The Rich Basketball History of Madison La Follette High School

Josepha Da Costa, age 16

The rich history of La Follette Basketball began in 1977. They finished 4th in the Big Eight conference that year. While the team finished the regular season with an overall record of 17 wins and 8 losses, they managed only 10 wins against 8 losses during the conference season. 

Nonetheless, the Lancers made an electrifying for a run for a state title. Coached by Pete Olsen, they advanced to the finals by beating Milwaukee Tech 55-48 and Neenah 46-43. The state championship game was played against a team that had been to the finals 15 times since the last time a Madison high school made a trip to state. 

Eau Claire Memorial came into the game with a record of 23 wins and 2 losses. A lot of pressure. But the Lancers stayed calm and collected, sinking 63.6% of their shots. In the end, La Follette took home the trophy, beating the tough competition 65-48.

In 1982, the Lancers took home another state championship trophy. With one of the best players in the state at the time, Rick Olsen, the team beat Stoughton in a close regional game, 64-62. Then, behind throughout most of the game, the Lancers suddenly rallied to beat Madison West, sending the Lancers to sectionals. There they beat conference foe Sun Prairie to advance to state.