NOW's JR Radcliffe takes a weekly look at the top five boys and girls teams in the NOW and Lake Country Publications coverage area and ranks the schools, updated every Sunday.
NOW's JR Radcliffe takes a weekly look at the top five boys and girls teams in the NOW and Lake Country Publications coverage area and ranks the schools, updated every Sunday.
Dominican, 27-1 (no change)
Another year, another championship for the Dominican men's basketball team. Becoming the first program in state history to win a fifth straight title, the Knights did it with defense, a balanced attack and a wildly improved senior with a familiar last name in Kostas Antetokounmpo. After four years of Diamond Stone, coach Derek Berger managed the impressive feat of maintaining the excellence without a heralded unit of returnees. The lone loss came to Brown Deer, a Division 3 team that was seen as a state-title contender until a surprise loss in the regional final.
Muskego, 23-5 (no change)
It was a heckuva run to the championship game for Muskego, which fell to an undefeated Stevens Point squad that many people (rightly) saw as the foregone conclusion to repeat as state champs before the season began. Muskego's run included two game-winning buzzer-beaters in the playoffs, and considering Point was simply at another level this year, runner-up is nothing to sneeze at. The Classic 8 Conference champion for a second year in a row will graduate senior trio Caleb Wagner, Matty Farner and Tom Anderson.
Germantown, 20-3 (no change)
Germantown was a bit of a surprise elimination from the sectional semifinal, when upstart Bay Port dismissed the Warhawks and short-circuited a chance at a fifth consecutive state-tournament appearance. The loss ended a remarkable career for guard Juwan McCloud, who will play at Northern Iowa next season.
Whitnall, 20-7 (no change)
Whitnall not only had a chance to appear in the Division 2 state semifinal at the Kohl Center in Madison, but the Falcons had a final shot that could have altered the final outcome in a loss to Waunakee. This could be the preseason No. 1 team in 2016-17, with 1,000-point scorer Tyler Herro due back for his junior season, as well as excellent second option Kevion Taylor for his senior year.
New Berlin Eisenhower, 20-3 (no change)
Catholic Memorial's stunning win over the Lions to open the playoffs gave us the big upset of the postseason, and as good as the Lions were this season, they closed the year with two surprising losses -- one because of margin and one because of outcome. The program remains in tip-top shape and brings back some key pieces for next year, but it was easy to envision this team competing in Madison for a Division 2 title. That the journey didn't even get to the first Saturday of the playoffs is a head-scratcher.
New Berlin Eisenhower, 23-5 (up 2)
New Berlin Eisenhower didn't always look like a surefire state-title candidate during the season, but the Lions were consistent for most of the year and powerful when it counted at the end. Led by senior post Chelsea Brackmann, a tall front line and key contributions from guards like sophomore Katie Ludwig and freshman Julia Hintz, the Lions won the 2015-16 Division 2 state title, bringing home their second gold ball (matching the 2010 team). Eisenhower got the best of Stoughton in a tense state final one night after an overtime win over Notre Dame.
Mukwonago, 24-4 (down 1)
It was a special year for the Mukwonago squad, but the Indians fell just short of its first state championship despite three trips to state in the last four years. After downing Oak Creek in the state semifinal, Verona had enough in the second half to push past MHS and claim its own first girls basketball state title. Mukwonago must now bid adieu to Ball State recruit Morgan Glatczak and Iowa recruit Bre Cera, one of the top players in the state during her career. Pictured: Bre Cera
Oak Creek, 23-4 (down 1)
For much of the state semifinal against Mukwonago, Oak Creek was within striking distance. But the Knights didn't have the final gear to push past top-ranked MHS and reach the state final. It was nonetheless another banner year for the Knights, with a Southeast Conference championship to add to the trophy case that also includes the 2014 state title. Pictured (at left): Nicky Widenski.
Germantown, 20-5 (no change)
For the second year in a row, Germantown's season ended at the hands of Arrowhead, a squad that came together at the right time for a deep postseason run and avenged an earlier-season loss to Germantown. The setback came in overtime. Junior Kenzie Schmitz established herself as one of the best players in the area during a productive conference-championship year, and this team will once again be a threat in 2016-17.
