SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Every playoff basketball game is the final basketball game for one team.
On Saturday, there was an exception to the rule.
“We just told our guys, you have no idea what tomorrow holds and you have no idea how many more opportunities you have,” Kickapoo head basketball coach Mitch McHenry said.
That was the message before Kickapoo played Rock Bridge in Saturday’s state quarterfinals.
What would be the final game for the Chiefs this season. It was also the final game for seven seniors.
“Our last memory of this year is going into the locker room this year and celebrating a quarterfinal win against Rock Bridge,” McHenry said. “That is something we talked about this morning, it’s something we can be appreciative of and that we finished the year on a win. Not many people can say that.”
The Chiefs made it to the semifinals winners of 11 of the past 12 games and feeling they could play with anyone.
“Yeah, there is three really good teams left, but you are so close and you just want the game of basketball to determine if you are a champion or not,” McHenry said.
But this season it won’t decide a champion.
“We are facing things right now that there is really no blueprint for. They are unprecedented and our kids, and us as coaches, are going to have this memory for the rest of our lives,” McHenry said. “What’s done is done. We have no control over it, so it stings, it hurts, but we have a lot to be appreciative of to.”
The MSHSAA has said it will send out trophies and medals for those that won’t get to play the semifinals.
“We are very appreciative and whatever happens I know MSHSAA will do what is deserving for the teams that are still left,” McHenry said.
A one-of-a-kind trophy for an unparalleled end of the season.