Teams gave us plenty to cheer this year

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

From collegiate giant Mizzou to small-town wonder Bell City, basketball teams demanded our attention this season.

At the high school level, there were the Notre Dame girls. This year, they toppled last year's nemesis, Stockton, on their way to taking the Class 2A championship. They became the first girls team from Notre Dame to win a state championship in any sport.

And there were the Bell City boys. It has been 21 years since the school's last trip to the final four. This year a baby-faced coach managed to lead his young team to the first state championship in school history, pounding opponent Santa Fe 88-68.

Southern Illinois University fans watched their team's Cinderella story unfold on television as the Salukis overcame virtually impossible odds to advance to the Sweet 16.

And Missouri made it all the way to the Elite Eight, their supporters becoming more ecstatic with each win.

Congratulations to all the coaches and players who took local fans on a wild, but delightful, ride.

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