Oshkosh North has look of a state tournament team
OSHKOSH (WLUK) -- Friday night Oshkosh North put a share of the Fox Valley Association lead on the line when it hosted Kimberly.
Tied with Kaukauna, North couldn't afford a slip-up against a quality Kimberly team with a showdown looming with Jordan McCabe and Co. in two weeks.
The Papermakers gave North everything it could handle and then some, but the Spartans showed why they are a serious contender for the state tournament, and maybe even a Division 1 state title.
Following the lead of Iowa State recruit Tyrese Halburton, North outlasted Kimberly, 60-55, making key plays down the stretch.
There is plenty of basketball to be played yet, but North (17-1, 13-1), ranked No. 3 in the FOX 11 Top 11, might be the favorite in its sectional to make the state tournament. Haliburton, at 6-5, is difficult matchup at point guard, shooting guard Quincy Anderson can go for 25 points any night and the supporting cast plays well off these two talented kids.
Furthermore, defending state champ Stevens Point is without Joey Hauser (ankle injury), who already graduated and is enrolled at Marquette. Most feel that opens the door for North to walk through.
Former Spartans coach Frank Schade thinks North can make Madison, but says it won't be easy.
"I really like this team; there's good competition in the sectional," said Schade who retired after last season. "Point is without the Hauser kid and Oshkosh West has a good group and Kimberly's back in the sectional. It's still going to be tough. It's just a good sectional to come through."
True, but some team has to come through and North might be that team. It might see Kimberly a third time during the postseason, and that could be tricky, but outside of Kaukauna no team has beaten North.
The Spartans have that look.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay