Updated Tue, Mar 11, 2014 12:10 pm
The final buzzer sounded on the Eastern Lady Eagles 2012-13 season after a devastating three-point loss to Berlin Hiland that eliminated the team in the Final Four of the State Tournament.
This year, the Eagles have returned to the Schottenstein Center in Columbus and are looking to avenge last year’s disappointing loss. The entire Eagles team knows they have some unfinished business to take care of this time around.
“Every year we sit down and write our personal goals out for each kid and we do a team goal,” head coach John Burdette said. “Last year, there was one kid that wrote win state and the rest was make it to state. This year, every kid wrote win state and it’s just a different mentality.”
The motto of “Unfinished Business” can be seen and heard just about everywhere from the back of T-shirts worn by the Lady Eagles’ loyal fan base to a sign on the outside of a church in Eastern’s town of Reedsville, OH.
The sour taste of last year’s defeat and redemption is on the minds of these Lady Eagles and their flocking fans.
Complacency to just being in the Final Four is no longer acceptable as it was last year.
Winning the state championship serves as Eastern’s ultimate goal.
The Eagles understand that it was rare for a team to win back-to-back regional championships, but they were able to accomplish the feat. They also understand that this team is capable of capturing the state title.
“Last year, our goal was just to make it to the state tournament. This year, at the beginning of the season we made a new goal and that was to actually win,” senior guard Jenna Burdette said. “We have unfinished business from last year and we definitely want a little revenge.”
Burdette has played a huge role throughout the tournament to help the Eagles reach the Schottenstein Center.
In the Eagles’ first tournament game, Burdette posted a triple-double with 15 points, 12 steals, and 10 assists. Her dominant play continued throughout the tournament, including Eastern’s most recent 62-52 regional championship victory over Newark Catholic, when she poured in 37 points.
Eastern’s 10-point win over Newark Catholic was the largest margin of victory out of all four of the regional final games played.
This is only the second time in school history that Eastern has made it this far in tournament play. With the experience of this senior-heavy squad, however, nerves will take a back seat to Eastern’s desire to win it all.
“We’re more focused. Just having five seniors on the floor makes the freshman calmer and they start thinking ‘if they can do it, we can do it too,’” senior guard Jordan Parker said.
Finishing business will not come easy, starting with the Lady Eagles’ Final Four game Thursday night against fellow No. 1 seed and defending State Champion Fort Loramie.
Earlier this season, the Redskins defeated Berlin Hiland, whom the Eagles lost to in the Final Four last year.
Fort Loramie has also held opponents to an average of 35.2 points a game this season.
The goal of winning a State title will travel with Eastern on Wednesday, as they head to Columbus to end what they were unable to finish last year. Nothing could cap off this season better than a freshly cut net and glimmering state championship trophy to bring back to Reedsville.
“I like the motto and the girls do too, but trust me, if we win this thing there won’t be any more talk of unfinished business,” head coach Burdette said. “If we win State, our job is done.”