COLUMBUS — South Gallia and River Valley students made a special trip to Columbus Friday evening for the NCAA Women’s Basketball tournament final game. Both teams made the trip to witness the occasion, a first time for the city of Columbus as well.
Both the lady Rebels and Raiders were able to go to the final four, an exercise in team building and witnessing players at the next level of the game. Erin Evans, a South Gallia Senior, is grateful for the experience.
“I’ve never felt closer to my team than I did at the final four games, although this was my senior year, tonight made a difference to our team. I didn’t think we could get any closer than we were during our 17-18 season, we fought through blood sweat and tears together, but tonight watching these games, we saw togetherness and perseverance that can lead into an outcome that you’ve been working for,” said Evans. “This wasn’t just a fun trip for us, it was a learning experience and I’m glad that we were able to be a part of this.”
The final four hosted all four number one seeds from the tournament, with two overtime games making for an exciting night of basketball. One River Valley junior would do it all over again to see the final four.
“I am so grateful to have gotten the opportunity to go the NCAA women’s final four, It was awesome to share this experience with not only my teammates but also our Gallia County rival, South Gallia Lady Rebels,” said RV Junior Beth Gillman. “I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say that I would like to thank everyone that made this trip possible.”
River Valley’s women’s basketball coach Stephen Roderick explained the benefits of this trip for his players. According to Roderick, the sheer awe and the environment they were in fostered team bonding and an appreciation of the game and hard work.
“I got a lot of enjoyment just seeing the looks on some of the players faces as we walked and took in the atmosphere and environment. I think it will be a night everyone will remember and a great team experience, said Roderick. “These trips and bonding activities really help team chemistry a lot, and sometimes can be a real difference for a team when going through a season.”
When regarding the event as a whole and the benefit to students, South Gallia Coach Corey Small explained how important the night was.
“Getting the opportunity to go to the Women’s Final Four is a once in a lifetime experience for these girls, myself, and the rest of this coaching staff. Not only did we have the privilege of watching two great games, but we met Hall of Famer Katie Smith who allowed us to chat and take plenty of pictures. Moments like these are what make you proud not only to be a Rebel, but a member of Gallia County Local Schools,” said Small.
As far as the games themselves went, there was plenty of action. According to some of those who witnessed the game in person, it was arguably the best women’s final four of all time. Despite the action on the court, the Raiders and Rebels are eager to get back onto the courts themselves.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.