Rubow and the Neeley sisters have enjoyed a memorable 19-3 senior campaign, spending this week prepping for Saturday’s Class 2A Lapel regional, when the No. 6-ranked Comets will meet Winchester (20-4) in the noon semi-final.
“The energy is up, everyone is excited,” Bethany Neeley said as practice got underway Wednesday. “How can you come to practice and be dreading it when you’re one of only 16 2A teams left in the state? You can’t complain about that. Everyone is positive, looking forward to practice every day.”
Rubow said that while spirit is high, the team is taking it all in stride.
“The opportunity just to be here is awesome,” Rubow said. “I wouldn’t say we’re preparing any differently, we’re looking at it as just another game as far as preparing. It’s really exciting because we haven’t done this for so long, a team like this at Eastern. It’s a great opportunity to be able to do this.”
Rubow, who split time between JV and varsity her sophomore year before becoming a varsity mainstay her junior season and a starter in her senior campaign, has provided intangibles rather than stuffing stat sheets for most of the year, but did score five points during a critical fourth-quarter stretch of last Friday’s 53-44 sectional championship victory over Tipton, which was the Comets’ first sectional crown in 14 years. For much of the season, Eastern has been hearing the comparisons to that 1999 squad that went to the 2A final four.
“Everyone talks about the ’99 team,” Bethany Neeley said. “Me and coach always look up there at the banners on the wall and you see the ’99 team. That’s what everyone kind of compares us to and we want to make a run like them.”
That run will begin when a stingy Eastern defense surrendering under 39 points per contest locks horns with a Winchester squad led by Ball State recruit Jill Morrison, who averages nearly 28 points per game.