BELOIT, Ohio (WKBN) – Four months ago, the start of the season didn’t exactly go according to plan for the West Branch girls basketball team.
“You know, we lost the very first game of the season,” said head coach Walt DeShields. “I think it was kind of, ‘Where are we at right here?’ Good Canfield team, got beat first game out of the gate and we had to get in the gym and work harder, and get in the gym and get focused.”
That 0 and 1 start seems like an eternity ago for the Warriors. Since then, they have rolled off 24 wins in 26 games as they get set for a state semifinal matchup Wednesday.
“They really made a goal to go undefeated in the EBC and they did,” DeShields said. “That shows a sign of toughness because on the road in our league is tough sometimes. A lot of good teams and to go 12-0 in the league was a big confidence booster for them.”
The West Branch girls have been the highlight so far of the winter sports success for Warrior fans.
In addition to the girls’ success, the boys won their first outright conference title since 1991, West Branch’s Jamyson Robb won a state title in the Division II swim meet, and wrestlers Gage Bickley and Kenny Marra will look for state wrestling championships this weekend.
“It has been so surreal,” said senior Madison Showalter. “We have had so much success in every sport and it has been great to experience that during our senior year.”
“It is definitely at an all-time high,” senior guard Carly Scarpitti said. “The pride that we have and the energy — even in the hallways, everyone just seems a little more excited about it. It is crazy all the things that have happened.”
That energy might have gotten over-the-top Monday when the school district announced class will not be in session Thursday so students can make the trip to Columbus.
“I’ve definitely gotten a lot of thank yous in the hallways for getting us off of school Thursday,” Scarpitti said.
“It is crazy because I know we are going to have so much energy down in Columbus, and the community has followed us everywhere and they are so supportive of us. It is amazing,” Showalter said.
West Branch will face Dayton Carroll on Thursday in Columbus. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.