Bell City (19-9), winners of two of the last three state championships, will square off with 12-time state champion Scott County Central (20-8) at 8:15 p.m. tonight in a sectional game at Sikeston High School.
The Cubs knocked off the Braves last year in the sectionals on their way to a state title.
This year, the Braves look to have the upper hand, with a veteran lineup which has already beaten Bell City three times this season.
"There's a lot of familiarity between the schools since I'm from there," Bell City coach David Heeb said. "Most of those kids played on the first team I coached. We all know each other. We all like each other."
That friendliness does not mean the teams will not be battling for the win.
"We feel like they're probably the most talented team in 1A in the state," Heeb said of Scott County. "But while they might have three wins over us, if we beat them tonight it won't matter much."
In order to pick up its first victory over the Braves this season, Bell City will have to get another big game from its freshmen. D.D. Gillespie, the Cubs' leading scorer, led a big freshman effort in the district finals with a team-
high 21 points.
Fellow freshman Nick Niemczyk finished with 16 points.
"I think these kids, they don't comprehend how bad Bell City was 10 or 15 years ago," Heeb said. "They only know winning. They're used to it, and they like it. They want to keep it going."
Scott County had to hold off a late Clarkton rally to win its district championship. The Braves are looking for their first trip to the state final four since 1994. "They learned a good lesson from that game," Scott County coach Melvin Porter said of the district championship. "We're going to take it and go with it."
The Braves are led by sophomore Isaac Porter, who averages 16 points a game. Senior Avis White is second on the team in scoring at 15 points a game, while fellow seniors Jeremy Johnson, Josh Boley, Andrew Pullen and Chris Monroe all have been big for the Braves.
Porter said he has a lot of confidence in his team, but knows they will have to come to play to defeat Bell City.
"It's a new season. Everyone you play is at a different level than what you saw during the regular season," he said.
Delta girls try to exact revenge After knocking off Oran for the fifth time in the Class 1 District 2 girls championship game, Delta (20-5) will face Scott County (15-6) for the fourth time this season in the 6:30 p.m. sectional matchup.
The Bobcats will be looking for some revenge after having their season ended by the Bravettes in the sectional round last season. In that game, the Braves jumped out to a big lead early and held on for a 63-53 win.
"They've got a good little ball club, with some good seniors," Delta coach Randy White said. "They're always tough."
The Bravettes have been led by sophomore Brittney Peet and returning all-
state senior Janet Penrod. Senior Brittany Godwin and Trice Johnson have also been big contributors for Scott County.
Delta is led by sophomore Shea Smith. The Bobcats once again use a very young squad, with Sarah Cook the only senior starter. Sophomore Kaci Menz, freshman Ashley Deprow and junior Rachel Ware round out Delta's starters.