By Cassidy Blackwell
The Grandview Middle School girls’ basketball team made history just by making it to 2022 TMSSA state tournament. Winning the state championship once they got there was the icing on the cake.
The Eagles had an undefeated season, winning 24 games in a row. They beat Oneida in the state tournament in Murfreesboro on Saturday, Feb. 19, by the score of 37-32.
“We were 24- 0, which is very unheard of, especially in middle school,” said head coach Kathryn Painter.
Although the game was tight and Oneida played with strong defense, Grandview was determined to bring home a win. In order to make it to state, the Eagles ascended through the area tournament to the sectionals at John Sevier in Kingsport where they won 51- 29 against Highland Rim. The state tournament included the top four teams in all of Tennessee.
“The chemistry really came together here at the end of the season and they just worked really hard together,” said Painter.
Painter attributes their success to the team’s united efforts and determination. She said that Grandview had an excellent team this year. They always had players on the floor who brought unique talents to the team. The Eagles had players who were great at handling the ball and some who were strong posts in the paint, balancing offensive and defensive forces.
“It was certainly a team success,” said Painter. “We couldn’t have done it without any certain one of them.”
Painter has a long love of basketball. She was on her high school team and then played in college at Milligan University. Painter graduated in 2017 and began her teaching at South Central before transferring to Grandview in the second year of her career. Becoming a basketball coach was a no-brainer for Painter.
“I really enjoy getting to know the kids and building relationships with them,” said Painter. “They’re kind of like your own kids.”
Painter has been a coach at Grandview for four years and the team’s assistant coach is her husband. She enjoys coaching with him, saying her husband understands her system and was a big help this season.
Since Grandview had never been to state before, the team made it a goal they would stop at nothing to achieve.
“After we finished the championship at each of those levels, it was like a whole new level of excitement.”
After winning at sectionals, the girls were ecstatic and soaked their coaches in the locker room. The Eagles’ determination to win the championship increased with each success as the girls desired to make school history.
The state championship was an astounding victory, but the true reward was the bond amongst the team.