Mustangs Get Send-Off Before State Semifinals

Ask any member of the Monticello girls' basketball team and they'll tell you -- it's exactly 70.4 miles from their school to the Siegel Center in Richmond.

The Mustangs have written that number on their hands before games. They've broken huddles by calling it out. And on Tuesday, they'll drive that distance -- for the program's first-ever appearance in the state semifinals.

"To be a part of this, for school history; to be a senior, it's amazing to be a part of this," guard Bridget Holleran said Monday. "We've been waiting for this all season. This is what we've been working for. So we finally made it to 70.4, and it feels really good."

"Now that it's here, it's overwhelming. But at the same time, it's so exciting," said fellow senior Emily Larrabee. "I haven't slept in a couple days, just thinking about the game."

The Mustangs face Region III champion Spotswood at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Siegel Center in the Division 3 state semifinals. Monticello held a pep rally Monday afternoon to give the team a proper send-off.

"Today was fun," said Holleran. "I felt like a celebrity. Everyone was saying good luck. There was so much positive energy. And this pep rally was really cool, to see our school come out and support us."

"Having the whole school here, and having everybody be able to go tomorrow, makes it so much better," agreed Larrabee.

The Mustangs will take a 17-game winning streak into Tuesday's game, and along the way they've won the program's first district and region championships.

"It's almost unreal. We got to take a step back today and realize we've reached our goal," said coach Josh McElheny. "And now, now I guess we've got to set a new goal. Now that we've got there, we're going to go ahead and try to win this thing."

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