Basketball fans and downtown La Crosse businesses feeling excitement of WIAA State Basketball Tournament

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – The WIAA Girls State Basketball Tournament is taking place right now at the La Crosse Center.

Bangor fans have been waiting for a long year to be in this environment.

“Super proud of them because they work their butts off and all while doing it in masks. I mean, I can’t do a push-up,” Bangor fan Shayla Butz said.

“All I wanted for them was to get the opportunity that they got ripped away from them last year,” Bangor fan Amanda Tucker said.

In 2020, COVID shut down the opportunity for the Bangor girls team to win a state title.

This year, these girls aren’t taking the tournament for granted.

“Just cherish every moment,” Bangor senior Megan Miedema said. “I mean, it’s my last game with all my girls. But we just have to go out there, and have fun and play hard.”

And of course, the out-of-town people have to see the girls shoot some hoops.

“This is a great area,” Mishicot fan Mike Schmidt said. “It’s great that they were able to find a venue like this. I think it’s fantastic.”

“I’ve heard that there’s some beautiful bluffs to see,” Mishicot fan Clarissa McArdle said. “So I’m looking forward to going there. And I’m looking forward to seeing Mishicot bring home a gold ball from La Crosse.”

Hundreds of visitors and tourists is a welcome shot in the arm for downtown businesses.

“There’s a sense of optimism that is starting to permeate throughout the community,” Downtown Mainstreet executive director Terry Bauer said.

Some restaurants are even making some new cocktail specials available.

“I think every retailer and restaurant is prepared for the WIAA fans this weekend,” Bauer said. “We’re really glad to have them here in town. We want to put our best foot forward.”

And these fans, local or out of town, are glad to be here, too.

The La Crosse Center is hosting about 1,000 fans for both the girls and boys state basketball tournaments.

The boys will take the court next weekend.