Manitowoc Lutheran girls hoops ready for WIAA shot
MANITOWOC (WLUK) -- To prepare for its biggest game in program history, Manitowoc Lutheran High School needed a bigger gym, so the team is spending its week preparing for the state girls basketball tournaments on the courts of local colleges.
"It doesn't seem real, we're all like oh my gosh we're going to state, it hasn't like sunk in yet," senior guard Maddie Schlies said.
"We're not going to shy away from it just like we didn't shy away from the state talk all year," head coach Mike Behnke said. "Because we want our kids to live in that moment and be ready for it, step up to the plate and see what they can do."
The Lancers tasted tournament success back in 1989 as a member of WISAA, but this is the first time the Big East Conference power is playing with the state's best as a member of the WIAA.
"I think it's going to feel unreal, none of us have experienced that and it's going to be an amazing feeling," senior guard Abby Hiller said. "We're never going to experience that again. Like amazing."
No. 3 Manitowoc Lutheran draws undefeated No. 2 Melrose-Mindoro to open the tournament in the Division 4 semifinals at 8:15 p.m. Thursday. Watch it live on CW 14 or streaming on fox11online.com.
The Resch Center represents the most exciting and nerve-wracking venue this group has ever played in. The team says the key will be to stay composed while embracing the magnitude of the moment.
"All these teams at state are going to be good, Melrose is undefeated," junior guard Grace Melso said. "We're the underdog so we just want to come in be confident and play how we can."
At 21-4 on the season, Lutheran High has reached milestones it once had only dreamed about. Now awake, only a championship for this upstart squad will do.
"One of the things we wanted to do this year was show up and I think we've done that," junior forward Madison Gorte said.
"I think it would just be a huge reward to finally hold the gold ball, knowing that it's ours," senior forward Emily Behnke said.