GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The FVA can play. The conference represented by not just one, but two teams at state. Appleton North competes in Division 1 while Hortonville plays for glory in Division 2.
The Lightning are looking to strike twice after claiming the D1 crown last year.
“It would be pretty crazy, like a repeat dream,” said Appleton North senior guard Kari Brekke. “We seniors, we have 5 of us, that was our goal this year.”
Their goal looked shaky with four regular season losses, but Appleton North has won its four playoff games by an average of 33 points per game. The Lightning even beat Kimberly by 24 points in Saturday’s Sectional final.
“To play the way we did and play at that level was pretty extraordinary,” said Appleton North coach Joe Russom.
“We are on a good roll, but I think that we can still improve,” said Appleton North senior guard Sydney Levy. “We have been playing well, which is nice to see.”
It will take North’s best effort to win. They enter state as the #4 seed and will face a tough route.
“I think experience is a key factor, not just at state but even in sectionals,” Brekke said.
“Experience is going to be the difference and we have to use it,” Russom said.
Experience matters, and Hortonville has it too. The Polar Bears played Division 1 Lightning to single-digit games twice in the regular season. And Hortonville has State Tournament experience too. After a 3-decade drought from the big stage they made the state semis last year. They are looking to turn that experience into results this time around.
“We have a lot of experience coming back and I think they are going to be more comfortable and settle into the game a lot quicker than we did last year,” said Hortonville coach Celeste Ratka.
Like the Lightning, the Polar Bears are the #4 seed at state. Hortonville is playing the role of hungry, not hunted.
“We play Beaver Dam, and they are obviously a great team, having win it last year,” said Hortonville senior guard Shay Fredrick. “But we just trust in our preparation and what we've been doing all year putting the work in. Hopefully it will be in our favor.”