Chadwick's Kerrigan Guerin still isn’t used to her feeling the Lady Cardinals were slighted in favor of Walnut Grove in the Missouri State Basketball Coaches Association’s Class 1 Poll in early February.
“We were ranked one time this season and we were ranked 10th," Guerin said. 'We lost (56-52 to 26-3 Class 4 Doniphan) and they put Walnut Grove ahead of us and we had already beat them.”
Turned out she didn’t know half of it.
Guerin wasn’t aware a Walnut Grove player is among the handful of players gracing the cover of the Missouri State High Schools Activities Association’s State Basketball Championships Classes 1-3 handbook. The five players are also shown on the Great Southern Bank Arena scoreboard during breaks in the action.
A Strafford player is also among those pictured.
Walnut Grove and Strafford, of course, are not in this season’s Final Four.
Chadwick players and coaches are reveling in their role as an underappreciated underdog entering the Lady Cardinals’ matchup in the Class 1 championship game today against Meadville.
“We want to stay underdogs,” Guerin said. “Here we are underdogs going to the state championship game.”
“(We’re) not even supposed to be in this game according to the polls,” Chadwick coach Shawn Guerin said. “Sometimes, underdogs prevail.”
Meadville (30-0) was ranked No. 1 in the final regular-season MBCA Poll. Platte Valley, which fell to Chadwick on Thursday, was ranked No. 4 and Leeton, also a semifinalist, was ranked No. 6.
Chadwick (25-5) was among the teams receiving votes.
“Personally, I took it as, 'Why don't they see us?' and 'Why aren't we getting the recognition we deserve?’” Chadwick senior guard Cora Michael said. “Shawn has told us that it doesn't matter and to use it to fuel our energy and excitement and show them who we actually are and what we can do.”
Chadwick owns wins against six teams with 20 wins or more, including a 57-44 whipping of Walnut Grove. The Lady Cards beat Delta, last year’s state runner-up, in the Quarterfinal round.
The Lady Cardinals are as proud of some of their losses as some of their wins. They have not lost to a Class 1 team this season.
The five teams — Mansfield, Diamond, Licking, Marshfield and Doniphan — to beat Chadwick all won 20 games or more.
“We didn't have the schedule last year we had this year,” Kerrigan Guerin said. “Last year, we ran through everybody. This year, we were playing Class 3, Class 4 and Class 5 (teams). All of our losses came against Class 3 teams and up. We're going to the State championship game because of those games.”
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