Tournament time exciting, bittersweet
The regional tournaments are in full force for Class 1A and 2A girls' basketball teams. Throughout the area -- and throughout the state -- schools are viewing the postseason as a second chance for success or to make a statement about how much they've improved.
On one hand, it's great to see the underdog or unheralded teams shine in the tournament. It's further proof that on that proverbial given day, most teams can be beaten. It's a testament that hard work -- quite often -- does pay dividends.
It was great to see the excitement from the Judah Christian players on Wednesday after the Tribe had upended top-seeded LeRoy in a semifinal game. Alyssa Chambers, the team's lone senior, was so choked up with emotion she could hardly speak. The win was a significant step for a program which never before has played for a regional championship in girls' basketball.
For every winner, however, there is a loser and when the outcome is unexpected it puts a damper on what was otherwise an outstanding season. LeRoy, for example, had earned the top ranking at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley from the coaches competing at that site based on its body of work for the entire season.
The Panthers had a good year, but that doesn't always translate into having good games at the particular time they are needed. While Judah Christian celebrated, LeRoy could only be gracious in defeat.
We know it's a cliche, but we hope that one game won't alter the feelings of the players, the coaches and the fans at the school on what was otherwise one of the best seasons in recent memory. There's a lot to be proud about, not just at Judah Christian, but also at LeRoy.
And for that matter, at other locations where the top-seeded team was unable to advance into the championship game.