Camdenton knocks off Belton for first district championship since 2011
Camdenton has seen plenty of close games this year.
Among the 26 games played so far this season, 14 of them have been decided by a single goal or penalty kick shootout. The Lakers have not always been on the winning side of them, but have taken care of business more times than not.
So, with the opportunity to go win a district championship at Grandview in the Kansas City area Wednesday night, the Lakers were prepared for another fight and found a way to hang on for a 1-0 win over Belton to claim the title of the Class 3 District 13 Tournament. It is the first district title for the program since 2011.
With about 15 minutes left in the first half, sophomore Ella Smith found the ball at her feet and cut through to the middle of the field near the 18-yard box. That is where she found junior teammate Alli Johns who blasted a shot to the upper left corner of the goal. It proved to be the game-winner as the Laker defense held firm and fended off Belton’s attack the rest of the way.
“Belton had a ton of possession in the second half, but never broke our defense down in the run of play. They had several late corners in the last 10 minutes and had chances to score, but Sydney Smith was there every time to make the save,” Camdenton coach Tyler Sevon pointed out as Smith finished with five saves overall.
“The second half definitely was not pretty by any means for us, but our girls just have that ‘grind-it-out’ attitude and have been really good overall in close games this year. The championship was the seventh game we won 1-0 this year.”
The Lakers had an opportunity to win a district title in 2019- the last time a full season was completed before the COVID-19 pandemic- and came up just short. A decade after the last district championship was won, Camdenton did no let another opportunity slip by. Sevon is in his first actual season of leading the program and while he is happy to have this kind of start, he credited all of his predecessors for their stewardship over the program before his arrival.
“This is still a very young group and they have learned so much and gained so much valuable playing experience throughout the season. It is a blessing to come into such a great situation with this girls program,” Sevon stated. “Chris Byington left this program in a great place and so much of our success this year stems from what he and my awesome assistant coaches, Josh Baldwin and Jessica Smith, established in years past while he was here.
"I am excited to see how far this group can go, not only this year but in the years to come, because they are so young and only getting better every day.”
Camdenton (16-10) will now turn its attention to the Class 3 State Tournament and host another team from the Kansas City area, Grain Valley (19-2-1), that has won eight straight district titles. The sectional showdown is set for Tuesday night at 5 p.m.
Michael Losch is the Sports Editor at the Lake Sun. He can be reached at email@example.com or 573-346-2132