For 93 years, a second state boys basketball championship has eluded La Crosse Central.
But behind seven seniors, one of the most successful chapters in program history could soon have its happy ending.
With a school-record 24 wins already in the book this season, the Red Raiders are now just two wins away from the 2017 WIAA State Boys Basketball Division 2 championship. Central faces Waunakee at 1:35 p.m. at the Kohl Center.
"It's something we've dreamed about since we were kids," senior Kobe King said. "I'm glad we get another chance to do it this year."
Central advanced to state for the first time in 30 years in 2016, but was blown out by eventual champion Kaukauna in the semifinals.
The seniors used that loss as motivation for this season, which has resulted in a 24-2 record, a third Mississippi Valley Conference title in four years, and a second straight sectional title.
"We just took it one game at a time, just wanted to get a win each and every night," said Bailey Kale, who keeps a picture of last year's loss as his phone background. "I think our practice habits are the reason why we're playing as well as we are and we're in this position two years in a row."
Todd Fergot, in his 13th season as head coach, has instilled a mindset of trying to improve to 1-0 each night. He also knows his opportunities to do so with his seniors are nearly finished.
"I wish everybody had the chance to get to know them like we as coaches do. We know our time together here is short, we want to make sure we enjoy every day and every minute together the rest of the way here."
Whether or not Central finally breaks through for its first title since 1925, this year's seniors can hold their heads high knowing they have accomplished a lot in their short time. They brought Central back to the state tournament floor for the first time in 30 years, they set a school record for most wins by a class (84 and counting) and have set a new standard of success for the next generation of Red Raiders.