Head coach of the Lady Buffalos, Mr. Craig Johnson, traveled with his twelve varsity players to the MCSAA 2020-21 Division 3 State Basketball Finals in Joplin, Missouri on Thursday, February 18. The Lady Buffalos began the three-day finals ranked fourth; meaning, they would have to claw their way to the winner’s bracket. Thursday, the girls went up against long-time friends, Show-Me Christian Academy. The Show-Me Angels were quick, but the Lady Buffalo defense, Madison Shipp, Christian Steuck, Breann Reasoner, and Brooklynn Murray, gave the Angels a run-for-the-gold; final score; El Do 48, Show-Me 38. With the win, the Lady Buffalos advanced to a game on Friday, February 19, against long time rival, Training Center Christian Academy. Beginning with a close score in the first four minutes, the Lady Buffalos were tied 8 to 8. Daisha McNeill, her sister Deonsay, and another set of sisters, Olivia and Isabelle Bryson, with Rowan Johnson, opened up a lead in the second half that the T.C. Eagles could not close. McKenzie Cole, Nellie Dresch, and Sophia Bryson checked in and worked hard on the floor for the Buffalos. Three pointers, fast passes, and drives, set the Lady Buffalos to win the game, 48 to 25. And, with this, the ladies advanced to the winners circle. The opponent, between the Lady Buffalos and first place in Class 3 was the Minutemen from Victory Road Christian Academy. The closest game this team played, lost by an 18 point spread. A battle was ahead for the Lady Buffalos on Saturday, February 20.
Pictured, l-r, beginning in the front row is, McKenzie Cole, Rowan Johnson, Sophia Bryson, and Brooklynn Murray. Back row; Christian Steuck, Olivia Bryson, Deonsay McNeill, Madison Shipp, Isabelle Bryson, Daisha McNeill, Nellie Dresch, and Lady Buffalos Head Coach, Mr. Craig Johnson. Inserted photo is Breann Reasoner.
Before the Championship game began, Coach Craig Johnson spoke with his team; not only was he reviewing plays, calming nerves and encouraging his girls, he prayed and told them that he was, “already proud of them.” The Lady Buffalos walked on the court and began the battle they knew would be upon them. Senior, Isabelle Bryson scored, as did all of the players, and at the half, it was 17 to 16. Coming out in the third quarter, the Lady Buffalos played hard. Olivia Bryson, Deonsay McNeill, and Daisha McNeill, worked themselves into the ground…driving, shooting, moving the ball. Rowan Johnson, Madison Shipp, Brooklynn Murray, Christian Steuck played hard, rebounding, defending, shooting. It was a hard-fought game, coming within 4 points; the Lady Buffalos took the loss, 32 to 28. From the pictures, you can see that it was bittersweet; Coach Johnson’s girls, his team, each player gave 110%. What an emotional close to an amazing season.