For the first time since the 2005-2006 season, the Drexel girls captured the Class 1, District 7 trophy.
But to clinch that win, the Bobcats had to defeat Montrose, the five-time reigning district champion, 45-35, in the title game Feb. 23 at Drexel.
“I’m really excited,” Drexel senior Jacklynn Williams said. “This is a dream come true for me. Montrose has been good for the past five years, for forever. I never thought we would win, ever in my life.”
To get there, Drexel defeated Northeast Vernon County 74-31 in the semifinals Feb. 20 at Ballard 73-13 in the first round Feb. 19.
In the first quarter, the Bobcats started off with an 8-4 advantage and fought to a 20-11 halftime lead.
“(The key was) stopping their outside shooting,” Drexel freshman Jacy Bolton said. “Even though they still shot, they had a lot of white line shots and made them. It was probably that and rebounding. Second chance shots and blocked shots and not allowing them too shoot again.”
In the third quarter, after a basket from Williams, Montrose sunk a three-pointer. Drexel responded with a shot from Bolton and two free throws from sophomore Lauryn Campbell to make the score 26-14.
Later in the quarter, with Drexel ahead at 28-19, junior Adison Barnhart hit a three-pointer and a shot to push the Bobcats ahead at 33-19. Drexel led 37-25 going into the final eight minutes of play.
Montrose started out the fourth quarter with a 5-0 run, but the Bobcats responded with a basket by Campbell and a free throw from sophomore Jenna Bartholomew. After a three-pointer from the Blue Jays, Barnhart hit a shot and Bolton sunk a free throw to make the score 43-33.
The Blue Jays put in two free throws but Bolton hit a shot to make the final score 45-35.
Drexel considers Montrose a big rival during district season and is happy to finally get past them.
“We never play them during the season, but I’m always thinking I want to beat Montrose so bad,” Williams said, the lone senior on her team. “They said they did it for me. This one is for all of us. We worked really hard throughout the whole year.”
The Bobcats were led in scoring by Bolton with 17 points and Campbell with 13 points. Barnhart had nine points, Bartholomew added four points and Williams had two points.
“We are going to state,” Williams said. “We won districts, so we might as well go all the way.”