Brookfield Central, 19-6 (no change)
Speaking of tense overtime setbacks, Brookfield Central gave Divine Savior Holy Angels all it could handle before falling short in overtime at the sectional semifinal level. The Lancers thrived under second-year coach Mallory Liebl, taking second in the Greater Metro and showing they're going to be a very tough squad next year, led by current junior Caroline Busch.
Others (alpha): Brookfield East, 4-20; Catholic Memorial, 10-14; Cudahy, 12-11; Franklin, 7-16; Greenfield, 3-20; Homestead, 7-16; Kettle Moraine, 12-11; Lake Country Lutheran, 12-12; Martin Luther, 9-15; Menomonee Falls, 14-9; Mukwonago, 12-11; New Berlin West, 5-19; Nicolet, 12-12; Oak Creek, 13-10; Shorewood, 6-17; South Milwaukee, 5-18; St. Francis, 9-14; St. John's Northwestern Military Academy, 5-17; St. Thomas More, 8-15; University Lake School, 4-17; University School, 13-11; Waukesha South, 10-13; Waukesha West, 2-21; Wauwatosa East, 11-13; Wauwatosa West, 12-11; West Allis Central, 8-15; West Allis Hale, 12-11
Others (alpha): Brookfield Academy, 18-5; Brown Deer, 2-19; Catholic Memorial, 10-12; Cudahy, 13-11; Dominican, 11-12; Greendale, 5-19; Greenfield, 8-15; Lake Country Lutheran, 16-8; Martin Luther, 19-5; Menomonee Falls, 7-16; Muskego, 12-12; Nicolet, 5-19; Oconomowoc, 7-16; South Milwaukee, 8-15; Shorewood, 17-7; St. Francis, 6-17; St. Thomas More, 9-15; University Lake School, 9-9; University School, 4-18; Waukesha North, 0-23; Waukesha South, 10-13; Wauwatosa West, 4-20; West Allis Central, 4-20; West Allis Hale, 10-13; Whitefish Bay, 9-14; Whitnall, 13-11
Averages are taken from the Wissports.net online database. Adjustments will be made only if submitted by that player's coach to JR Radcliffe at email@example.com. Averages through March 13. Teams covered on Roundball Rankings include those by NOW Newspapers (including extended coverage zone involving Dominican, Cudahy, Thomas More, Martin Luther, St. Francis, South Milwaukee, Sussex Hamilton and Brookfield Academy) and Lake Country Publications.
Current active leading scorers among all NOW-area high schools. All seniors, unless noted.
Stats accumulated from Wissports.net database through March 20, 2016
Several NOW teams have popped up on the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association rankings (March 1).
Division 1 girls
1. Mukwonago (19-3)
3. Oak Creek (19-3)
7. Germantown (18-4)
Division 2 girls
6. New Berlin Eisenhower (17-5)
9. Waukesha West (16-6)
10. Pewaukee (16-6)
Division 1 boys
6. Germantown (18-4)
7. Muskego (18-4)
10. Oconomowoc (17-5)
Division 2 boys
2. Pewaukee (18-3)
3. New Berlin Eisenhower (20-2)
Division 3 boys
3. Brown Deer (18-4)
7. Brookfield Academy (18-4)
Division 4 boys
1. Dominican (21-1)
Whitnall's Andrew Mixon (5) attempts to drive past Waunakee's Kyle Jensen during the state semifinal March 18 in Madison. Waunakee won the game, 62-59. Photo by Peter Zuzga.
It's well thought theory in Wisconsin's small school basketball circles that the Whitefish Bay Dominican boys don't suffer from graduation, that they just pull another set of superstar kids up from their deep roster and cruise to another state title with little problem every year.
In their stirring run to the WIAA Division 1 state basketball championship game, the Muskego boys got the best of a number of top teams. But powerful Stevens Point was just too much in the title game March 19.
Perhaps Matt Farner should consider majoring in theatre in college, because he certainly has a flair for the dramatic. The Muskego senior hit his second buzzer-beating game winner of the postseason, and this time the shot sent the Warriors to the state tournament in Madison.
