HARTLAND, Wisc. — Dominating the Midwest Classic the last two seasons, the Lightings class of 2022 has been special.
"We just have that high standard for ourselves that we come out here to win every game and that's what we're going to do," says Luke Haertle, senior at Lake Country Lutheran.
Lake Country Lutheran's first stop on the road to Madison is Friday as the host Watertown Lutheran.
"Playing with each other since sixth grade basically, we've all known each other's strengths and we've known each other like the back of our hand," says Haertle.
This has allowed Haertle to place his name in the history books by recording 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds over his varsity career.
"It's pretty cool, especially doing it with the guys next to me. The coaches and everyone are such a great supporting cast. We are all together, but when something like that happens, they are awesome teammates," he said.
As a walk-on commit at Wisconsin, he will eventually know what it's like to play at the Kohl Center.
"It's an iconic place, it's an iconic building that everyone wants to go to," says Haertle.
As COVID-19 kept state championships out of Madison in 2021, getting back to state is about more than a return. For Haertle, it's about saying goodbye and saying thank you the right way.
"It put it in perspective that this is our last go around and that we can't take anything for granted. We do that every day at practice. We are just trying to enjoy it," he said. "These are my best friends, we've worked through so much together, all the ups and downs. All the laughs and all the tears, it would be truly special for me and my friends just to go out there and win a state championship."