OSHKOSH, Wis. - The Appleton North girls basketball team is heading back to state, looking for another gold ball.
After winning both regular-season matchups against Kimberly with a combined margin of 28 points, the Lightning beat the Papermakers one more time in convincing fashion with stifling defense to punch their ticket to Madison.
"Our coach came in the locker room and he said, 'I'm kind of sick of hearing how great Kimberly's defense is. Let's start having people raving about our defense.' So that was kind of our motto, mindset going in," said Appleton North senior Kari Brekke. "Playing against a great team like Kimberly all season long, they've been giving us runs. You know we only beat them by six or seven the first time, so to beat a team like this by 20, I'm really proud of my team."
Also in Division 1, fellow No. 1 seed Arrowhead advanced to the state tournament with a 49-34 win over second-seeded Bay Port.
In Division 2 action, West De Pere was one win away from states, but lost Saturday to top-seeded Beaver Dam 70-49.
Hortonville won its sectional title Saturday with an upset of top-seeded Onalaska, 69-59.
Meanwhile, in Division 3, No. 2 Amherst defeated fellow two-seed Southern Door 50-39.
Division 4 No. 1 seed Manitowoc Lutheran also advanced, taking down fellow top seed Milwaukee Academy of Science 71-57.
The girls basketball state championship tournament tips off at the Resch Center Thursday, beginning with Divisions 3 and 4 semifinals. See the full schedule below.