The first round of state for the Central High School boys basketball team will be a familiar foe.
On Jan. 14, the Red Raiders (24-2) throttled Waunakee (24-2) 75-54 in the Midwest Classic at the La Crosse Center.
At 1:35 p.m. Friday, the two teams rematch in the Division 2 state semifinal at the Kohl Center - a second consecutive trip to the state tournament for both teams.
Central senior Mitchell Lash isn't reading too much into the first meeting with Waunakee, which lost to Kaukauna in last year's state title game 91-62.
"We started out fast and we were playing our A game, and they might not have been hitting shots, as well," Lash said. "But coming up, we're going to take it as a new game and come out there and battle each other."
To get to state, the Red Raiders downed Wausau East 92-54, getting 41 points from University of Wisconsin signee Kobe King.
"At the end of the day, it's just a game," King said of getting back to state, where Central lost 72-45 to Kaukauna in the semis. "I'm just glad we have another chance at it with my brothers and seven seniors.
"We all want to win a gold ball but, again, at the end of the day it's just a game and it's all about the memories."
Lash says being down at Madison last year and playing in front of big crowds all year will help the Red Raiders keep their composure.
The 1,200 tickets for Central fans sold out in one hour for the semifinal matchup. The last two games have also been sold out.
Central senior Almann Brague says their fan support has been phenomenal.
"I think we have the best fans in the state," he said. "They always come and support us no matter where we are."
Mike Kearns will be on the call. Listen on WKTY 96.7 FM or 580 AM.