As Buckeye Central players filed into the interview room Friday at Wright State University’s Nutter Center after their Division IV semifinal loss to state power Maria Stein Marion Local, they wore red-streaked faces and they were still wiping away the tears.
The Buckettes, 26-3, weren’t ready for the season to come to a close Friday afternoon. But looking back, they were thankful to have the opportunity to achieve something no team has done since the 2008 season. And they became the 10th team in school history to advance to the state tournament.
“It’s definitely a great accomplishment,” senior Sammi Marcum said. “All of us are lucky to have played with this group of girls. I couldn’t picture it without these guys.”
Buckeye Central dominated along the tournament trail, dropping just one set before Friday. That was in a four-game victory over Monroeville in the district semifinals.
“Not even just regionals, but we went through the entire tournament only losing one set,” Buckettes coach Bill Bonham said heading into the state tournament. “That just tells you our game is on and the chemistry is on and they step up to every challenge. We’ve had a different level of competition every night, even in sectionals the two teams we played were two different teams. We played our game. Beating Monroeville in four was kind of expected. Beating St. Paul in three was unexpected. If you had told me we were going to beat St. Paul in three and then run the regional table in three sets and be 9-0 in the three toughest games on the way to the state tournament I’d have disagreed with you, took that bet and lost. But they’ve stepped up to every occasion this season from the very get go.”
The Buckettes will lose three seniors to graduation in Marcum, Kendra Schultz and Miranda Kintz. Schultz said making it to the state tournament was the perfect way to end the season. Juniors Brooke Karl and Maddie Williams were just as thankful for he chance to go to state with the senior class.
“I think they are extremely good leaders and I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls,” Williams said.
“They work hard everyday and they are someone to look up to,” she said. “When it comes down to crunch time we can rely on them.”