On top of the mountain again
Lady Bulldogs claim 1st district title since 1993
It has been a long and winding road for the Wheaton girls basketball team the last four seasons.
Head Coach Jessica Lombard can hardly hold back tears as she discusses how the team won only eight games when her five starters played as freshmen.
On Saturday, the team rewarded their coach with the school’s first girls district title since 1993.
“Our senior leadership is what stood out to me,” Lombard said. “This was the third time we’ve played for a district title together, and these girls, even when things were not going our way, never got rattled or got down on themselves.”
Wheaton overcame a 27-16 first half deficit to defeat College Heights, 60-54, on Saturday in the championship of the Class 2, District 12 tourney in Webb City.
Trailing by one after the third period, Wheaton scored 11-straight points during a game-changing fourth quarter surge to pull ahead for good.
Hallie Mitchell scored 23 points to lead the Bulldogs. Rachel Lacey added 12 points. Zoie Simpson had recorded 10 points.
“To go from eight wins to 21 wins is just amazing,” Lombard said. “These girls play as a team, and I couldn’t ask any more from them.”
Wheaton (21-7) plays District 11 champion Miller (24-5) in the sectional round of the Class 2 state tournament at 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday at Carthage High School.
“Miller likes to run and shoot long shots,” Lombard said. “That makes things tough because that means long rebounds. We have to attack the paint and get to the rim.”
Lombard also thanks the community support from the Lady Bulldogs fans.
“They have been great all year and they helped us in districts,” she said. “We know they will be there Wednesday.”