The number one ranked NEW Lutheran Blazers felt this had to be their year. Winners of 25 straight games, back in the WIAA Division 5 championship game for the second straight year, they had come off a solid 77-63 victory over Sheboygan Lutheran in the semifinals on Thursday.
The Thorp Cardinals had something to say about that. They said it loudly by capturing their first state title with a 49-42 upset at the Kohl Center in Madison. The Blazers twice built 8 point leads in the first half and were up 20-13 at halftime. In the third quarter, Thorp hit a couple of big three point shots to move in front. Foul trouble and icy cold shooting prevented the Blazers from getting back in front.
NEW finished the year 27-2 after going 28-1 a year ago, losing in the title game to Randolph, again scoring only 42 points in the final. Dakota Zinser led the way with 14 points after scoring 33 in the semifinal win. Nathan Toenjes had 13 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out late. The Blazers made just 17 of 48 shots and missed all 12 three point attempts.
Reaching state 4 times in the last five years, NEW Lutheran has lost the state final three times, this one may have the toughest.