The Catholic Memorial boys have enjoyed a strong season under first-year coach Mike Serath, possessing an 8-4 record heading into a Jan. 13 tilt at home against Mukwonago. The Cruasaders thus far appear to have the best resume of the basketball teams in Waukesha on either the boys or girls side.
The balanced Crusaders are led by their frontcourt of Austin Young (10.6 points, 6.2 rebounds per game) and sophomore Rich Byhre (8.8 points, 6.9 rebounds). Memorial survived a down-to-the-wire call against Waukesha West last week, 51-50, a key win if the Crusaders want to keep pace with league-leading Arrowhead and Muskego in the league chase.
Of the four losses, one each has come from those two schools, plus a loss against state powers Oshkosh North and Destiny. That's positive for a team that will have to wade through some tough competition in the Division 2 playoffs, notably challenges from state-ranked Pewaukee and Whitnall, just to reach the sectional final. Talented Greendale and New Berlin Eisenhower are in the same subset of teams.
Waukesha North is also part of that mix, but North has been unable to get on track while playing a daunting schedule. The Northstars (3-6 before Wednesday) have lost to heavyweights Brookfield Central, Arrowhead and Pewaukee but also endured a pair of losses to teams with losing records.
Will McDonald, perhaps the top rebounder in the conference, leads North at 16.8 points per game.
Waukesha South's top scorer, Keaton Stremick, sits third in conference scoring at 18.1 points per game, but the Blackshirts have struggled at 3-8.
West sits at just 3-7, but the Wolverines have an impressive win over Mukwonago on the docket. West can also take heart in its youth. Sophomore David Skogman, standing 6-7, leads the team in scoring with 14.6 points per game. Fellow sophomore Rocky Martinez (13.4) and junior Finley Schumacher (11.0) are also key parts of the equation, standing 6-4 and 6-6, respectively. Senior Tahjay Blackmon (9.7 ppg) and junior Rob Kobza (9.5) are also part of the rotation.
In girls basketball, Waukesha West is the best of the area squads at 6-5. The Wolverines lost a 42-40 battle against Dominican on Saturday, and each of their other four losses have come against state-ranked foes, including a tight 49-46 win over New Berlin West to open the season. A Jan. 13 meeting with Kettle Moraine stands as a battle for third place in the standings behind Mukwonago and Arrowhead.
Calli Delsman leads West with 15.5 points per game after being named first-team All Conference season a year ago.
South (7-5) has one more win than West but stands at 2-4 in league play. Sabrina Andringa (11.9 ppg) and Maggie Johnson (11.1) lead the Blackshirts in the scoring column.
North (3-8) went winless last year but has already achieved a higher level of competitiveness, even if it has a ways to go with its young roster to catch the top shelf of the league. Those three wins came consecutively, starting Dec. 29 against Elkhorn (37-33), followed by a Dec. 30 win over Fort Atkinson (43-41) and East Troy (35-33).
The lone senior on the team, Camryn Szolyga, has fronted the progress with her 10.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.
Catholic Memorial (2-9) is led by Erin Wright's 10.2 points per game. The Crusaders have lost eight straight.