This past weekend the Illinois Girls 2A High School State Basketball Championships were held in Bloomington, Illinois on the Illinois State University campus. Four games were played over two days and a champion was crowned on Saturday night. This year that championship went to St. Thomas More High School from Champaign, Illinois.
Championships are great fun. They last a lifetime and the friends you make along the way remain your friends forever. There’s nothing quite like being 15 years old and having an entire community proclaim you and your teammates as the best. The memories are yours for the rest of your life. During the heat of competition the champions dared to be bold. And for their daring enthusiasm they are allowed passage into the path of history. Sports are such a neat thing. Congratulations to STM!
The two games I attended were actually fun to watch. The semifinal game was moving along according to plan until the dreaded fouls reared their ugly head at the start of the second half. It was at this point that the best player on the floor took over the game. She called her own number for a one on one dribble drive move down the left side of the lane and scored. The next play was designed for her to shoot a three point shot. She took the three point shot and nailed it! In the blink of an eye a close three-point game grew to an eight-point gap. And from that point the entire Saber Nation coasted into the championship game.
When the actual championship was up for grabs, one player stepped up and said I will make a difference. She made a bold statement, if only to herself. She made a bold promise to her teammates and her community. She topped off the evening with a bold performance at the most crucial time of the competition. And that my friends, is how championships are won!
The championship game was really anti-climatic. The score after the first quarter was 26- 6. There was no question about who was going to win this game because the STM players had taken care of business. It really was a clinic.
This game held a personal interest for me, as the coach of the St. Thomas More team is one of my former assistant coaches and someone I consider a good friend. It was heartwarming to watch him coach and to see his team perform so well on the big stage. Chris Mennig is a young man that has worked very hard to get where he is today and it was a pleasure and a privilege to be able to enjoy his success. I know the next 365 days will very gratifying for him. Congratulations Coach Mennig!
“THE CHALLENGE DOES NOT COME IN WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP, IT COMES IN DEFENDING THE CHAMPIONSHIP”