Climax Springs girls basketball tops St. Elizabeth for first district title in 16 years

Michael Losch
Lake Sun Leader
The Climax Springs girls basketball team celebrates its first district title in 16 years after knocking off St. Elizabeth on February 26 in Hermitage.

Climax Springs had just six players available, but those were the only six players the Cougars needed Friday night in the championship game of the Class 1 District Tournament against St. Elizabeth. 

The Cougars topped the Hornets 38-33 in Hermitage to secure the program’s first district championship in 16 years. 

“With the six kids we have, it was a great accomplishment,” Climax Springs coach Ron Rhodes said. “These six have worked their butts off since day one and it took a lot of determination to get the district title this year.” 

Autumn Wallace and Maranda Burke led the way for Climax Springs with 11 points each, Jayden Butterfield had nine and Abi Wolfe put up five.

When the season began, Rhodes said the team’s two goals were to capture 20 wins and a district title. Some snow prevented three games from being played so Climax Springs could not accomplish the former one, but the team now has the opportunity to continue on as one of the top 16 teams left in the state.

Up next is the defending state champion in Class 1- Walnut Grove- a team Climax Springs (17-6)  lost to last year in a bid for a district title. Walnut Grove is 21-4 this season and they will visit the Cougars on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

“We are going to get prepared for Wednesday and give all we have. They are very talented and we’ll have our hands full, but it won’t be because of a lack of effort on the girls’ part,” Rhodes said, noting how proud he is of this group. 

“I just want them to go out, play hard and enjoy the moment. Play to the best of their ability and see what happens. Don’t think I’ll have to ask them to play hard because they always do that.” 

The winner moves on to the state quarterfinals on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Michael Losch is the Sports Editor at the Lake Sun. He can be reached at mlosch@lakesunonline.com or 573-346-2132