The Mukwonago girls basketball team will say goodbye to a senior who helped re-affirm the program as a Southeastern Wisconsin empire, with three trips to state in her four years. Bre Cera's career lasted into the final game of the 2015-16 season, but the school's first state championship will have to wait.
The task of finishing weighed heavily on the minds of the players and staff of the Mukwonago girls basketball team during and after their tense 49-45 WIAA D1 state semifinal victory over powerful Oak Creek on March 11 at the Resch Center in Green Bay.
Mukwonago’s 4-minute stall in the Division 1 state championship game raised some eyebrows, particularly among those who already feel the need for a shot clock in high school basketball. But those sentiments are about viewing preference, not strategy.
It was only fitting that senior Chelsea Brackmann and freshman Julia Hintz made the key free throws down the stretch, but there were many heroes for New Berlin Eisenhower, who rallied from 9 points down to defeat Stoughton, 46-42, in the WIAA State Division 2 Championship game on Saturday at the Resch Center in Green Bay.
Two big free throws by senior Kasie Erenyi got New Berlin Eisenhower into overtime, and then a long 3-pointer by Julia Hintz kick-started the Lions to a 55-45 overtime win over Green Bay Notre Dame in the WIAA state semifinal on Friday, March 11, at the Resch Center in Green Bay.
For the first time in the 2015-16 postseason, Mukwonago didn’t blow away its foe, and in fact, Arrowhead held a late lead in the WIAA Division 1 sectional final March 5. But the No. 1 team in the state prevailed, giving Mukwonago its third state trip in four years.
Who's making waves at the next level, and who might go dancing when the NCAA Tournament field gets announced? Check out the full story on all Wisconsin players participating in Division 1 hoops as the tourney gets closer, and see a photo gallery of ex-state high schoolers in action.
NCAA Division 1 men
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Diamond Stone (Dominican), Maryland. After a late-season lull, Maryland still reached the Sweet 16 before falling to top-seeded Kansas in the NCAA Tournament, 79-63. As expected, rumblings immediately after the season indicated Stone would enter the NBA Draft after his freshman season with the Terrapins. He finished second on the team with 12.5 points per game and added 5.4 rebounds per contest.
Brady Ellingson (Sussex Hamilton), Iowa. Ellingson briefly saw the floor in Iowa's second-round loss to Villanova, which came on the heels of an overtime win over Temple in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Ellingson saw action in 27 games this year and should see his role increase next year as a sophomore.
Zak Showalter (Germantown), Wisconsin. Showalter scored 11 points in his team's loss to Notre Dame in the Sweet 16, but his biggest postseason contribution wasn't in the box score, when he drew a charge in the second round that gave the ball back to Wisconsin for Bronson Koenig to beat the buzzer for a win over second-seeded Xavier. Showalter will return next year to a team that brings essentially everyone back. T.J. Schlundt (Oconomowoc) played in five games this year.
Riley LaChance (Brookfield Central), Vanderbilt. LaChance scored 10 points in 23 minutes for Vanderbilt in a "First Four" game of the NCAA Tournament, but the Commodores were defeated soundly by Wichita State, 70-50. LaChance struggled with his shot at times this year but still played in all 33 games, scoring 6.9 points per game. It will be interesting to see where LaChance and Vandy go from here under new head coach Bryce Drew.
Lamonte Bearden (Germantown), Buffalo. He finished with 13.7 points per game for the Mid-American Conference champion Bulls, with 19 points on 7 of 16 shooting in the NCAA Tournament opening loss to Miami, 79-72. Bearden has already been to two NCAA Tournaments in his brief career.
Kevin Mays (SJNMA), CSU-Bakersfield. After winning a thrilling Western Athletic Conference championship game, Mays and his teammates battled Oklahoma in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, falling by an 82-68 count. Mays finished his senior season with 12.6 points and 8.0 rebounds. He was named first-team All Conference as a result.
Jaylen Key (Homestead), Northern Illinois. Key finished the year with 5.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game, and he started regularly as a freshman, but NIU was eliminated from the second round of the MAC tourney after a promising outlook at the start of the season. Darrell Bowie (Wauwatosa East) missed the year with a shoulder injury.
Martin Breunig (SJNMA post-grad), Montana. Breunig finished with 20 points and five rebounds but didn't have quite enough in the Big Sky championship, as top-seeded Weber State grabbed a 62-59 win to earn its dance card. Breunig was named first-team All Conference.
