Few things are as sweet as a ‘repeat’ in sports. It doesn’t happen often in high school basketball around the Stateline, but the Byron Lady Tigers could make it happen this weekend.
The Tigers clinched their repeat trip to Normal and Redbird Arena for the 2A State Tournament Monday night when they won the Macomb Super-Sectional by beating Sherrard.
“It was kind of a surreal experience,” says Byron Senior Bailey Burrows. “I was thinking at the Sherrard game, ‘Wow we’re going again this year!”
“I don’t think the excitement has diminiished. It’s always exciting to get to go down to Bloomington because only four teams get to do it,” says senior guard Lexi Devries.
Byron reigned over class 2A last year winning two games at Redbird Arena and the big trophy. If the Lady Tigers can duplicate that they’ll be in rare company. Only two Stateline schools have pulled off back-to-back championships in basketball the Rockford West boys in 1955 and ’56, and the Sophie Brunner led Aquin Bulldogs in 2012 and ’13.
These girls know exactly what to expect when they get back to Normal.
“It’s definitely going to be nice having experience playing on that court under those bright lights,” says Byron senior Sarah Hopkins.
“It’s fun when you get down there. It’s an awesome environment!,” says Burrows.
“We knew we made history last year by winning because no team has done that around here, but to get two that would just be awesome!,” says Devries.
“Now that we’re back we’re going to do everything we can to have that repeat title!,” says Hopkins.
“I think the tough part is over with,” says Byron coach Eric Yerly. “We had so much pressure on us to get back to state. A lot of kids put in a lot of time and so do a lot of coaches and never get an opportunity to play at Redbird and these guys are going to end up doing it twice. I’m just excited for them.”
Byron will play Camp Point Central in the 2A State Semifinal Friday at 5:30 p.m. The game will be shown live on Rockford’s MyNetwork TV (Channel 17.2 over-the-air, Comcast Cable Channel 16).