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PREVIEW: Tigers seeking 4th state tournament berth

NORTHWESTERN TIGERS (20-5) VS. WISCONSIN DELLS CHIEFS (20-5) What: Division 3 Sectional 1 final When: 1 p.m., Saturday, March 9. Where: Marshfield Outlook: Northwestern, a No. 2 seed, will be playing in its fifth sectional final. The Tigers are l...

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NORTHWESTERN TIGERS (20-5) VS. WISCONSIN DELLS CHIEFS (20-5)

What: Division 3 Sectional 1 final

When: 1 p.m., Saturday, March 9.

Where: Marshfield

Outlook: Northwestern, a No. 2 seed, will be playing in its fifth sectional final. The Tigers are looking for their fourth state tournament appearance and first since 2010. The Tigers' journey to the sectional final included wins over Spooner (65-46), Bloomer (61-55 in OT), and St. Croix Central (66-46). … Sam Risley, a senior, led Tigers’ balanced attack against St. Croix Central with 14 points. Brody Payton, also a senior, was next with 13 points and junior Andrew Klobucher added 12 points on four 3-pointers. Those three have led the Tigers all season with Risley averaging 16.3 points game; Payton 12.9; and Klobucher 7.7. Payton also has a team-high 153 rebounds, 43 steals and 14 blocked shots. Jenner Graff (4.2 ppg) and Jake Brill (5.7 ppg) run the offense with 83 and 62 assists, respectively. … The Tigers lost to Spring Valley in the 2004 sectional final then won sectional titles in 2005 in Marshfield and 2009 and 2010 in Onalaska. Northwestern is hoping for the same “Marshfield Magic” it had in 2005 when Jimmy Glaeser made three free throws with no time remaining to tie the game with Onalaska, then made the game-winning, 30-foot 3-pointer in overtime. The Tigers went on to defeat Kiel 76-71 in the state semifinals, but lost to Catholic Memorial 60-48 in the title game. Northwestern won the Heart O’North Conference with a 13-1 record. … Wisconsin Dells, also a No. 2 seed, won the South Central Conference with a record of 9-1. After tournament wins over Altoona (66-48) and Mauston (73-69), the Chiefs advanced to today’s sectional final with a 70-64 win over previously undefeated Stratford (24-1). … Wisconsin Dells' balanced offensive attack was led by Dylan Anchor's 19 points; Riley Eck, 14 points; Bryan Funmaker, 12; and Sam Millard, 10. Anchor and Brett Hirst both averaged 11 points a game on the season, followed by Eck (10.9), Funmaker (9.2) and Millard (9.0). Eck is the Chiefs' long-range threat having made 25 of 66 3-point attempts. Millard is the Dells' tallest player at 6-foot-8. … Wisconsin Dells has played in six state tournaments, including winning it all in 1987. The Chiefs also played in Madison in 1942 (3-1), 1968 (1-2), 1978 (0-1), 1988 (0-1) and 2007 (0-1).

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