MCDERMOTT – The Green Bobcats came into Wednesday night’s sectional semifinal contest with SOC I and county rival East with the chance to accomplish two goals they set at the beginning of the season.
After their 59-30 win over the Tartans, Melissa Knapp’s bunch of Bobcats checked off both those boxes in route to sectional final date with second seeded Peebles Saturday afternoon with a chance to go to the district semifinals on the line.
“We had two goals coming into the season,” said Knapp following the 29 point win. “One of them was to win ten games, this was the tenth win. Of course we don’t want to stop there. The other was to win a tournament game. This is my seventh year back and we haven’t won a tournament game since then.”
Wednesday night’s victory is the Bobcats first postseason victory since the 2008-2009 season. That postseason included a sectional final win over Ironton St. Joe 54-29, and a district semifinal loss to Valley 63-45, in what was also the school’s last sectional title.
The Bobcats first postseason win in ten years will not only pay dividends for this season, Knapp says, but also as her young team continues to grow over the course of their high school careers.
“Number one, it sends the seniors off with a tournament win, that’s going to be unbelievable. Hopefully more than one. Number two, for our freshman and sophomores, that lights a fire. That’s a special group of kids, and we’ve been down for so long, it feels good, and it should.”
Green started off on a roll in their matchup with the Tartans and continued to roll from there. After the first quarter, Green held an 18-6 lead, thanks in large parts to the Bobcats best scoring option throughout the season, freshman Kasey Kimbler.
Kimbler led the Bobcats in scoring with a game high 22 by game’s end and broke a record to go along with her game high effort. Along with making five three’s in Wednesday’s sectional game, Kimbler broke the school record for most three’s in a season.
“That’s her third record she’s broken this season,” said Knapp. “She broke the record for three’s in a game which was held by her brother, the freshman scoring record, and tonight broke the record for threes in a season. Again, it’s not about the records. But a player that special, that’s exciting for our program.”
Seven different Bobcats found the scoring column Wednesday night, six of which finished with at least five points.
East was led in scoring by sophomore Grace Smith who finished with a team high 19 points a player that Knapp was quick to praise following their conclusion of Wednesday’s game.
“She’s their playmaker, she’s what makes them go. She’s quick, and we had a hard time stopping her.”
On Saturday afternoon, the Bobcats will face another tough test in order to earn their first sectional title in ten years in a contest with second seeded Peebles of the SHAC.
“That’ll be a big test,” said Knapp in looking forward to Green’s game Saturday, “They’re a quick team, they’re great defensively, and they force a lot of turnovers. We have to take care of the basketball, we have to value every possession. For my young team, this is a good challenge, but we’re looking forward to it.”
Green: 18-9-15-17 – 59
East: 6-5-8-11 – 30
Green: 23 FG, 5 3PT (Kimbler 5), 6/10 FT. Scoring: Kimbler 22, Sweeney 10, Johnson 8, Pierson 6, Brown 6, Blevins 5, Jones 2
East: 14 FG, 0 3PT, 2/9 FT. Scoring: G. Smith 19, F. Smith 7, Rosengale 2, Hunnicutt 2
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT