Boys Basketball Team Gets #2 Seed for Playoffs

Joey Bonadonna, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Two years ago, the Notre Dame boys’ basketball team finished 3-21. Fast forward to this year, the same squad has been awarded the #2 seed in the WIAA boys’ basketball playoffs.

The turnaround that head coach AJ Alexander has made within the last couple of years has definitely put the rest of the conference and the state on notice, as the Tritons have been ranked in the Top Ten for most of the season.

At Sunday’s playoff seeding meeting, the Tritons were seeded #2 out of 6 teams in their section and will receive a first-round bye, while FRCC rival Ashwaubenon received the #1 seed.

“I’m very pleased with the way our seeding placement fell,” Alexander said. “The meeting went very smoothly with no rebuttals from any of the coaches. It showed to me that the other teams had respect for us and our schedule this season.”

Many of the Tritons’ opponents this season were ranked in their respective divisions, including, but not limited to Cedarburg, Pewaukee, East Troy, Xavier, West De Pere, Beaver Dam, Roncalli and Lourdes. Despite the toughness of this non-conference schedule, the Tritons currently sit at 8-2 in non-conference play. 

The Tritons will finish the regular season out against D1 #1 Neenah, Bay Port and D1 #6 De Pere all in the span of four days.

That toughness will continue in the playoffs. The two likely opponents for the Tritons on their path to a regional championship are Ashwaubenon and Freedom. The Tritons have fallen victim to the Jaguars twice already this season, while the Irish sit at 16-4. 

“These will be some great challenges for our team as we head into the last week of regular season play,” Alexander said. “They’ll get us ready for the playoffs, but they’re still games we can win to continue to make some noise in Northeast Wisconsin hoops.”

“I feel like there are a lot of good teams in front of us but I think we can beat anyone,” senior guard Danny Nennig said. “We’ve got a great group of guys, and I’m so excited to see how the upcoming weeks unfold.”

That one-game-at-a-time mentality is always tough to keep with playoff action looming, but it helps a little bit when one of the best teams in the state in Neenah comes to town. This will be a matchup of two high-octane offenses, with the Rockets averaging 73 points a contest and the Tritons averaging 75.3 points per contest. 

The battle-tested Tritons will have their work cut out for them from here on out but the mentality of everyone on the team remains the same: “One game at a time.”