Monroe girls basketball returns to state - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Monroe girls basketball returns to state

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MONROE (WKOW) -

After making it to the WIAA State Tournament a year ago, the Monroe Cheesemakers knew they would get every opponent's best shot this season.

"Definitely conference teams really wanted to beat us because last year we played really well and, obviously, this year we did too," says junior guard Sydney Hilliard. "So, I do think we do have a little bit of a target on our back, but I think we're prepared for it."

Monroe was a bit of a surprise qualifier for the state semifinals a year ago. This year, they were expected to return. The Cheesemakers have not disappointed with a 24-2 record. 

"Now that we get to this week, hopefully, we can enjoy the week and enjoy, you know it's not such a new thing," head coach Sam Mathiason says of the approach to the week. "It's an experience maybe you can savor a little bit more because you have a little bit of an idea what's coming."

Monroe also knows quite a bit about their semifinal opponent. They'll be matched up with New Berlin Eisenhower in the Division 2 semifinals. The Cheesemakers beat the Lions 65-47 in their third game of the season. Monroe will be favored to win that semifinal, but they're not the favorites in Division 2. Defending champion Beaver Dam would be a potential opponent in the state championship. Still, Monroe approaching the tournament with the confidence of a squad that knows what to expect.

"Last year we didn't know really how far we were going to make it. This year, we're kind of like, 'Come on, we have to get to state.' Now that we're here, I think we're going to just be ready to play and used to the bright lights and the big crowds," says Hilliard.

Monroe and New Berlin Eisenhower will meet Friday at 3:15 p.m. at the Resch Center in Green Bay. All of the WIAA girls basketball state tournament games will be broadcast on WKOW.

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