The Scott County County Central girls basketball team finally found a way to get through rival Delta in the sectional round, and now the Bravettes have a chance to regain some of their program's former glory when they hit the West Plains Civic Center floor today for a Class 1 quarterfinal game.
The Bravettes will face Walnut Grove at 2:45 p.m. today.
After dropping three regular season games to the state's top-ranked Class 1 team, Scott County jumped on previously unbeaten Delta from the start Wednesday and held on for the win. Scott County had lost two straight sectional games to Delta and last made the quarterfinals in 2004.
"This is what we've been waiting for all year," Scott County coach Semona Penrod said.
Scott County has not made the state final four since 1995. The Bravettes are one of the winningest girls programs in the state with seven state titles and 13 final four appearances. Scott County is tied for the most state titles and has the most final four appearances.
The Bravettes have a deep, balanced group led by four-year starter Brittney Peet, a guard who uses her quickness in transition and with dribble penetration.
Samantha Jones and Brianna Johnson also are among the team's top scorers.
"I think this time, going into the [quarterfinal] game, we have a lot more balanced team at this point so it should be a different game," Penrod said.
Scott County's balance showed Wednesday, with five players scoring five or more points. Jamisha Williams had all five of her points at the start of the fourth quarter, and freshman Markita Mosley had six points, including two free throws in the final minute to secure the win.
"So many kids have really stepped up," Penrod said.
In the Class 1 boys quarterfinal, Bell City is back at West Plains seeking a fourth straight berth in the final four. The Cubs will face Billings at 1 p.m. today.
Bell City nearly gave up an 18-point fourth-quarter lead to rival Scott County Central on Tuesday, but the Cubs held on to knock off the Braves for the fourth straight year in the sectional round. The Cubs have won 22 straight games heading into today's game.
The Cubs are ranked No. 3 in Class 1 and coming off a runner-up finish from last season.
"Quarterfinals of the state tournament, you don't take anyone lightly," Bell City coach Brian Brandtner said. "Last year we had a Verona team people said we'd beat by 30 points and they could have easily won the game. We know we always have to bring our 'A' game."
In Class 3, Kelly ended its sectional drought against Doniphan with a win Wednesday in Poplar Bluff. The Hawks will face defending Class 2 state champion St. Louis Metro in the quarterfinals at the Farmington Civic Center.
Kelly's last appearance in the state final four was 1992. The Hawks have never won a state title.
Metro has been to the final four each of the past three seasons, making the championship game all three years.