PELLA -- As he watched
Colo-NESCO players and fans embrace and shed tears of joy, Brendan
Higgins remembered the first time he saw an opposing team celebrate
a trip to a basketball state tournament.
didn't like it four years ago, and it bugged him more Friday.
Higgins, an assistant coach
for Maharishi School when the boy' team lost to Danville in a
substate game in 2001, took his first girls' team to a Class 1A
regional final Friday at Pella High School, where Colo-NESCO rallied
from an eight-point, second-half deficit to defeat the Pioneers
57-53 and earn a berth in the girls' state basketball tournament
It wasn't so much that the
Royals (19-7) were celebrating, it was that the Pioneers (20-5)
could have traded places, Higgins said.
"We tasted victory and
couldn't finish it," Higgins said. "We were in the driver's seat.
But give Colo credit. They knocked down 3s when they had to and they
kept hanging in there."
The Royals advanced to the
state tournament-field despite another attention-grabbing
performance from Sofia Iwobi, who scored a game-high 33 points, 26
in the second half. The Royals had no answer for Iwobi, who scored
all but three of the Pioneers' second-half points after accounting
for just seven of the first 24. The junior also grabbed 18 rebounds,
had four steals and three assists.
For a complete story and box
score, read the Feb. 28 Fairfield Ledger.