BETHALTO – The Civic Memorial girls basketball team was crowned Sectional Champions Friday night when they beat the Mattoon Green Wave 74-68. It’s the third time in program history the Eagles have achieved this feat.
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However, it’s the first time for senior forward Emily Williams. She made the start for what could have been her final high school basketball game. She didn’t play a lot of minutes and was kept off the scoresheet.
While not in the game, Williams is usually standing or pacing around the bench in stress.
“I haven’t really played much the last three years, so I’m getting to be on the court and actually part of the whole adrenaline, and it’s just crazy.”
Back on Feb. 18, the Eagles played East St. Louis in another game that was decided in overtime. I remember sitting behind the bench and her saying, “I can’t sit down, it’s too stressful.” She seemed so stressed out almost to the point of tears. In the end, her team picked up the victory and she was all smiles afterward.
Fast forward to the Sectional Championships, and she was acting quite in the same way. She only watched on during OT from the bench with the other three seniors.
Kelbie Zupan scored 20 points in the game but fouled out late in the fourth quarter. Madaline Brueckner never saw the court and Claire Christeson was still sidelined with her injury.
“It was hard to watch her come out of the game because she is one of our top scorers, and she’s a big part of it. So, her not being in there at the end scared me a little bit, but it worked out,” Williams said about Zupan’s absence in OT.
So, coming down the stretch in OT all four of them sat rather helpless on the bench. It’s a good thing that juniors Aubree Wallace and Olivia Durbin combined for 10 points in OT. The Eagles outscored Mattoon 12-6 in OT and went on to the victory.
Once again, Williams and her fellow senior teammates could breathe another big sigh of relief. Once they were handed the Sectional Title everyone forgot about the game and were ready to celebrate.
Civic Memorial girls basketball team is back to business on Monday. The Eagles head to Highland High School on Monday to take on 30-4 Mahomet-Seymour in the Super-Sectional at 7 p.m.