New Bloomfield looking to shock New Franklin in Class 2 sectionals

Lost to state-ranked Lady Bulldogs in Sturgeon semifinals

— Low expecations from the outside are breeding low pressure on the inside for the New Bloomfield Lady Wildcats.

That’s a welcome sight for head coach Brett Craighead.

“I think it’s kind of loosened them up and they’ve been really determined the last week or so,” Brett Craighead said during practice Tuesday afternoon at the high school.

New Bloomfield (15-11) — the team nobody thought would be here — now has to take down a team many picked to be at this point in the fifth-ranked New Franklin Lady Bulldogs (26-1) in a Class 2 sectional at 6 tonight at Jefferson City High School. The winner moves on to face either Clopton or Knox County in a state quarterfinal at noon Saturday at Moberly Area Community College.

“We’re defintely not satisfied with districts, we want to keep fighting as hard as we can,” Lady Wildcats junior forward Ashley Kelley added. “There are no nerves, no pressure on us.

“We’re just going to go out and play and do what we do, and it’ll turn out well, I think.”

New Bloomfield advanced to the state playoffs after dismantling Russellville 55-33 for the District 8 title last Friday night in Russellville. New Franklin held off Harrisburg 56-50 for the District 7 championship Saturday in Harrisburg.

The Lady Bulldogs — who started the season 18-0 — downed the Lady Wildcats 42-25 on Jan. 29 in the semifinals of the Sturgeon Tournament, the only meeting between the two teams during the regular season. New Bloomfield struggled mightily on offense, but still found itself locked in a 17-all tie with New Franklin at halftime.

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