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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MERRILL - Merrill residents might have heard a lot of music in town today.

Merrill High School hosted the Merrill Marching Invitational. Three high school marching bands took over the football field at Merrill High School Sunday.

Antigo, D.C. Everest, and Merrill high schools all showcased their musical creativity.

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MILWAUKEE - A published report says unauthorized improvements have been made to a footpath on state land that a donor to Gov. Scott Walker has been trying to buy.

A spokesman for business executive Elizabeth Uihlein acknowledged that workers at her adjoining property may have cleaned up the trail slightly.

But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1Z18WU8 ) reports those who have seen the trail say the improvements are significant.

Uihlein is seeking to buy 1.75 acres along Rest Lake, where the footpath is located. But a tentative deal with the Department of Natural Resources was put on hold after critics raised questions.

A DNR spokesman says the agency inspected the site on Thursday and found an "established trail." He declined to say whether the department had talked to Uihlein or her representatives.

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EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River hosted its 36th annual Cranberry Fest during October's first weekend.

Organizers say the weather this year brought in many more visitors.

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RHINELANDER - Harvest Hoedown started Saturday at noon at the Woodpecker Bar and Grill in Rhinelander.

The event featured a hay maze, horse-drawn carriage rides, food, and live music all afternoon.

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NEKOOSA - People in Nekoosa could go back in time this weekend.

Volunteers at Pointe Basse recreated a historical camp that portrayed the lives of people from the 1700s and early 1800s.

Volunteers from all across the U.S. had a piece of history to share.

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MERRILL - Firefighters need to be prepared to rescue people from more than just fires.

People can get trapped in tree stands, water, or a tight spot. 

Local fire departments respond to those emergencies.

Merrill's first Citizen's Fire Academy learned about these specialized rescues Thursday night.

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ACROSS WISCONSIN - Abbotsford 62, Thorp 6

Algoma 24, Sturgeon Bay 8

Almond-Bancroft 61, Tigerton/Marion 6

Amherst 56, Manawa 6

Antigo 42, Lakeland 28

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