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Video: Breaking down the local girls basketball teams state tournament

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- The girls state basketball tournament tips off Thursday with Division 3 and Division 4 action and Northeastern Wisconsin is well represented with five area teams among the 20-team field.

Appleton North and De Pere compete in Division 1, Hortonville in Division 2, Wrightstown in Division 3 and Shiocton in Division 4.

Here's a look at each team entering the tournament and what the area teams will have to do to win a gold ball:

Appleton North (26-0)

The Lightning lost in the state semifinals last season to eventual state champ Verona and hasn't lost since. This is not a surprise North has made the state tournament again, this team was destined to return. North plays Milwaukee King in a battle of the last two perfect teams in Division 1. The Lightning has the experience and the talent to win a gold ball with the likes of guards Sydney Levy (19.2 ppg.), Kari Brekke (10. 6 ppg.), and Callie Pohlman (8.6 ppg.) and forward Paige Schabo (10.6 ppg.). North is in perfect position to complete a perfect season with its talent. How North wins state: Levy plays like the best player in the Fox Valley Association, which she is, and the defense stifles its opponents like normal.

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De Pere (24-2)

The Redbirds started looking like a state tournament team about midway through the season and have won 16 straight games. The Redbirds won the Fox River Classic Conference behind the superb play of guard Lizzie Miller, the conference's offensive player of the year. Miller averages 15. 2 ppg, and then there's plenty of help as Olivia DeCleene (8.9 ppg.), Liz Nies (8.6 ppg.), Rachel Kerkhoff (7.6 ppg.), Annie Schneider (7.3 ppg.) and Anna Boyd (7 ppg) all average at least 7 ppg. De Pere is led by first-year coach Jeremy Boileau, who was a boys assistant coach before this season. The Redbirds will play Middleton on Friday and have the balanced scoring to advance to Saturday's title game. How De Pere wins state: Miller plays like she has all season and the Redbirds harass their opponents into mistakes.

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Hortonville (20-5)

The Polar Bears are making their first state appearance since 1987 and this year's team had the look of a state-bound team since the start. Led by Valparaiso recruit, junior guard Shay Frederick (16.9 ppg.), and IUPUI recruit, senior forward Morgan Allen (16 ppg.), Hortonville has recorded 20 wins while battling in the competitive FVA. Frederick and Allen are arguably the best inside-outside duo in the area and Frederick has hit an area-high 76 3-pointers this season. Hortonville, which plays Cudahy on Friday, is led by first-year coach Celeste Ratka (Hoewisch), who played for the Polar Bears and then starred at Green Bay in college. How Hortonville wins state: Frederick does her usual work from the perimeter, Allen controls in the inside and support players like Emily Nelson (8 ppg.) and Olivia Griesbach (7.1 ppg.) chip in.

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Wrightstown (23-3)

After losing in a sectional final last year, the Tigers were primed to make the state tournament with almost the whole roster returning. Wrightstown is led by guards Danielle Nennig (14 ppg.), Kailee Van Zeeland (10.9) ppg, 6.8 rpg.), Alisha Murphy (10.6) and freshman Bridget Froehlke (9.1 ppg.). Also, forward Lexy Wolske adds 8.4 ppg. The Tigers have depth and talent as Nennig (Purdue-Northwest) and Murphy (UW-Parkside) are Division II recruits. Wrightstown, which plays Edgewood on Thursday, likes to play fast and can make things happen in the open court, which should aid the team playing on the bigger court at the state tournament. How Wrightstown wins state: Guard play, plain and simple. The Tigers have great guard play and if the foursome plays like it's capable of, the Tigers can win it all.

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Shiocton (18-8)

The Chiefs are making their first trip to the state tournament and enter the Final Four with the most losses, eight, among all the teams, but who cares, right? Shiocton dominated No. 1 seed Wittenberg-Birnamdwood, 61-36, in a sectional final and have won eight straight games. The Chiefs are 17-5 after a 1-3 start so they have played well most of this season. Junior Tina Ubl leads the way at 13.9 ppg. while senior Mady Morack adds 9 ppg. and has made 40 3-pointers. Shiocton has a tall order ahead of it at state, playing perfect Aquinas, but the way the Chiefs are playing maybe that won't matter. How Shiocton wins state: The Chiefs are the underdogs, so go out and play loose and if they can keep games close the pressure turns to the opponent and pressure has a way, at times, of getting to teams.

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Girls State Basketball Tournament

at The Resch Center

THURSDAY

Division 3

Bloomer (22-4) vs. Martin Luther (25-1) - 1:35 p.m.

Wrightstown (23-3) vs. Edgewood (23-3)*

Division 4

Durand (23-3) vs. Howards Grove (25-1) - 6:35 p.m.

Shiocton (18-8) vs. Aquinas (26-0)*

FRIDAY

Division 5

Clayton (27-0) vs. Milwaukee Academy of Science (22-4) - 9:05 a.m.

Loyal (23-4) vs. Bangor (24-3)*

Division 2

Hortonville (20-5) vs. Cudahy (19-7) - 1:35 p.m.

Beaver Dam (26-0) vs. Monroe (21-3)*

Division 1

Appleton North (26-0) vs. Milwaukee King (25-0) - 6:35 p.m.

De Pere (24-2) vs. Middleton (23-3)*

SATURDAY

3-Point Challenge - 9:30 a.m.

Division 5 Championship Game - 11:05 a.m.

Division 4 Championship Game*

Division 3 Championship Game*

Division 2 Championship Game - 6:35 p.m.

Division 1 Championship Game*

*Note: Subsequent games of each session will begin approximately 15 minutes following the previous game.

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay

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