Community R-VI’s coaching staff, players, and fans never forgot how last season ended when Madison stopped the Lady Trojans from winning their fourth straight district title.
Fast forward one year and the Lady Panthers were once again the team in Community R-VI’s way in the Class 1, District 10 finals. Madison also had the momentum in the match-up as they beat R-VI earlier this season.
In the postseason rematch in front of the Lady Trojans’ home crowd, this time, Community R-VI came out focused and determined to have a new result against Madison.
They jumped out to a 15-6 first quarter lead and really never looked back in a dominating 58-40 win.
“Last year was a heart-breaker for our program, and we used it as fuel for this entire year, really,” said Community R-VI head coach Bob Curtis. “I knew going into this game that my girls were ready to get redemption. You could just tell by the look in their eyes that they were not going to let this one end like it did last year. With an environment like that one…the crowd, the atmosphere, the opponent…it is easy to get sucked up into that and let your nerves get to you, but we didn’t do that. We played with poise and we were us, which is what we needed. Watching the game back from when we played Madison in their tournament, this didn’t even look like the same team that took the floor. We were hungry and we fought and grinded it out on every play, and that was great to see going into the rest of the postseason. You could just tell that the girls really wanted it and I hope to see that look in their eyes and strong, persevering attitude from here on out.”
The crowd was electric as there were 900 tickets sold and nearly 1,000 people in attendance.
“It was a pretty fun atmosphere,” Bob Curtis noted.
The Lady Trojans’ defensive pressure helped turn turnovers into points, led by the play of Natalie Thomas. Thomas scored 29 points and guarded Madison’s solid guard. Thomas also had six steals, two rebounds, and two assists.
“(Natalie) was just dynamite on both ends of the floor,” Bob Curtis said.
Community R-VI ended up leading 26-14 at halftime before outscoring the Lady Panthers 32-26 in the second half for an 18-point win.
Alissa Curtis added 12 points, seven assists, six rebounds, six steals, and one block. Dalaney Bowers drew a big second quarter charge that kept the Lady Trojans’ momentum. She finished with nine points, three rebounds, three steals, and one assist.
Delanie Windmann had two points and three rebounds; Taren Clark added two points, six assists, and one rebound; Chelsea Hoyt scored two points, one rebound, and one block; Sadie Hoyt had two points and two steals; and Morgan Bryant added one block.
After getting a first round bye, the No. 2 seeded Lady Trojans battled a tough Chamois squad in the semifinals.
The Lady Trojans led by three at the end of the first quarter before pushing forward with a nine-point lead at halftime.
Community R-VI at one time pushed their lead to 13 but Chamois didn’t go away.
Chamois cut the lead to six before the Lady Trojans held on late for a 54-46 win.
Windmann had a solid game with 13 points behind her post play after making 6-of-7 shots. She also had five rebounds.
Thomas led with 18 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists while Alissa Curtis tallied 14 points, six rebounds, five assists, three steals, and one block. Bowers added four points, two rebounds, two steals, and one assist; Clark had four rebounds; Sadie Hoyt had four assists and one rebound; and Chelsea Hoyt had three rebounds and two steals.
The Lady Trojans took on Glasgow in the state sectionals just after press time on Tuesday night in Sturgeon. With a win, they will play in the quarterfinals at 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 3 at Salisbury High School.