While most classes at Central were not able to watch the entire television broadcast of the Cobbler girls’ state AA basketball tournament game against Sioux Falls Washington, almost everyone saw the ending. With a few minutes left in third block, Washington spurted against the Cobbler girls, and students privileged to be watching packed up their backpacks disconsolately, feeling a late eight point Warrior lead to be an insurmountable barrier. By the time their bags were packed, however, they knew such pessimism was unwarranted; just as the bell rang to signal the change of periods, Chelsey Biegler drove the length of the court, cutting through the Warrior’s defense for a layup and bringing the Cobblers within a point.
Many students shuffled off to class after the bell, but die hard fans stayed glued to the TV, amazed when Coach Bloome didn’t call for the girls to foul Washington right away after the Warriors in-bounded the ball, and more amazed when the Warriors’ guard cracked under the Cobblers’ pressure and traveled. Time outs in Brookings allowed Cobbler fans to savor every moment, and most students had arrived in their fourth block classes to crowd around the televisions when Markie Kruse caught a beautiful entry pass from Biegler to the low post, turned around with perfect composure, and dropped in a bucket for a one point lead.
Who knows when the bell signaling the start of fourth block sounded. By then the volume on the TVs was so loud and the excited buzz in the classrooms so dominant that the focus was entirely upon the game. Nine seconds, the announcers said (and this was the only way viewers knew the time, since the broadcast did not feature an image of the game’s clock). Those guys couldn’t say enough good about the Cobblers, but nice compliments from the television guys would be unfortunate consolation if the + 1 margin turned to -1. Through another Sioux Falls time out the Cobblers back home tried to spot their friends in the teams’ huddle and the cheerleaders’ routines, all the while wondering: could the girls hold off the number one team in the state?
The answer, of course, was yes. When Biegler knocked the ball loose and gave chase to the half court line, following seven seconds of Washington’s futile attempts to get off a shot, students let out a quick cheer, but stifled it when the referee blew the whistle. No one seemed to know why the call was made, but with only one second left and two time outs to sit through, the tension released a little. The excitement held to the final buzzer, however, and students cheered and clapped as the Cobblers knocked away the final in-bounds pass and sealed an unlikely victory in the first round of the state tournament.
Was anyone marked tardy fourth block? Who knows–perhaps the students running around in the main hallway screaming, “We won! We won!” milked the moment a bit too much and deserved to be ticked with a tardy, but really, who was worried about such technicalities in the face of a Cobbler moment?
Congratulations, Cobbler girls basketball. You make your school proud.