ST. MARYS, Kan. – The St. Marys Bears were in the middle of a Cinderella story before the state tournament was canceled. They’ll never know how it ended, but they won’t forget the run they made.
Coming into the season, the bears were hoping to parlay back to back strong years into a trip to state.
“I was expecting to come out and beat every team, coming off last year, still hungry and wanted to win,” senior Bryan Schoemann said.
But they didn’t produce early, in part due to a rigorous early schedule against a lot of bigger schools, and even when they thought they had together, it took until the very end to get it going
“Cause we thought we had things going at the midseason tournament when we played those 6a -5a teams but then after that, we fell apart again and then it took to substate for us to come together as a team and put the thing together,” senior Caden Hurla said.
But it’s not as simple as that, St. Marys entered Substate with a 10-9 record, the 6 seed out of 8. First-round, they beat 16-3 Riley County. Then they took down a 20-1 Rock Creek team, and that put them in the substate finals against another one-loss team, Royal Valley at their gym
“It was by far the most exciting game I’ve been a part of, I was in the Subsate two years ago and this was so much more intense than that one,” Hurla said.
It took two free throws in the final ten seconds, but they escape with the 3A crown.
“To actually go back and win it our senior year, it felt really good,” Schoemann said.
On to state, where they beat a haven team with only two losses in the opening round, they were ready for more, but it wasn’t meant to be. Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the rest of the state tournament was canceled.
“I was sitting in my room and I saw state was canceled and it hit pretty hard,” Hurla said.
But when you’re a team that’s playing with house money, there are positives to take away.
“Memories on the court last forever,” Schoemann said.
And these won’t be forgotten anytime soon.