By Michael Smith (Special to OzarksSportsZone.com)
BLUE SPRINGS – Macie Mays and Reese Schaaf were in elementary school when it happened.
Both were in the stands watching their sisters – Alexa Schaaf, Kameron Schaaf and Madison Mays of the El Dorado Springs girls basketball team defeat Cameron 57-52 in the 2014 Class 3 state quarterfinals to advance to the final four.
Fast forward eight years later, Macie, Reese along with freshman guard Neely Schaaf are the ones donning the red and white Bulldog uniforms as they got a chance to repeat what their sister did in the Class 3 quarterfinals against East Buchanan Saturday at Blue Springs High School.
This time, their older sisters watched them advance to the Class 3 final four following a 55-24 drubbing of East Buchanan.
“It’s really special. It’s really surreal,” Macie said of repeating the same feat her sister did. “When we were little girls, we wanted that to be us when we were watching them (make the final four). Just to be here and make the final four is a dream come true.”
The chemistry between Macie and Reece was evident throughout as both were effective at dishing out assists, getting rebounds and scoring. The duo combined for 43 of El Dorado’s 55 points with Macie leading the way with 23.
“Being able to play together when we were younger and coming up together has definitely built a strong chemistry,” Reese said of playing with Macie. “That has led to big moments like this.”
Both of them got to the basket at will and there were a few occasions where Macie was able to put in shots at the rim while being defended by East Buchanan’s 6-foot-1 center Gracie Kelsey. Not only that, both were hitting mid-range shots and 3-pointers with such consistency, East Buchanan couldn’t find an answer on defense.
Macie and Reese combined for all 21 points for El Do in the first quarter as it took a 21-11 lead. Reese then took over in the second period, scoring nine of the team’s 13 second quarter points as the Bulldogs went into the break up 34-20.
El Dorado Springs then clamped down on defense in the second half. Kelsey carried the East Buchanan offense in the first half with 13 of her team’s 20 points, but the El Do defense swarmed her with two or three defenders any time she caught the ball in the second half. East Buchanan was limited to just four second-half points while it missed all 11 of its field goal attempts and committed eight turnovers.
“We talked about an adjustment at halftime and the girls came out and were able to get it done,” longtime El Do coach Beau Swopes said. “Hats off for the girls for being able to adjust quickly and on the fly and playing a defense we haven’t really played.”
The No. 1-ranked Bulldogs advanced to the Class 3 state semifinals where they will play the winner of Licking and Strafford at 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 10 at JHQ Arena in Springfield.
“When we first went to the final four I was happy because I always wanted to go,” Swopes said. “Then as you get older you realize it’s for the kids. I am happy for this group of kids because we had pictures of them in the stands last time we went when they were cheering us on. Now they are getting an opportunity to go to the final four.”