Scrappy play and friendship carry young Bulldogs to IESA State Tournament

Regular season wins are great.

The Mahomet-Seymour Junior High seventh grade basketball team amassed a 16 wins and seven loses during the 2018 fall season.

“We started off the year with a lot of success, winning seven of our first nine games,” Coach Jimmy Lanphear said. “After that we started playing .500 basketball trading off wins and losses every other game which could be frustrating at times.”

But the young basketball team kept focused on their goal of just learning fundamentals and coming together as a team.

That work paid off in the postseason.

“We were able to come together to win our last  2 games and take that momentum into our postseason run,” Lanphear said. “In the sectional championship (against Effingham), we weren’t playing our best and found ourselves down 15 pts in the 3rd quarter. These girls stayed engaged and never gave up.”

“Fighting back from that deficit to tie it with only seconds left in the game (by successfully executing a play we had never run in a game before and had just been introduced to two days before in practice) was the highest point of our season. I could not have been more proud of them,” he continued.

The Bulldogs came back to beat Effingham 32-29 in overtime.

With a mix of teammates who has played competitive basketball prior to seventh grade and others who are playing competitive basketball for the first time this season, Lanphear said the team has battled nerves that are evident in play during the beginning of the game.

But, Lanphear pins the success this team has experienced throughout the season on the team’s heart and work ethic.

“They’re scrappy and they play hard. I also like how they have grown together as a group. They admitted to not knowing each other very well at the beginning of the year but have grown to be good friends and teammates on and off the court.”

With little time to prepare before Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. IESA game at Bolingbrook Brooks Middle School against Chatham Glenwood, Lanphear said the team will rely on what’s helped them succeed so far this season.

Our goals are simply to come out and play our best basketball: limit turnovers, make the easy shots, play good tough defense, and most importantly enjoy the moment.

“Since winning Regionals, I’ve been telling the girls that there’s no guarantee they’ll be in this position again next year, take advantage of the opportunity and enjoy it. So far they haven’t disappointed. We hope to keep the same mentality on Saturday.”

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