DE PERE - The De Pere girls basketball team swears it doesn't know how long its winning streak is.
Friday night after the Redbirds stretched their streak without a loss to 43 games with a commanding 58-32 win over Sheboygan South in a Division 1 regional semifinal both Morgan Anderson and coach Kelly McNiff confirmed as much.
"We block it out," Anderson said. "Our coaches never talk about it. I didn't even know it was at 43. We don't feel pressure about that.
"We feel pressure we put on ourselves because we know if we lose, we're done."
"Media and fans all do a good job of that," McNiff said in regards to keeping track of the streak. "We've gone into every postseason saying it's a business trip. Our goal is to close six deals. We got the first one done."
The first one got done with De Pere's defense. The Redbirds hounded the Redwings all game, with Anderson and Kayla Dawson hawking ball handlers and recording multiple steals.
McNiff was pleased with the defensive effort.
"We've done a great job," she said. "I think we give up 32 (points per game), that's what we gave up tonight. We can defend and make other teams uncomfortable … if we're not getting our shots and they're not scoring we can create offense off our defense."
De Pere was never in jeopardy of losing Friday, but in its 43-game streak that's not news. The Redbirds have shown an incredible ability to answer the bell every game, no matter what the competition.
"Down in my gut I want to win," said Dawson, who scored 23 points in three quarters Friday. "I have a passion for winning. I don't like losing."
Anderson won't even invite the thought of losing.
"That is a ton of motivation," she said. "I don't even want to think about it.
That attitude runs throughout the De Pere roster, but McNiff said the biggest reason her team is now 23-0 and playing like a state champ is because of players like Dawson and Anderson, who are both seniors.
"This senior group is special," said McNiff, who starts five seniors. "I think this group, the eight of them are so different. It's what De Pere basketball is all about. I feel very comfortable with the experience they have. We have such good leaders and they're such a close-knit group."
De Pere will host Green Bay Southwest in a regional final on Saturday and the Redbirds beat the Trojans, 40-23, during the regular season. De Pere knows it will get the Trojans' best effort, but it's fine with that.
After winning state last season, the Redbirds are ready for anything.
"The fact we were at state last year it gives us more confidence," Anderson said. "We've been in the situation before, so we're not as scared as maybe other teams are, especially us seniors."
If De Pere defends its state title, the streak will move to 48 games. As Anderson and McNiff said, they don't care what the streak is at.
"We went into this game 0-0 and our goal was to be 1-0 after tonight," McNiff said. "It's important to set the tone."
The tone has been set, but De Pere knows it can get better.
"It's really nice (to get the first playoff win)," Anderson said. "This wasn't our best game. We had lapses here and there, but it's obviously great to get a playoff win."
And in case you're wondering, De Pere's playoff winning streak is now at seven games, but you know what, the Redbirds don't care.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay
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