Stoughton boys basketball returns to state for first time in 74 years

Published On: Mar 11 2013 02:29:01 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 06 2013 10:48:49 PM CST
STOUGHTON, Wis. -

The WIAA state boys basketball tournament begins Thursday at the Kohl Center with division five and four semifinals.

Friday afternoon at about 3:15, the Stoughton Vikings play Wisconsin Lutheran in division two. It's the schools first trip to state in 74 years.

Two days before his team plays at state, Stoughton head basketball coach Matt Hockett gives his team a history lesson.

"I was able to acquire some of the scrapbooks from back in the day and believe it or not, as I told the boys they did have the printing press and newspapers back then," said Hockett.

The last time a Stoughton boys basketball team played at state was in 1939, to put that into perspective FDR was in the White House.

"Words can't explain, it's been 74 years, and I don't even know if my grandpa is that old," said Stoughton senior Ben Gerber.

"It's been pretty crazy for us we haven't gotten here in 74 years so its a pretty big deal for our city and people are coming up to us at gas stations shaking our hands and wishing us good luck," said Stoughton senior Ryan Streich.

The Vikings started the season 4-7 but have won 14 of its last 15 including eight in a row.

"There is a reason this team has accomplished what they have and it's not because they have the most talent in the state its because they have the most heart and because they embrace our family concept more than any group I have ever been around. No Stoughton basketball team has placed first or second so  we could be the best Stoughton boys basketball team to ever take the court," said Hockett.

The fourth-year head coach also expects a big crowd Friday at the Kohl Center.

"I think there should be a big sign on ACE hardware on highway 51 as you leave town and it should say, 'the last one to leave please turn out the lights. ' I think this will be a ghost town come Friday afternoon," said Hockett.