by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Last summer, the Belle Plaine team was coming off a 3-18 season. Joe Newman was the sixth coach in six years, and Wellington had an opening for a head coaching job, Newman’s hometown.
Newman decided to stay in Belle Plaine, and eight months later, the Dragons are going to their first state tournament in 11 years with a 15-8 record.
Belle Plaine would beat Caney Valley 79-73 in overtime in Fredonia Saturday evening in a thrilling game. And now the Dragons prepare for Galena (20-3) on Thursday at 3 p.m. at the Hutchinson Civic Center in the Class 3A state tournament.
Belle Plaine would beat Eureka 66-47 in the first round, Douglass 68-61 and then Caney Valley. It has been quite a week.
Newman stated to his team his purpose going into sub-state:
“Before our first round sub state game vs Eureka, during our pre game meeting, I put on the board “How bad do you want it? and what are you willing to do to get it?” I continued to write that on the board before each sub state game. And each game, the guys would step up and make an unselfish play that would decide the outcome. With us being the number 1 seed we knew we had a great opportunity to do something incredible, but we were going to have to fight for it.”