Paul Miller (Kettle Moraine), North Dakota State. Miller’s North Dakota State team fell in the Summit League Conference championship game against South Dakota State, and it was an arduous tourney weekend for Miller, who was suspended for undisclosed reasons from the semifinal, a thrilling win over top-seeded IPFW. Miller was hampered by injury late in the season and saw his scoring average dip from 17.5 points per game in late December to 15.3 at the end of the year, though he still led the team in that department as a sophomore. Evan Wesenberg (Germantown) redshirted in 2015-16.
Duane Wilson (Whitefish Bay Dominican) and Luke Fischer (Germantown), Marquette. Fischer finished with 12.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game this season, and Wilson added 11.6 points and 84 assists, though Marquette finished 20-13, 8-10 in Big East play, and fell to Xavier in the second round of the Big East tourney. Both players reached double figures in an opening-round win over St. John’s.
Jarvis Garrett (West Allis Central), Rhode Island. Garrett finished the year averaging 12.5 points per game after an Atlantic 10 Tourney loss to UMASS on March 10, 67-62. His production suffered down the stretch, potentially thanks to the broken jaw he sustained in late January.
Reed Timmer (New Berlin Eisenhower), Drake. Timmer scored 12 points in the team's loss to Missouri State on March 3 in the opening round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, 69-67, bringing Drake's season to an end at 2-16 in league play and 7-24 overall. Drake did close the year with an overtime win over Loyola on Feb. 27 and fell in the final minute at Bradley before that, so there are some building blocks. Timmer, who averaged a team-best 16.8 points per game this year, was named honorable-mention All Conference and was cited as the league's Scholar Athlete of the Year.
Tanner Plomb (East Troy), Army. The Mukwonago native finished at 19.7 points per game after he scored 23 in a win over Colgate on March 3 and 11 in a loss to Holy Cross on March 6 in the Patriot League tourney. Upstart Holy Cross went on to win the league’s automatic bid with a losing record. Plomb, a senior who was named first-team All Conference, had 23 points to lead his team against Colgate.
MORE: Garrison Goode (Dominican), UC Davis | Christian Griggs-Williams (Nicolet), Tennessee State | Iman Johnson (Dominican), Samford | Tyler Miller (Nicolet), Prairie View A&M | DJ Mlachnik (Muskego/SJNMA), UMASS-Lowell | Trayvon Palmer (Brown Deer), Chicago State | Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay), UMBC | Dan Studer (Germantown), UW-Milwaukee | Najeal Young (West Allis Central), Illinois Chicago.
NCAA Division 1 women
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Mehryn Kraker (West Allis Central), UW-Green Bay. Kraker actually had a down game in the Horizon League Championship against Milwaukee, but it hardly mattered when her team won a 64-32 outcome at the Kress Center. In the semifinal, she was unstoppable, scoring a career-high 32 points with six rebounds and prompting coach Kevin Borseth to wonder aloud how she could have been left off the first-team All Conference list. Kraker was named second-team All Conference in the Horizon for a second straight year, with 11.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game, not to mention two steals per game. She finished second on the team in scoring and first in assists, though GB lost its first-round tournament game against Tennessee, 59-53. Lexi Weitzer (Waukesha South) was also part of the rotation. Ashley Luke (Oak Creek), who had a decorated career at Western Illinois, is a graduate transfer on the team but has been sidelined by an ACL tear.
OTHERS OF NOTE
Allazia Blockton (Dominican), Marquette. Blockton did what she could for Marquette in the first round of the Big East Tournament on March 6 against Seton Hall, scoring 31 points with five boards, but the Golden Eagles fell by a 93-86 count. The second-team All Conference choice and Freshman of the Year averages 18.7 points and 7.7 rebounds in her rookie campaign.
Taylor Gradinjan (Cudahy), Florida Gulf Coast. Jacksonville scored with 3 seconds left and shocked Florida Gulf Coast in the Atlantic Sun championship after FGCU ran the table in the regular season. The end result was her team missing the NCAA Tournament. Gradinjan had 6 points in the loss. Jessica Cattani (Muskego) is also on the roster.
