By Bryan Bloodworth
El Paso-Gridley High School's girls basketball team enters this year’s Class 2A state tournament series with the goal of cleaning up some unfinished business.
The Titans entered last year’s tournament play with a glossy 28-0 record, but were upset by Eureka in the first game of the sectional.
That loss has been the driving force behind the 24-1 record and No. 5 state ranking the Titans take into this year's regional, which begins tonight at El Paso.
“Our girls know they have some unfinished business,” said El Paso-Gridley coach Kyle Bobbitt “They are dreaming big and want to go as far as they can.”
To get through the regional, the Titans will likely need to defeatt Eureka and Tremont.
It was Eureka that ended the Titans’ season a year ago in the sectional.
“Our one slip last year was against Eureka,” added Bobbitt. “Eureka has been the team the past two years that has given us our first loss.”
And El Paso-Gridley has been tested by Tremont the last few weeks.
The Comets defeated the Turks, 46-42, in the championship game of the McLean County Tournament two weeks ago. That was followed by a 60-54 victory in the regular season finale last week that gave El Paso-Gridley its third straight Heart of Illinois Conference title.
“It’s always tough to play someone over and over again, especially three times,” Bobbitt said. “But we have four seniors and a very, very experienced group of players who understand the situation.
“They will be ready to play every game. They know it will be a dog fight, but we have a group of seniors who refuse to lose.”
Tremont is the No. 2 seed in the El Paso Regional followed by Fieldcrest, Eureka, Deer Creek-Mackinaw and Olympia.
In another Class 2A regional involving Heart of Illinois teams, Tri-Valley is seeded fourth and GCMS sixth at Tolono Unity.
In Class 1A, LeRoy is the No. 1 seed at Heyworth followed by the host school, Ridgeview, Lexington, Cornerstone Christian and Calvary Baptist.
Heart of Illinois schools Fisher and Blue Ridge are seeded first and third at the Farmer City Regional.
Class 3A and 4A regionals begin next week.
Bryan Bloodworth can be reached at email@example.com.