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Experience, adversity drive the Coldwater girls on the hardwood

COLDWATER, Mich -- The Coldwater girls basketball team is back on the map after Monday night's three point win over East Lansing.  The Lady Cardinals won back-to-back district championships for the first time since 1991 and 1992.

"There has been a lot of pressure on the girls this year" head coach Ken Smoker said.  "They did really well last year and a lot of people expected the same thing out of them."

"It was awesome last year because we hadn't won a district in like 23 years" senior Tyler Scheid said.  "Just to get that out of the way I think there was a little bit more pressure this year because people are expecting it now but we got another one so that is super exciting too."

The Lady Cardinals were 22-1 this season entering Wednesday night's game and a big reason for that is the seven seniors on this years roster.

"I honestly think that we are a lot better, I think we are more ready" senior Samantha Rodesiler said.  "When we are in tough situations we handle that a lot better than we have last year just because of seniority."

The Coldwater programs has 61 wins the last three seasons but the girls are not satisfied with that they will look for one more win tonight in the regional final which would give them their first regional championship since 1991.

Maybe the most impressive part of the Lady Cardinals season is they are doing all of this without one of their best players. Senior captain Malorie Rzepka had started 79 consecutive games before tearing her ACL in late December."

"I just wish I could be out there with them" Malorie Rzepka said.  "I believe in them that they can go all the way."

Coach Smoker is a teacher in the district and has watched this particular group of girls play since they were in elementary school. His daughter Emily is also a senior on this team making this a very special postseason run."

"When you are with them this much for this many years they kind of become your own" Smoker added.   "So you grow attached to them. It's going to be a tough group to lost but we are never going to forget them."

Wednesday night the Lady Cardinals lost to DeWitt, 51-41, but finished another terrific season at 22-2.

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