Dominique McBryde heard the last bell ring to end the school day, and her first thought – like every weekday since Oct. 27 – was “basketball practice.”
“But I’m not,” she said, failing to hide hints of depression. “It’s definitely hard to believe.”
Lost and confused, dazed and deflated, Bedford North Lawrence’s beloved girls basketball team is still working through the emotions of the end, a conclusion the Stars viewed as premature, of one of the great runs in state history. After two Class 4-A state championships, after 104 wins over four years, after going undefeated atop the state polls all season, BNL’s quest for an unprecedented third consecutive title was not its destiny.
The pain still lingers, especially after watching Columbus North conquer wounded Lawrence North (with All-State candidate Lamina Cooper sidelined with a knee injury) in the semistate at Richmond on Saturday afternoon. The Bull Dogs are worthy finalists, with almost-certain Miss Basketball Ali Patberg leading the charge. The Stars can’t help thinking “That should be us.”
It’s not. Columbus North won the one-and-done confrontation, deservedly so when considering BNL had home-court advantage and a second-half lead. The Stars have no excuses and aren’t making any. They just picked the worst time to play poorly, in part because of North’s determination to end their reign.
That doesn’t make the grieving process less painful.