Badgers Final Four run could help Wisconsin high school basektballSubmitted: 04/07/2014
Story By Joe Dufek

- Oh so close. The Wisconsin Badgers finished just short of playing in the national championship game on Monday night.

Wisconsin fell to Kentucky Saturday night 74-73.

Wisconsin's improbable run to the Final Four is over.

But it was a great season for not only the Badgers, but the fans too.

The biggest beneficiary could be high school basketball in the Northwoods and state-wide.

"When we talk about a high school team goes far in the playoffs - it gets all those little boys shooting, dribbling, and aspiring to greatness," Lakeland coach Rich Fortier explains. "It think watching (Wisconsin Head Coach) Bo (Ryan) do this, it helps in recruiting. It gets boys out playing basketball. It gets us thinking about basketball for another week and maybe longer."

Brad Soderberg was an assistant with the Badgers during their 2000 Final Four run. His brother Kurt is the boys coach at Merrill. The Soderbergs are from Stevens Point.

"I think what is the point of Bo Ryan's teams is they don't beat themselves," Soderberg adds. "Once the nerves become an issue playing in bigger stadiums and tougher competition - the first thing you have to overcome is foolish mistakes. I don't think Bo Ryan's teams beat themselves. That's why they were on such a roll."

A dozen of the 16 players on the Badgers roster were from the Midwest. Six played high school basketball in Wisconsin.

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