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Red hot Rockets heading back to state for 3rd straight season

Here they go again! Neenah has won 17 of its last 18 games and 13 in a row. Now, the Rockets have a chance to win their second state title in three seasons.
Posted at 3:20 PM, Mar 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-13 16:20:59-04

NEENAH, Wis. (NBC 26) — One of Wisconsin's top high school basketball programs is back on the state's biggest stage.

The Neenah boys are heading to Madison for the third straight season and the 30th time in program history, a WIAA record.

The Rockets beat Marshfield, 52-48, in a sectional final game on Saturday.
The win was Neenah's 13th in a row and 17th in its last 18 games after the Rockets started 4-6.
Junior forward Luke Jung missed the team's first nine games; the Rockets are 17-2 with him in the lineup.
In nine seasons at the helm, Neenah coach Lee Rabas is 173-64 (73%) with 4 state tournament appearances and one state championship (2022).
Neenah plays Arrowhead in Friday's state semifinal round; tip-off is set for 6:35 p.m.
Arrowhead knocked the Rockets out of the state tournament last season and Arrowhead also beat Neenah's girls team in the state championship last weekend.

“It’s still exciting," Neenah coach Lee Rabas said of the Rockets return to the state tournament. "This year is different from last year and it’s different from the year before and it’s different from 2019 just because each team kind of has its own identity.”

A big part of this team's make-up? Resilience. The Rockets began the season 4-6.

“We knew we weren’t that bad of a team," senior guard Charlie Wunderlich said. "We had a rough start but we really just knew our effort needed to pick up.”

“I had all the confidence in the world that we would get to where we are today and I never had a doubt with these guys," added senior guard Brady Corso, who leads the Rockets with 21.7 points per game.

Since then, the Rockets have won 17 of their last 18 games and 13 in a row. It's another masterful coaching job from Rockets coach Lee Rabas.

“We as a staff felt that we were better and we were trying to hammer that home with the kids," Rabas said. "And I think they knew it as well."

In nine seasons at the helm, Rabass has guided Neenah to a 173-64 record with four trips to the state final four and a state championship in 2022.

“He’s the best coach in the state to me," Corso said. "I mean it’s incomparable to any other coach.”

Now, can the Rockets get back to the mountaintop? Since the WIAA began re-seeding teams at state in 2018, no No. 4 seed in Division 1 has won a game.

That's the hurdle Neenah will have to climb against top-seeded Arrowhead, which upset No. 1 ranked De Pere last weekend.

“We’re on a hot streak right now," Wunderlich said. "We don’t feel (like) an underdog at all. We know what we’re capable of and we know we’re capable of winning this whole thing.”

"Let’s make the most of it," Rabas said. "And that’s what we have an opportunity to do on Friday night."