LUXEMBURG, Wis. (NBC 26) — Last Saturday, Luxemburg-Casco beat arch-rival Denmark 87-68, capturing its first WIAA regional championship since 2005.
"It is not lost on me how unique this is and how special we are as a group to have been able to achieve this," head coach Tyler Thrune said.
"It's not for lack of trying or lack of effort or talent," Thrune added. "There's been a lot of really talented groups that have come through here that have just run into absolute buzz-saws."
Like in 2016, when the Spartans went 21-3 but lost to Pulaski in the regional final.
Or in 2017, when they went 20-4, but ran into Wisconsin Mr. Basketball award winner Jordan McCabe and Kaukauna early in the tournament.
This year, L-C got a better draw. Instead of playing teams like the Red Raiders and Galloping Ghosts - schools that have a much higher enrollment - they drew conference rival Denmark in the regional final.
The Spartans wasted little time taking control - their first made seven shots were all three-pointers. They hit 15 triples in total, shooting 62 percent from downtown.
"When other guys are hot I think it just kind of sparks everyone to shoot better and play better," senior guard Ryan Robillard, who led the Spartans with 24 points and five three-pointers, said. "So that definitely helped us Saturday night."
With about five minutes left in the game, the Spartans extended their lead to 16 points. That's when Thrune knew his team was moving on.
"I looked up at about that point and was like, holy cow, we are going to win a regional championship," he said. "We're going to knock these guys off and we're going play another weekend and do something that hasn't been done at this school since 2005."
The team knows its made local history, but it hasn't quite set in yet.
"It really just happened fast for us," senior center Blake Yagodinski said. "All of a sudden we were playing Saturday night and we had a chance for a regional championship and we took it. Then we were back at it Monday for practice so... It's set in but, we want to do more."
Up next is a sectional semifinal matchup with one of the best programs in the state - Appleton Xavier.
While the Spartans are making their fifth sectional appearance ever, the Hawks are making their fifth in the last six seasons.
"We're going to have our hands full," Thrune said. "We're going to have to handle their pressure and take care of the basketball, no doubt about it, but when we bring our 'A-game' we're good enough to beat any of these teams."
"The last two games showed us that we can compete with anyone and stay with anyone," Robillard added. "As long as we play our game and push the ball and play good defense then we can beat Xavier."
The game is scheduled for 7:00 Thursday night. The winner will play either Ashwaubenon or Seymour in the sectional final round on Saturday.