Strong’s basketball girls enjoyed a fast finish to the regular season, winning four of their last five games to claim second place in the 1A 8 conference. The Lady Bucks will be the No. 2 seed in the district tournament, which will be held at Nevada.
Strong, with a record of 15-7, including 10-4 in league play, will have a bye to the tournament semifinals and will play on Thursday at 4 p.m.
“I have seen a lot of growth in my girls this season,” said Strong coach Melinda Champion. “They have moved from a 7-9 overall record and 6-6 conference record last year to 15-7 and 10-4 this year. I am so proud of the way that they have stepped up and played and ended up being the runner-up in the conference. I am so happy for them because in their high school career, this is the first time that their standing has been this good. I could not have asked for a better season with these young ladies.”
The Lady Bulldogs are on the same side of the bracket as No. 3 seeded Hermitage. The two teams split their regular-season games. The Lady Hermits won 57-52 on Jan. 5 with Strong claiming a 59-36 win on Jan. 26.
The Lady Hermits will have to play the Dermott/Hampton winner before they get to Strong.
“I have not put much thought into the match-up with the next team we will be playing in the district tournament,” Champion said. “Whoever we play, I know that it is going to be a different match-up, because everyone is playing on a different level now. Just because you beat a team during the regular season does not mean the same thing will happen during the tournament. I just want my girls to go out there and play hard so that we can get to the championship game.”
Champion said she planned to move up four ninth graders to the team and hopes to get them playing time in the tournament.
As for the postseason, the Lady Bulldogs have enjoyed a winning season and hope to keep it going as long as possible.
“I am really going to miss this group of young ladies when they graduate,” said Champion. “I wish I could keep them for at least one more year.”