State Scholars Bowl Team 2023https://kshsaacovered.com/news/2023/2/13/state-scholars-bowl-roundup-hodgeman-county-repeats-as-class-1a-division-i-champion.aspx
SACRED HEART GOES BACK-TO-BACK IN 2A
All season long, Sacred Heart coach David Green felt the pieces were there for the Knights to capture a second straight Class 2A state championship.
But there was a bit of the unknown behind that belief.
“I didn’t have them all together except maybe once or twice during the regular season because they’re all doing different things,” Green said of a six-player team whose members were involved in other activities at Sacred Heart such as debate, forensics, athletics and music. “I knew they were all great, so it as long as we could be mentally tough and get together, I knew we could win it.”
Sacred Heart delivered on that promise Saturday in WaKeeney. The Knights successfully defended the state championship they won a year ago, going 4-1 in pool play before sweeping to a 5-0 mark in the finals and finishing with a total margin of 175.
Moundridge, TMP-Marian and Wichita Independent each finished the finals with 3-2 records with Moundridge taking the runner-up spot on the point margin tiebreaker with 100, while TMP was third with a 75 point margin and Independent fourth with a margin of 15.
While graduation claimed only two members of last year’s Scholars Bowl championship team, the loss of seniors Nate Elmore and Noah Martin left big holes. In particular, Green said replacing Elmore’s presence was a huge task.
“He was a superstar – he really got the ball rolling,” Green said. “He read everything and got everybody excited about Scholars Bowl. … I think he answered more than half of the questions last year at state.”
Sacred Heart returned the senior trio of Jace Douglas, Markus White and Stephanie Silverman and junior Andy Marshall. Junior Jason Marrs and sophomore Abram Anderson stepped into the final two spots.
While the team never got extended periods throughout the season to build their chemistry, Green said the group was always responsive to his requests to improve areas to strengthen the team.
“I would say, ‘Go learn grammar,’ and they’d be like, ‘OK,’” Green said. “And then they’d go learn grammar, or whatever it was I asked of them. They’d be reading on the way to Scholars Bowl events and just worked really hard to make themselves better.”
Sacred Heart showed its mental toughness at state. The Knights lost their second pool match to Jefferson County North in convincing fashion with the Chargers taking an 80-40 win in the match. But the Knights dominated the rest of their pool matches, outscoring Moundridge, St. Marys, Inman and Rawlins County by a combined 370-75.
“I actually kind of like it when we lose one (in pool play),” Green said. “We did that same thing at regionals. Then they’re just, ‘We’ve got to really play’ and don’t get too cocky or complacent. And they don’t get too shook up by it. We know we just have to get top three in our pool and then in the finals, stick to our strategy of win the first one and then win every one after that.”
That strategy was put to the test in the finals.
The Knights were on the verge of seeing their title hopes disappear as TMP-Marian jumped out to a seemingly commanding 40-0 lead. Instead of panicking, the Knights stayed calm and stormed back to take a 50-45 victory.
“That was scary,” Green said. “We were halfway through the questions and I was like, ‘All right guys, we’ve got to answer the rest of them.’ And they did. They kept their cool and played it well.”
That was Sacred Heart’s only close match of the finals. The Knights beat Independent – which had gone 5-0 in its pool – 70-15, topped Inman 80-30, Remington 65-40 and Moundridge 80-40 to take the state title.
“They were determined,” Green said. “They knew how good Nate was. So they knew they really had to step it up. They worked hard over the summer, learning and they definitely knew we could do it if they worked at it and they worked at it.”