EagleHerald/Jody Korch  Oconto’s Carson Moe drives to the basket during the first half of Saturday’s regional finals win over St. Mary Catholic.
EagleHerald/Jody Korch
Oconto’s Carson Moe drives to the basket during the first half of Saturday’s regional finals win over St. Mary Catholic.

OCONTO — There's a natural tendency to look ahead when facing a team you've already defeated, but not in Oconto.

The Blue Devils (19-5) will play Shiocton (18-5) in a WIAA Division 4 boys' basketball semifinal Thursday at 7 p.m. at Bay Port High School.

Oconto is two wins away from its first state tourney berth since 1931, but first things first. The Blue Devils must win a rematch against a Shiocton team that is sky-high after its 83-47 regional title win over a quality Crivitz team.

Ten weeks ago, Oconto beat Shiocton 62-51 at the Kress Center in the Sun Drop Shootout.

"You can't assume because of what happened the first time that you're going to get the same result without the same effort," Oconto coach Jon Bostedt said.

Shiocton has a balanced scoring attack led by Matt Peterson and Austin Van Den Bosch, who both average 13.4 points per game. Wesley Brouillard averages 11.6 points and 9.7 rebounds a game. Peterson, a 5-foot-9 senior guard, had just come back from a football injury when the teams first met, and he played a spot role. Van Den Bosch is a 6-3 sophomore forward and Brouillard is a 6-4 senior forward.

"They look to push the ball more than they did against us the first time," Bostedt said.

Shiocton primarily played a man-to-man defense in the first game against the Blue Devils, but Oconto has since scouted the Chiefs playing a lot of 1-1-3 half-court and three-quarters court traps.

Oconto attacks teams with a great 1-2 punch of 6-4 Connor Ebben (19.4 points, 8.1 rebounds per game), and 6-3 Carson Moe (18.8 ppg). Isaac Woller adds 10.4 points and 4.7 assists per game.

"Both teams will be ready," according to Bostedt. "It's who makes the fewest mistakes and who adjusts. I thought the first time, what we did really good against them was moving the ball. When we were patient and worked the ball around it worked better to our advantage."

Thursday's winner will play in Saturday's 7 p.m. sectional title game against Auburndale (20-4) or Marathon (20-4) at D.C. Everest.

The 6-4 Zach Sherman is the only junior among Oconto's top seven players.

"They've been around long enough to know to just stay in the moment," Bostedt said. "Don't think too far ahead. Just take care of business. Don't think ahead to Saturday. Handle each possession one at a time and then take each half at a time. I think the kids realize it's going to be a good ballgame. I would say very excited and ready to play. I don't think we're overconfident."