Kudos to N.E.W. Lutheran on making it to the D4 title game.

N.E.W. Lutheran will play for the WIAA Division 4 state boys basketball title after outlasting Clayton 64-63 in this morning’s state semifinal game.

The Blazers (18-10) will face Randolph (28-0) at noon Saturday at the Kohl Center.

Kaylor Zimmerman scored 21 points and had six steals, and Aaron Gosse added 20 points for the Blazers, who roared out to a 40-26 halftime lead.

Clayton (25-2) chipped away at the lead and made it tight at the end. Taylor Dayton had a game-high 26 points for the Bears. (Source: Green Bay Press-Gazette)

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Hoops rivalry ending

This is a travesty of justice.

West De Pere basketball coach Steve Kestly has been walking the sideline for almost two decades now.

But when he got word during the spring that cross-town rival De Pere was backing out of playing West De Pere this season, it was the first time he’d ever dealt with a school breaking its contract to play one of his teams.

This was to be the second season of a two-year contract with De Pere, but the Redbirds opted to play a game against Kimberly instead.

“It’s not only disappointing that we are not playing the game anymore, but it kind of put us in a bind,” said Kestly, whose team eventually found an open date with Crivitz as a replacement. “The way our schedule falls this year now, from Dec. 12 to Jan. 7, we play one basketball game. To scramble and find a team after most teams have all their games scheduled, it just made it that much more difficult.”

The decision also ends a storied chapter in the De Pere-West De Pere rivalry. The two have met each season since renewing acquaintances in 1952.

When realignment moved De Pere out of the Bay Conference and into the FRCC in 2007, Kestly and former De Pere coach Nick Joseph agreed the two teams would play a non-conference game once a season for however long both coaches were around.

Joseph, though, ended up resigning after the 2006-07 season.

To end it now seems sad, although the idea behind it makes sense for De Pere.

What idea could possibly make sense to end a storied rivalry??

It’s looking out for its best interests in playing certain levels of competition, and a game against Kimberly should provide that.

“When we got into the Fox River Classic Conference, it was primarily a Division 1 basketball conference,” De Pere athletic director Jeff Byczek said. “Because we compete in the regular season and the postseason in that division, we felt it was important to have an entire schedule consistent with that.

“While we certainly really respect our rivalry with West De Pere and long enjoyed competing against them, we had to prioritize.”

A meeting with the Phantoms also can be a scary proposition. The last thing any school the size of De Pere wants is to lose to a smaller school and be embarrassed.

Had to prioritize?  Have respect? What a bunch of bull.

Sounds like DePere was scared about the minute impact a game steeped in tradition could have on it’s post-season (ironic when you consider ALL schools are in it). 

There is the chance it will be renewed in the future though based on DePere’s idiotic reasoning don’t count on it.

There still is some hope the De Pere-West De Pere game will be played in the future.

With basketball increasing from 20 games this season to 22 in 2009-10, Byczek said there’s a chance the two could meet again. It was a sentiment echoed by West De Pere athletic director Greg Smith.

Of course, that doesn’t do anything for this season or for a rivalry that should not be stopped in the first place.

It’s called tradition DePere something the big egos in place over there must not get.  West DePere gets it though.

“No matter where we were in the standings, for as long as I’ve been here it seemed to always be a pretty well attended game,” Kestly said. “When you talk about rivalries, I think sometimes in high school sports now days with the way things are, rivalries aren’t maybe as big as they used to be all across the board.

“But there is still something special about those certain games. I would have thought that this might have been one of those games.”

But DePere, with this decision (no matter when it was made), showed tradition and “special games” don’t mean anything to them.  Hopefully it comes back to bite them in the you-know-what.