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WIAA Boys' Basketball Playoff Changes for 2021-22

08/03/2021, 1:15pm CDT
By Mark Miller

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) released its sectional pairings for boys' basketball today and things appear to be back to normal after a year of dividing schools into five divisions with an equal number of teams represented in each division.

For the 2021-22 school year, 68 teams will compete in Division 1 with most of those schools having enrollments of 1,200 or above. Division 2 will feature 90 schools, Divisions 3 and 4 have 101 and Division 5 has 128.  

Here are the sectional pairings:

Division 1 (68)
Division 2 (90)
Division 3 (101)
Division 4 (101)
Division 5 (128)
Total: 488

Four teams in each division advance to the WIAA State Tournament, set for March 17-18-19, 2022 in Madison. 

Here are the divisional changes for the 2021-22 WIAA playoffs:

New Division 1 Schools
(Enrollment: 1,216, previous D2)
(Enrollment: 1,208, previous D2)
Milwaukee Marshall
(Enrollment: 1,262, previous D2)

New Division 2 Schools
Golda Meir
(Enrollment: 617, previous D3)
(Enrollment: 600, previous D3)
(Enrollment: 610, previous D3)
Oshkosh North
(Enrollment: 1,158, previous D1)
Racine Park
(Enrollment: 1,186, previous D1)
(Enrollment: 635, previous D3)
Wauwatosa East
(Enrollment: 1,153, previous D1)

New Division 3 Schools
(Enrollment: 597, previous D2)
Menominee Indian
(Enrollment: 336, previous D4)
Milwaukee Collegiate Academy
(Enrollment: 315, previous D4)
Milwaukee School of Languages
(Enrollment: 598, previous D2)
Racine Lutheran
(Enrollment: 318, previous D4)
Southern Door
(Enrollment: 335, previous D4)
(Enrollment: 591, previous D2)
(Enrollment: 566, previous D2)

New Division 4 Schools
(Enrollment: 314, previous D3)
Lifelong Learning
(Enrollment: 254, Previous D3)
(Enrollment: 288, previous D3)
(Enrollment: 190, previous D5)
Sheboygan Lutheran
(Enrollment: 187, previous D5)
St. John's Northwestern
(Enrollment: 260, previous D3)
(Enrollment: 299, previous D3)
(Enrollment: 187, previous D5)

New Division 5 Schools
(Enrollment: 181, previous D4)
(Enrollment: 175, previous D4)
(Enrollment: 181, previous D4)
(Enrollment: 179, previous D4)
(Enrollment: 181, previous D4)
Wisconsin School for the Deaf
(Enrollment: 47, previous no-WIAA)

After a quick glance at each sectional, here are my picks for the toughest brackets in each division:

Division 1
Easy choice here. Sectional 3 is absolutely loaded with the likes of Arrowhead, Brookfield Central, Brookfield East, Madison East, Madison La Follette, Madison Memorial, Middleton, Sun Prairie, Waunakee and West Allis Hale all battling for a state berth. Seven Big Eight and four Greater Metro schools are included in Sectional 3. 

Division 2
Again, a rather easy pick as Sectional 4 includes the top two teams in Division 2 in defending state-champion Pewaukee and the Pirates' Woodland West Conference rivals from Wisconsin Lutheran. Defending Division 1 state-champion Wauwatosa East, perennially tough Milwaukee Washington and Woodland East Conference power Whitnall also were placed in Sectional 4. 

Division 3
One wonders why the WIAA put so many outstanding teams in Sectional 4 and left Sectional 3 with just one likely Top 10 team in Lake Country Lutheran. Meanwhile, Sectional 4 includes potential Top 10 teams Carmen Northwest, Catholic Memorial, Dominican, Lake Mills, Lakeside Lutheran, Martin Luther, Racine St. Catherine's and St. Thomas More. As you could probably guess, Sectional 4 is easily the toughest in Division 3. 

Division 4
Division 4 features plenty of balance throughout the state with good teams in each sectional, but Sectional 3 stands out as the best of the lot. The lineup in Sectional 3 includes Aquinas, Belleville, Cashton, Cuba City, Darlington, Luther, Marshall, New Glarus and River Ridge. You could easily make a case for Sectional 4 also being the best with Howards Grove, Kenosha St. Joseph, Milwaukee Academy of Science, Saint Mary's Springs, Sheboygan Lutheran and The Prairie School leading the way. 

Division 5
Like Division 4, Division 5 boasts plenty of state-wide balance. Each sectional boasts teams capable of winning the Division 5 state championship. Sectional 1 might be the toughest, though, as Clear Lake, Hurley, McDonell Central Catholic, South Shore and Turtle Lake figure to contend for the sectional championship.

Here are some interesting tidbits regarding sectional placements:

** The following cities have their public schools in different divisions:

Green Bay (East and Preble in D1, Southwest and West in D2)
Oshkosh (West in D1 and North in D2)
Racine (Case and Horlick in D1, Park in D2)
Waukesha (South in D1, North and West in D2)
Wausau (West in D1 and East in D2)

** Milwaukee City Conference teams could conceivably place seven teams at the WIAA State Tournament with six schools in Division 1 spread over three sectionals; eight schools in Division 2 spread over two sectionals; four in Division 3 with all in Sectional 4; and two in Division 4 with all in Sectional 4.  

** Fans of the now-defunct Wisconsin Independent Schools Athletic Association, which merged with the WIAA on July 1, 2000, can go back in time a bit with the grouping of teams in Sectional 2, Group 2A. Assumption, Columbus Catholic, Newman Catholic and Pacelli -- the four teams that made up WISAA Region 3 for years -- were all placed in Group 2A and all four figure to field competitive teams. 

** My way-too-early picks to win each Sectional:

Division 1
Sectional 1: Eau Claire Memorial
Sectional 2: Menomonee Falls
Sectional 3: Madison East
Sectional: Racine Case

Division 2
Sectional 1: La Crosse Central
Sectional 2: Ashwaubenon
Sectional 3: De Forest
Sectional 4: Pewaukee

Division 3
Sectional 1: Northwestern
Sectional 2: Xavier
Sectional 3: Lake Country Lutheran
Sectional 4: Martin Luther

Division 4
Sectional 1: Spring Valley
Sectional 2: Saint Mary Catholic
Sectional 3: Cuba City
Sectional 4: Sheboygan Lutheran

Division 5
Sectional 1: Hurley
Sectional 2: Wabeno/Laona
Sectional 3: Southwestern
Sectional 4: Randolph


For the latest and most up to date boys' basketball news and recruiting information, follow Mark on Twitter @wisbbyearbook. Email story ideas, recruiting info, etc. to Mark by clicking here.

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