The Madison Memorial boys basketball team features five Division I college prospects: seniors Miles Chamberlain and Tre Burnette, juniors Jamar "Popcorn" Morris and Junior Lomomba, and sophomore Brendan Ortiz. Even with Chamberlain and Morris inactive due to injuries, the Spartans are ranked fourth in the state after a 6-1 start. The team's only loss was to Milwaukee King - an uncharacteristic 57-35 offensive dud - in Milwaukee on Dec. 11.
Decisive wins over Beloit Memorial (65-44) and Middleton (67-50) last week had the Spartans playing their entertainingly hectic brand of buckets, driving to the hoop almost at will. They appear destined for their eighth straight trip to the state tournament, but a bureaucratic wrinkle might block their path.
Stressing fairness and balance, the WIAA board added a fifth division to the state boys basketball tournament. To accommodate this division, the Division 1 quarterfinal round has been cut, and there'll be a new "super sectional" round played on the Tuesday prior to state.
That means if Memorial prevails in its section, for the eighth straight year, it must get past the Section 7 champs on Tuesday, March 15, at the UW-Whitewater arena. And Section 7 just happens to be a hornet's nest that includes Milwaukee high schools King, Washington, Riverside and Marquette, ranked first, fifth, seventh and 10th.
The super sectional could end up being the unofficial state championship game - and a hoop the Spartans must jump through.