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November 4, 2010     Lovell Chronicle
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www. LovellCh ronicle.com November 4, 2010 I The Lovell Chronicle I 11 Sweeping the championship Lady Grizz defeat Lady Panthers in three games for State Title and the teams went back and forth until there was no time left to score for Wright and RM secured the 25-17 W. Game three was a nail-biter and it wasn't an easy victory for the Grizz. The game was tied several times until the Grizz left Wright in the dust at the 15-point mark, outscoring them for the final moments and forcing errors for the 25-21 win. McMillin has said throughout the season that the team's success has been a team effort. "Everyone on the team is a star. They all did their jobs," she said. The team was confident and relaxed in the high- profile match. "They moti- vated each other," McMillin said. "Any time someone messed up, the rest of the team was there to lift them up. Anytime they missed a point, they would pick themselves up and focus on the next one." Eliza Higgins had 18 kills against Wright, Black- burn 11, Wilson 10, Hocker 4, Rachael Allred 3. Black- burn, Peterson and Hig- BY BRAD DEVEREAUX The Rocky Mountain Lady Grizzlies have had a tremendous 2010 volley- ball season, going unde- feated in the 2A Northwest and dominating at Region- als last weekend to earn a first-place trophy. The com- petition was even tough- er at State in Casper this weekend, but the cool play of the Lady G rizz almost made winning their first- ever state title look easy. The Lady Grizz were awarded the state champi- onship Saturday after de- feating Wright, 25-20, 25- 17, 25-21. "We couldn't have asked for a better game," said coach Carol McMillin. "Everyone was where they needed to be. Lauren [Pe- terson] had three options to set to and we were send- ing all kinds of hits." The match was under way about a half hour be- hind schedule and was over within two hours. McMillin noted the high performance of hitters Leslie Blackburn, Eliza Higgins and Kallee Jo Wilson, but noted that Brianna Hocker and Ra- chel Allred also added a lot to the offense. "We were mixing it up and making their defense work a lot," she said. Grizz hitters were hit- ting over, around or hard at the block, McMillin said. Hitting into the block often resulted in a point for the Grizz when the Lady Pan- thers couldn't get to the dropping ball, or it would come over to the Grizz side of the net and they would control the ball and set up another attack. "They were pretty fo- cused on every play," Mc- Millin said. "I don't think Big Horn or Wright expect- ed us to play the way we did." The Grizz led early in game one, staying a cou- ple points ahead of Wright and claiming the 25-20 vic- tory. The Grizz were loud while celebrating every point, and went crazy on the court after making the series 1-0. In game two, Rocky started hot and brought the score to 12-5, until Wright took over to near- ly catch the Grizz at 14-10. The Grizz answered with 5 points to make it 19-11, Bv~v Ds-cs~ux PHOTOS Above, Grizzly starting sophomore Kallee Jo Wilson gives the ball a boost toward the Lady Panthers in Saturday's championship match. Below, brother Jessee Wilson (center) cheers the team on along with classmates (l-r) Luke Leonhardt, Brady Winland, Brandon Foster and others. gins served 100 percent in the match. Wilson stopped five kills with solo blocks, Higgins 2 and Allred and Blackburn 1 each. Digging was solid all- around. Higgins lead the team with 29, followed by Blackburn, Peterson, Wil- son and Rowland, McMillin said. Allred, Blackburn, Peterson and Wilson lead the team in solo blocks. The team celebrated on the court after the final point of the game, raising their arms for a final ~We are the Grizz" cheer before running over to their slew of fans waiting at the edge of the grandstands to hug and congratulate members of the team. "There was such a great crowd. The football team and all the parents and oth- er fans really motivated us and kept the team going," she said, adding some fans from surrounding schools stayed to watch. "It helped to hear them cheering on every play." Full of excitement, the team got on the bus and ate dinner in Casper before heading home. McMillin said the team was loud for the first leg of the trip, then they calmed down for a while, before getting a second wind of excitement on the trip near Thermopo- lis. Several Big Horn Coun- ty Sheriffs Department ve- hicles met the team in the south end of the county and, with lights blazing, escorted the bus north to Rocky Mountain Middle/ High School in Cowley. The caravan was joined by sev- eral vehicles along the way, with a large group jumping on at the Oasis Junction. The noisy parade snaked through the streets of Cowley near midnight, and McMillin said lights were turning on inside of hous#s as people woke up to see what the racket was about. They ended at the school and the team was greeted by a large crowd of supporters. "I don't think any of the girls slept much that night," the coach said. "It was awesome to see so many people from the com- munity show up to congrat- ulate the team." This was the first-ever Rocky Mountain volleyball state championship, Mc- Millin said, and it couldn't have come at a better time. "This year has had a new school spirit and a new start for the district," McMillin said. "Our state championship will be the first banner hanging in the new gym. It was a perfect time for the girls to win the title and as a coaching staff we couldn't ask for more." The team also held a pep rally Monday at school to celebrate the victory with their classmates. The Lady Grizzlies are now working to raise funds to purchase State Champion jackets, McMillin said. "It's cool to know you're the top team in the state," she said, adding that the girls are very excited, yet humble and not cocky. "They're very gracious about it." Kallee Wilson Brianna Hocker 2010 State Toumament Statistics Opponent IQ,,$ Dlgs Block Pine Bluffs :3 55 S t---~132 Big Horn 4 4 Wdght Rocky Mountain Grizzly sponsors: Cowtown Cafe Bank of Lovell ............. Rachael AIIred 5'-5" Sophomore "1 thi~k the whole team had Lot of heart. It's not all a~out skills, but it's about workinq hard, too. LDe went in wit~ the .qoa[ to win. I appreciate ever~ qir[ On the te'a'm, lhet~ att #~in a tot of effort. "~ I 2010 State Tournament StatisUcs ~ + t Solo i Service j - Rocky Mountain Grizzly sponsors: ~~1~1~ :~~. ~I.~ Red Apple Supermarket r~-N~ -~i-,~"~m Miller's Fabrication ~I_-: " --"-" Ashlee Bridges Manager "It was awesome to [~e with the ~ir[s and watchinc~ them win ~tate. "]'-~e win paved the wat~ for ~uture te'ams and set'up h~h e~pectations." Hannah Winland Manager "As a manao~er and bein~ a freshman, He was real~ awe'some to see the team win at State. I wilt be sad to see the seniors ~o. Rocky Mountain Grizzly sponsors: Pryor Mt. Engineering S&L Industrial Rocky Mountain Grizzly sponsors: Miller's Fabrication North Big Horn Hospital Dist.