It's been five long years without a berth to the boys state tournament for Oshkosh North's basketball program. But after the Spartans (25-1) have sat atop the state rankings all season, they're heading to Madison to play for the program's first Division 1 state championship.
"I think when you have as historic a program as we have and the chance to do something that no one's ever done, it's really special, and my brother went to state when he was a sophomore and to be able to carry on the tradition, that's awesome and I think we do this for the entire city of Oshkosh," said senior guard Quincy Anderson. "So I think to be able to do this for everyone that's touched this program, it's really special."
Senior guard Tyrese Haliburton, who was named the Gatorade state player of the year last week, said they have been dreaming of this opportunity since watching earlier teams advance to state.
"This is what I've wanted to do my whole life, just watching all the people before me here, that's been my dream since I've been little," the Iowa State signee said. "Hopefully I'm able to finish it whereas North hasn't been able to in the past."
After a tough road through the Fox Valley Association, the Spartans ended the regular season atop the AP and state coaches polls, won the conference crown and now will end their season in Madison for the seventh time in program history. Coach Brad Weber, who's in his first season as head coach, says the Spartans wouldn't be here without Anderson and Haliburton.
"They've been through the wars," Weber said. "This year I think was really easy for them to keep focused because they've gone through it last year, so our senior leadership has been great."
In the Division 1 semifinals, top-seeded Oshkosh North will play No. 4 Sussex-Hamilton (17-9) Friday at 6:35 p.m.