APPLETON - The Appleton East girls basketball team didn't appear headed for Madison when it finished the season in fifth place in the Fox Valley Association with a 10-8 record. That didn't keep the Patriots from setting their sights high.
"I love being the underdog," said Patriots forward Kayla Ahrens.
Underdogs or not, Appleton East is one win away from the state semifinals. After a four-overtime sectional final win against Oshkosh West on Saturday, the Patriots are no longer alone in their belief that they have a shot at state.
"It's surprising in how far we've come in the belief that we can get it done," said first-year coach Aaron Shaw. "And we can get it done."
Appleton East has no interest in being the favorite. it'll be the underdog once again on Tuesday night, part of division 1's Super Tuesday, when it faces red-hot Eau Claire North at UW-Stevens Point. The winner advances to the state semifinals, played in Madison.
"I think it's better to be the underdog because people don't see you as a target," said Patriots forward Marissa Michalkiewicz. "It's better to play without a target on your back."
Eau Claire North is currently riding a 19-game winning streak. The Patriots, however, are just fine with being overlooked.
"Why change it now?" said Shaw. "They can keep picking the other team. We're just fine with that."
The Patriots practiced Monday at Lawrence University to get acclimated to a college-sized court, like the one they'll play on Super Tuesday.
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