Fourth-quarter run propels Thayer to its first-ever state championship

Springfield, Mo. — Thayer made a little history in Saturday’s Class 2 title game.

The Lady Bobcats ran away from Mid-Buchanan in the fourth quarter with a 14-0 run.

The 52-35 victory also netted the program its first-ever state championship.

Angela Sorrell finished with a game-high 16 points to lead Thayer.

The senior forward was forced to carry the load for much of the second half with teammate Julie Stone on the bench in foul trouble.

Stone, who finished with 14 points, picked up her fourth foul with 5:29 remaining in the third period. She would sit for nearly ten minutes.

While the play turned sloppy at times, Thayer was able to push forward and extend its lead to double digits during Stone’s time on the bench.

The senior guard talked about staying positive and encouraging teammates to do the same.

“I didn’t want them to get down, because I knew once that happened, that it wouldn’t be good,” Stone said. “It was really stressful being on the sideline. I wanted to be out there, but they pushed through, and I’m so happy.”

With Stone out, Thayer turned to Sorrell and Shelby Coursey to carry the scoring load.

The duo delivered in spades, combining for 11 points during a stretch that spearheaded Thayer’s final runaway scoring barrage.

Thayer head coach Cecil Meyer praised his team for overcoming adversity.

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“Julie made it a little harder than we had to — getting that fourth foul,” Meyer said. “But we had some kids come in and do some big things there when she did.”

Meyer was also quick to credit Thayer’s defensive effort throughout the contest despite some sloppy play at both ends.

“Those possessions were not real pretty,” Meyer said. “And, of course, we were still doing it on the defensive end — we weren’t giving up. If [Mid-Buchanan] didn’t get a layup off a steal or something, it was pretty hard to get a basket.”

After the game, Meyer talked about the impact a state title could have on the Lady Bobcats’ program moving forward.

“It’s something that we’ve wanted since I’ve got here,” Meyer said. “It’s something I’ve talked to them about, and I think, for the program, it’ll be huge. These younger kids — I can talk to them about the experience, and I can tell them how much I want to them to experience it, but until they actually experience it, there’s no way they could tell what this feeling was going to be like.”

Thayer finished its championship season with a 30-3 record and, in the process, sent its two seniors — Stone and Sorrell — out in style.

Asked about her career, Stone reflected on a goal she and teammates were able to fulfill.

“When coach got here, he always talked about putting pride back into the program,” Stone said. “So that was our ultimate goal, and I think in the past three years we’ve really achieved that. It’s so amazing.”

Sorrell was asked about a particular moment in front of the bench where she and a teammate appeared to be examining hands at the end of the game.

“We were talking before the game about what finger we wanted our ring on,” Sorrell said. “ And we were trying to figure out which one — which finger it was.”

Class 2 championship final: Thayer – 52, Mid-Buchanan – 35

Mid-Buchanan 09 07 08 11 — 35
Thayer 11 12 12 17 — 52

Mid-Buchanan scoring: Kelsey Stout – 12, Brylee Kemper – 7, Jaele Barber 5, Gracie Livengood – 5, Cali Bailey – 4, Kayleigh Huss – 2

Thayer scoring: Julie Stone – 16, Angela Sorrell – 14, Shelby Coursey – 12, Madyson Kerley – 5, Avery Pierce – 3, Jurnee Rolen – 2