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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Cheap tickets for Big Ten Championship

Tickets starting under $8. 

Amazing for a college conference championship game.


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State Champs!

A historic home on Wisconsin Highway 57 in the...
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Congratulations to the West De Pere Phantoms and head coach Bill Turnquist on winning the Division 3 state title.  As an alum it’s a great weekend to be a Phantom.

The Phantoms dominated Waukesha Catholic Memorial 35-0 in the WIAA Division 3 state championship game at Camp Randall Stadium on Friday, capping a perfect season and the best in program history just one year after falling short in their first title game appearance.

It’s the first championship in team history and the second team state title in any sport at West De Pere, following the state championship won by the baseball team in 2008.

“Everyone is emotional,” senior wide receiver/kicker Randy Hill said, his own eyes a bit teary. “We just worked so hard and it paid off in the end. Our offense put up big numbers and our defense played phenomenal.”

Jay “Tebow” Tollefson led the way on offense.

It certainly was a team effort by the Phantoms, who watched quarterback Jay Tollefson have his way on both the ground and through the air despite playing on a bum ankle.

Tollefson rushed 25 times for a game-high 150 yards and two touchdowns and completed 12 of 17 passes for 133 yards and two scores, turning in one of the best games of his career on the biggest stage.

Tollefson had plenty of help, with Hill tying a Division 3 state record with eight receptions for 95 yards and a defense that shut down the Crusaders’ vaunted rushing attack and limited them to 156 total yards.

A dominating defense that had six shutouts in the regular season rose to the occasion.

The defense was up to the challenge. Of Memorial’s 10 possessions, six ended in punts and one in a turnover. The Crusaders moved into the red zone just once, resulting in a missed field-goal attempt at the end of the third quarter.

Crusaders running back Pete Karczewski entered with almost 2,000 yards on the season but was held to 89 yards on 23 carries.

By the way Karczewski had nearly 900 in the previous four games.

Coach T summed it up best.

“It’s pretty special,” Turnquist said. “Not only for the team, (but) the coaches and the community and all the alumni that played before. They worked, but came up short. They came close.

“We kind of finished it today.”

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Returning to state

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It took 35 years for Bill Turnquist and his West De Pere football team to play in a state championship game.

It took the Phantoms one year to get back.

West De Pere beat Appleton Xavier 24-13 on Saturday afternoon in a WIAA Division 3 semifinal at Papermaker Stadium to advance to its second straight title game.

It will play Waukesha Catholic Memorial at 10 a.m. on Friday at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison seeking the program’s first championship.

After living up to preseason expectations and winning a fifth straight Bay Conference title, a second trip to state is just as sweet as the first for the Phantoms.

“It is, it is,” Turnquist said. “It’s just a special feeling because our kids have worked so hard. It’s good.” (Source: Green Bay Press-Gazette)

As a West DePere alum it’s great to see the Phantoms back in the D3 title game. Best of luck next Friday.

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