There’s nothing like a mind-boggling, jaw-dropping, how’d-they-do-that winning streak to put the exclamation point on greatness.
It’s also a good way to capture the fancy of a sports world with a short attention span.
Two streaks with head-spinning credentials are on the line Friday, both on Wisconsin basketball courts. One will be chronicled in the national media. One will get its due in the local media but won’t draw much notice south of Neenah or west of Waupaca. Either way, it’s best you pay attention.
In Ashwaubenon Friday afternoon, the New London High School girls’ basketball team heads into the WIAA state championship semifinals against New Berlin Eisenhower with an incredible 68-game winning streak intact.
In downtown Milwaukee on Friday night, the Miami Heat struts into the BMO Harris Bradley Center riding a 20-game win streak and stirring talk of a run at the Los Angeles Lakers’ record 33-game streak set in 1971-72. It faces the Milwaukee Bucks, the very franchise that on Jan. 9, 1972, brought that Lakers’ streak to an end.
Could history repeat itself? Maybe.
Surprisingly, the Bucks have given the Heat as much trouble as any team in the NBA since LeBron James landed in South Beach. They beat the Heat by 19 in late December in Milwaukee and the Heat needed overtime to dispatch the Bucks in Miami earlier in the season.
Friday night’s game promises to be must-see TV even for casual fans who don’t know Brandon Jennings from Greg Jennings.
So, which streak is more intriguing?
In New London, it has been two years and two months since the Bulldogs have felt the agony of defeat. The roster has turned over, they’ve transitioned to a new coach and they’ve squared off against plenty of doubters. And yet the winning has continued.
Two straight state championship trophies already are in the trophy case. And if they can bring home the gold ball on Saturday, they will be only the fourth girls team in Wisconsin history (and the first in Division 2) to win three consecutive WIAA state titles.
That, to put it mildly, is impressive.
The Heat, meanwhile, is the defending NBA champion, boasts an all-star roster featuring one of the greatest players not named Jordan that we’ve ever seen and is a strong favorite to win another title this summer.
In other words, we’re watching a run that we’ll be telling our children’s children about a few years down the road.
Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual hoops observer, you’re watching history Friday.
The New London girls tip off at the Resch Center about 3:30 p.m. (shortly after the end of the Green Bay Notre Dame vs. Milton game). You can catch the action live on WACY-TV 32.
The Bucks and Heat tip off at 7:30 p.m. The game will be carried on Fox Sports Net.
If those two tantalizing winning streaks aren’t enough to lure you in, you can always tune in to the Badgers as they begin Big Ten Tournament action Friday night. Bucky’s win streak is at one game.
— Ed Berthiaume: 920-993-1000, ext. 213, or firstname.lastname@example.org; On Twitter @EdBerthiaume