March 18, 2022 at 11:59 a.m.
History in the making
Last weekend, I had the luxury of attending the 2022 WIAA Girls Basketball State Tournament at the Resch Center in Green Bay.
I traveled to the La Crosse Center last year to follow the Mineral Point girls basketball team, as they fell short against Mishicot 70-66 in the Division 4 State Championship.
This year, Mineral Point qualified once again, but the Highland Cardinals also qualified in Division 5, which was their first trip to State in program history.
Thursday night, I watched the Pointers score a 55-45 victory over Westfield in the Division 4 State Semifinals to advance to Championship Saturday.
Friday morning, Highland faced a strong opponent in #1 Randolph in the Division 5 State Semifinals.
The Cardinals gave it all they had but eventually suffered a 47-25 loss to the Rockets.
But Highland played hard until the final buzzer sounded, and they were cheered on by what appeared to be the entire village of Highland, and then some.
As I sat there during the game, I couldn't help but gaze at the sea of Cardinal red that filled sections of the arena, as there was more support there for one of the smallest schools in the state than some of the larger divisions.
What's more, senior Rachel Miller surpassed 1,000 career points scored in the game, which will surely be a life-long memory.
Although the result wasn't what coach Josh Tarrell and his team were looking for, the 2021-22 Cardinals will forever be known as the first team to take Highland to State.
Mineral Point, however, was able to accomplish their mission of avenging last year's defeat, as they held off Laconia 53-42 on Saturday to claim the program's second State Championship in six years.
It was a full-circle moment, as former Pointer Sydney Staver was there to witness the excitement; Staver led Mineral Point to the first State Title in 2016.
Once the festivities were completed, I was left with the realization that our area supports our teams like no other.
It's as if the communities were shut down to cheer on the Pointers and Cardinals, and it was special to be a part of.