Once again, N.E.W. Lutheran reaches the state tournament

N.E.W. Lutheran has qualified for its seventh state tournament in nine seasons.

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- The N.E.W. Lutheran boys basketball team won two sectional games by a total of four points, but that was enough, and now the Blazers, with their 15-12 record are headed to the Division 5 state tournament.

Coach Mark Meerstein likes how his team has played this postseason as it prepares for a state semifinal against top-ranked Bangor.

"I like what we did," Meerstein said. "Every game was different. Every game was a new challenge. Every team we played against did something different and every time the kids figured it out and found a way to win."

N.E.W. Lutheran is making its seventh state appearances in the last nine seasons. Because of the size of the school it's often overlooked but If you by that statistic alone the Blazers have been the most successful boys basketball program in the area in the last decade.

"It says a lot," junior guard Sam Meerstein said. "It says how hard we work all the time, how hard coach coaches us and how he pushes us throughout the whole year so, I mean, that's fun.

"We just want to get there."

The Blazers have yet to win a WIAA state title, but one reason N.E.W. Lutheran is still playing is togetherness.

"Lot of classes are together, six out of eight periods," Mark Meerstein said. "They're around those guys all the time. It gets to a point when they get on the floor they're all like brothers. They work hard and they do a lot of stuff outside of school .

"It's fun when you see all this stuff tie together."

Despite being a No. 3 seed, N.E.W. Lutheran started the postseason likely off the radar with its 10-12 record but now it is just two wins away from winning a gold ball.

"(We've) always talked about it," Sam Meerstein said about reaching state. "None of these guys have gotten there but me, so I think it's going to be a fun experience."

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay

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