ASHWAUBENON - Before the basketball season started every team knew which teams were in its regional and sectional, but once seeds come out the roads to sectionals and state become clearer.
And what's clear about the local Division 2 boys regional is it's as tough as any out there.
In seeding order, Pulaski, Seymour, West De Pere, Ashwaubenon and Kaukauna are the top five seeds in one regional. Pulaski is 17-3, Seymour 18-3, West De Pere 18-2, Ashwaubenon 16-5 and Kaukauna 14-7, and the Ghosts made the state title game a year ago.
As good these five teams are, only one of these teams will reach sectionals. The toughness isn't lost on Ashwaubenon.
"It's going to be very strong, top to bottom," Ashwaubenon coach Kevin Phillips said.
The teams all have something in common – quality players. Pulaski has University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee recruit Cody Wichmann, Ashwaubenon's Bennett Koch is headed to Northern Iowa, while Seymour's Dakota Oskey and Sandy Cohen are getting Division 1 and 2 interest. Also, West De Pere sophomore Cody Schwartz has received offers from Green Bay, amongst others, and Kaukauna junior Riley Vander Wyst is second in the Fox Valley Association in scoring at 18.5 points per game.
"They're all great teams, it's going to be a tough road," Koch said.
Ashwaubenon, as the No. 4 seed, may have to beat No. 1 Pulaski and either No. 2 Seymour or No. 3 West De Pere to reach sectionals.
"We held our won against Pulaski," Koch said. "We'll be fine."
Ashwaubenon feels competing in the Fox River Classic Conference, which is the best conference in the area, will prepare it for the rough postseason road.
"Playing a lot of Division 1 schools will help us," Phillips. "Playing our nonconference schedule will help us. Night in and night out, you have to come prepared or you get knocked off (in the FRCC)."
Ashwaubenon (16-5) has won nine of its last 11 games and Phillips feels his team is ready to make a run.
"I feel pretty good," Phillips said. "They don't care who scores, who gets the glory. They just wan to get to 1-0. That's what the team strives for."
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