Friday night found the players, family, and friends of the Norris City-Omaha-Enfield Junior Cardinal basketball team coming together one last time to congratulate the Junior Cardinals on a great season and recognize all their accomplishments for the year.
To get the evening started, Superintendent Matt Vollman stepped to the podium to congratulate the Junior Cardinals on not only a great season, but also on being such great ambassadors of the school he bragged about their achievements, but bragged more on how they presented themselves throughout the season. He elaborated by reading the following email that was sent from a Smithton Cougar parent, following their loss to the Junior Cardinals in the semifinal round of the state tournament:
I hope this email finds the proper home. My son’s school, Smithton Elementary, played your boys basketball team this past Tuesday at state. Although it didn’t end in a victory for us, it was an awesome game! I wanted to congratulate you on the win and your school district on having such a great team of young men with wonderful sportsmanship. Having three boys, I have been to a million games and this team by far showed excellent character. As the game ended, and our boys were in tears... your team comforted them and had kind words. Number 25 probably stood out the most to me from the stands. All the parents and the boys were talking about what a good experience it was. Just thought I would say thank you, and spread the word because you don’t always see this. Good luck on your final game tonight!
In conclusion, Mr. Vollman made light that the likelihood of playing professionally is possible but not probable, however, the character they displayed is something that will lead them to success throughout life.
Next on the agenda for the evening was cheerleading sponsor, Mrs. Marsha Humphrey. Mrs. Humphrey started by thanking the community for making her family feel so welcome in her first year in the NCOE School District. She then went on to thank the cheerleaders and congratulate them on a successful season, as well as presenting them a farewell gift and encouraging each and every one to continue their cheerleading career. Finally, Mrs. