Girls basketball sectionals preview

Sydney Levy and Appleton North play Appleton East on Thursday in a sectional semifinal. (Doug Ritchay/WLUK

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- The girls basketball sectionals semifinals tip off Thursday with many games including local teams.

Here's a look at local teams in the sectional semifinals division by division (sectional semifinal winners play Saturday in sectional finals):

Division 1

  • Games: No. 1 Appleton North (20-4) vs. No. 5 Appleton East (18-6); No. 2 Kimberly (22-2) vs. No. 3 Stevens Point (22-2); No. 2 Bay Port (19-5) vs. No. 3 Hamilton (20-4).
  • Outlook: Appleton North is the defending state champ but will be challenged. It split its season series with East, and Kimberly is playing well and its only losses this season have come to North. North might be the favorite, but there's no guarantee it reaches its third straight state tournament. Meanwhile, Bay Port is led by a talented group of sophomores. It will be interesting to see how the Pirates react in a sectional setting.

Division 2

  • Games: No. 1 Seymour (23-1) vs. No. 2 West De Pere (19-5); No. 1 Hortonville (18-6) vs. No. 3 Marshfield (12-12).
  • Outlook: Last year, West De Pere was a one-loss team and lost to Seymour in a sectional semifinal so the tables are turned. Seymour swept West De Pere during the regular season, but last year the sweep didn't matter. Hortonville has won its first two postseason games by a combined 102 points and now faces a .500 team. The Polar Bears are in good position to reach their third straight sectional final.

Division 3

  • Games: No. 1 Wrightstown (23-1) vs. No. 3 Amherst (23-1); No. 1 Valders (21-3) vs. No. 2 Southern Door (20-4); No. 1 Laconia (24-0) vs. No. 2 Waupun (15-9).
  • Outlook: Wrightsown hasn't lost since its first game of the season (Ashwaubenon), but will have its hands full with Amherst, which beat Freedom by 25 points in a regional final. Valders and Southern Door should be a great matchup with the winner playing the Wrightstown-Amherst winner in a sectional final. Also, Laconia continues its perfect march this season and plays Waupun, which it beat in the first game of the season, 48-41.

Division 4

  • Games: No. 1 Shiocton (20-4) vs. No. 2 Crandon (20-2); No. 1 Manitowoc Lutheran (19-4) vs. No. 3 Mishicot (16-7); No. 1 St. Mary's Springs (22-2) vs. No. 2 Cambridge (19-5).
  • Outlook: Shiocton's only losses this season are to Amherst (twice), Laconia and St. Mary's Springs. The Chiefs have been tested with a tough schedule. Manitowoc Lutheran is still alive but it wasn't easy as the Lancers won their two regional games by a combined seven points. Mishicot responded well after opening the postseason with an overtime win by winning a regional title by 23 points. St. Mary's Springs is playing well and will need to as after Thursday, if the Ledgers win, they get top-ranked Aquinas in a sectional final.

Division 5

  • Games: No. 1 Lourdes Academy (19-5) vs. No. 3 Hustisford (17-8); No. 5 Gillett (19-6) vs. No. 6 Wausaukee (18-7).
  • Outlook: Lourdes dropped from Division 4 to Division 5 this season and has won games by 26 and 53 points, respectively. The Knights are playing well and could face top-rankled Black Hawk in a sectional final. Gillett and Wausaukee are upstarts playing well at the right time.

The state tournament is March 8-10 at the Resch Center.

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay

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