Appleton North entering state tournament on a roll

Sydney Levy and Appleton North play Arrowhead in a Friday state semifinal at the Resch Center. (Doug Ritchay/WLUK)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Appleton North knew when sectionals arrived it would have to be at its best as its road to a third state tournament was anything but easy.

Up first was Appleton East -- a team it split with during the regular season -- and then if the Lightning won that game, Kimberly, a 23-win team, would be waiting in a sectional final.

North was up to task as it beat East, 58-40, and then Kimberly, 65-41.

The Lightning plays Arrowhead on Friday in a Division 1 state semifinal, feeling confident. Watch the game live at 6:35 p.m. on CW 14 or streaming right here on fox11online.com.

"Think we're peaking right now and that's always the goal, to play our best basketball in March," senior guard Kari Brekke said. "We always look at the season as a marathon, not a sprint and there's going to be ups and downs during the course of a season and we definitely experienced those, but I'm really happy with where we're at right now and I'm excited to see how we do on Friday."

"I definitely think we're on a good run right now, but I think we can still improve," said senior guard Sydney Levy. "We've been playing well, which is nice to see, but obviously you can always get better."

North (22-4) has been focused not only a third straight tip to the state tournament, but also repeating as state champs. Coach Joe Russom liked his his team played last week, especially against Kimberly, even though it swept the Papermakers during the regular season.

"Surprised about our Saturday performance," he said in regards to beating Kimberly. "I'm not going to lie, Kimberly's an awesome team and to play the we did and win at that level was pretty extraordinary. I think our experience is going to be the difference and we have to use it."

Brekke said the experience North has is an advantage.

"I think experience is a key factor at state and even in sectionals," she said. "First year, as sophomores, we were all kind of scared underclassmen and it showed, we got or butts kicked buy Verona but last year we came in with a lot of experience and we knew what to expect.

"The brights lights really didn't faze us. This year it's just going to help again."

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay

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