Steph Kostowicz (Oak Creek), UW-Milwaukee. Kostowicz, who earned first-team All Conference accolades after a huge late-season surge, finished with 10 points and seven rebounds in the title game. She posted seven double-doubles in her sophomore season, averaging 13.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Jordyn Swan (Pewaukee) is out all year with a torn ACL.
Nicole Bauman (New Berlin Eisenhower), Wisconsin. The Badgers season came to an unceremonious end in a 76-72 loss to Northwestern in the Big Ten tourney opener March 2. Wisconsin finished 7-22, despite 15.1 points per game from Bauman, not to mention 3.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists. Bauman was named honorable-mention All Conference. There is speculation about the future of women's coach Bobbie Kelsey and whether she will be back for another year.
Taylor Higginbotham (Germantown), Western Illinois. Higginbotham was held to 3 points and the Leathernecks season came to an end against Oral Roberts on March 6 in the Summit League tourney, 68-55. She finished the year averaging 11.7 points and 5.6 rebounds as a freshman. Michelle Farrow (Waukesha West) was also part of the rotation.
Mackenzie Latt (Sussex Hamilton), Davidson. Latt scored 13 points March 2 against Richmond, but the Wildcats closed the year at 11-19 after the 70-51 setback in the opening round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament. She finished the year averaging 14.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
MORE: Renee Bennett (Muskego), Ball State | Briana Gray (Nicolet), Bradley | Maya Jonas (Whitefish Bay), Northwestern | Kianna Keller (Waukesha West), New Mexico | Lydia Rohde (Brookfield Central), Northwestern | Katie Salmon (Wauwatosa East), Loyola (Ill.) | Tamya Sims (Oak Creek), Bradley | Kelly Smith (Arrowhead), Northern Illinois | Eileen Van Horn (Waukesha South), Marist
Updated: March 14.
Kostas Antetokounmpo was a high-profile player the second he arrived on campus at Dominican High School with older brother Giannis making waves for the Milwaukee Bucks. But he was a raw talent in 2015 who didn't absorb big minutes when the Knights won a fourth consecutive state title. But Kostas played a much bigger role in the 2016 crown. He hit double figures in both the state semifinal and final and brought in eight rebounds both times. Thanks to some sharp shooting by teammate Jake Bennett in the final, the Knights once again reigned atop the state's Division 4 field with an unprecedented fifth straight gold ball.
State championship games (March 19, 2016, Kohl Center, Madison)
Division 1: Stevens Point 89, Muskego 64. The Warriors (and every other team in the state) simply didn't have enough to match the powerful Panthers, who finished 28-0 and won a seconds straight state championship. Marquette recruit Sam Hauser finished with 23 points, eight rebounds and three assists, and Trev Anderson (UWGB recruit) added 20 points and four helpers.
Division 2: Kaukauna 91, Waunakee 62. High-profile sophomore Jordan McCabe delivered on the biggest stage, scoring 24 points with four assists and five rebounds as Kaukauna won its first title. Adam Smith add 22 points and Marcus Moreau 18 with nine rebunds. The Ghosts won state titles in boys volleyball in the fall and wrestling in the winter, as well.
Division 3: Waupun 59, Xavier 58. Xavier was fouled on a 3-pointer in the closing seconds and hit two of three, but Waupun held on in its first state visit in 80 years. Colton Homan finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds, one of four players in double figures. Marcus Domask led Waupun with 15 points.
Division 4: Dominican 62, Cameron 43. The unprecedented fifth consecutive state title for Dominican resulted from a big night for Jake Bennett, who hit 8 of 11 shots (7 of 10 from 3-point range) to record 25 points. Kostas Antetokounmpo, the brother of Bucks star Giannis, finished with 10 points.
Division 5: McDonell Central 63, Catholic Central 41. Led by 20 points from Ben Retzlaff and a defensive effort that limited CC standout Ben Heiligenthal, McDonell put the game on ice early. Alex Ohde added 15 points and eight rebounds.
