A senior class that has won 80 games in a three year span would normally be the best in school history.
Northside just isn’t your normal girls basketball program.
The Lady Bears are 80-9 over the past three seasons and their seniors are two wins away from capping their careers in style.
“They’ve played a ton of big basketball games,” Northside coach Rickey Smith said. “We’ve played top 10 national teams. We’ve been in Missouri tournaments, Oklahoma tournaments, been in two state championship games. Our kids have played a tremendous amount of basketball.”
This year’s senior class is among the top three classes in career wins at Northside.
Northside won the 7A title last season after losing to Cabot in the finals two years ago. Though the Lady Bears are just four quarters away from a third straight championship game appearance, they aren’t looking too far ahead.
“Just taking it one step at a time, game by game,” senior Olivia Hanson said. “Keeping every one focused.”
“I think we’ve got a good chance to win,” senior Brianna Jackson said. “Every game is an important game so we’re just going to take it one game at a time.”
Hanson, Jackson and Jill Myers have been mainstays in the starting lineup over the past three seasons. With so much experience on the roster, chemistry is an obvious asset.
“People understand the chemistry that we have so they try to key on all of us but if one person doesn’t get open, then we’ll find a way to get open,” Myers said.
“It’s going to be difficult especially knowing we’ve got the bulls eye on our back but that’s what you prepare for all year,” Smith said. “The tradition of our program, we’ve been there a few times. Our kids are excited and we’re ready to go.”
There’s always a big gap between the teams that want to reach a title game and those who expect to be playing for championships. Considering Northside has been in the finals nine times in the past 15 seasons, it’s easy to see what category the Lady Bears are in.
“We know what it takes to win,” Jackson said. “I love playing with those girls and I just know we are a senior laden team and I believe we have a shot to win.”