State championship games (March 12, 2016, Resch Center, Green Bay)
Division 1: Verona 52, Mukwonago 46. Junior Alex Leuhring, a UW-Green Bay recruit, scored 18 points with four 3-pointers, and Verona proved to have enough in the closing moments to hold off Mukwonago. The two teams closed the year ranked No. 2 and No. 1 in the state. Mukwonago's Bre Cera closed a huge career with 25 points and nine rebounds.
Division 2: New Berlin Eisenhower 46, Stoughton 42. Senior Chelsea Brackmann seemed to struggle at times, but she still finisehd with 10 points and 14 rebounds as Eisenhower locked up its second state title. Freshman Julia Hintz added 12 points and grabbed the program's torch going forward.
Division 3: Hayward 43, Milw. School of Languages 31. Madelyn Neff scored 23 points and 10 rebounds, and Katie Stark went for 13 and 13 as Hayward logged its first state title in convincing fashion to finish 27-1.
Division 4: Mineral Point 68, Kenosha St. Joseph 52. Jessica Schultz scored 21 points and brought in nine rebounds, and Sydney Staver posted another 20 points as MP won its first title, knocking off a St. Joe's team led by mighty Sydney Cooks (230 points, 13 rebounds).
Division 5: Assumption 62, Barneveld 45. The annual clash of titans that seems to take place in the state-title game each year went Assumption's way this time. Gena Grundhoffer had 20 points, and Olivia Skibba had another 18. Miss Basketball choice Hannah Whitish finished with 24 for Barneveld.
Germantown alumnus Zak Showalter won't be known for his scoring prowess at the University of Wisconsin, but the gritty junior has provided some seriously huge moments for the Badgers men's basketball program. His steal and coast-to-coast hoop against North Carolina in the 2015 Sweet 16 stands out, and the charge he took in the final seconds against Xavier on March 20 allowed UW to set up for a game-winning shot by Bronson Koenig, giving Bucky its fifth Sweet 16 appearance in six years.
A look at area players headed to play college basketball in NCAA Division 1 and Division 2
Chelsea Brackmann, New Berlin Eisenhower (Bradley)
Bre Cera, Mukwonago (Iowa)
Abby Gerrits, Pewaukee (Northern Iowa)
Morgan Glatczak, Mukwonago (Ball State)
Mariah Miller, Brookfield East (Cleveland State)
Carly Graverson, Franklin (Lewis)
Christal Hearn, Homestead (University of Mary)
Kariss Keller, Waukesha West (Nova Southeastern)
Taylor Klug, Sussex Hamilton (Minnesota State-Mankato)
Claire Radtke, New Berlin West (Lake Superior State)
Sam Schuh, West Allis Hale (Dakota Wesleyan)
Emily Schumacher, Waukesha South (Charleston)
Nicky Widenski, Oak Creek (Lee University)
Juwan McCloud, Germantown (Northern Iowa)
Bryce Nze, Arrowhead (UW-Milwaukee)
Harrison Cleary, Oak Creek (Minnesota-Crookston)
Max Keefe, Germantown (Concordia St. Paul)
Spencer Treder, Oconomowoc (Winona State)
Missing any? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
State appearances by area teams:
We check in with past area basketball players and ask about their experiences at the state tournament.
Erin Monfre was on the cover of the state's women's basketball yearbook before the season, and she and her Waukesha South teammates proved the hype was real, reaching the WIAA Division 1 state championship game before falling to De Pere. "It kept me accountable, it never allowed me to settle. There were people who had expectations of me, people who doubted me and expectations I had for myself. That spotlight kept me in line, as well as motivated."
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Jamie Schneck, Whitefish Bay boys
Kay (Mikolajczak) Chmielewski, Franklin girls
Jay Schauer and Rollie Blanchett, South Milwaukee boys
Whitefish Bay girls team, 2006
Brenda (Brunner) Hojnacki, Pius girls
Griffin LaDew, Catholic Memorial boys
Tina (Vilter) McDonald, Arrowhead girls
Eric Dale, Wauwatosa East boys
Kelly (Schwerman) Leibham, Kettle Moraine girls
JR Blount, Whitefish Bay Dominican boys
Alex Izzo, New Berlin Eisenhower boys
Ashley Imperiale, Greendale girls
A look back at the best of the best from the NOW Newspapers and Lake Country Publications coverage areas.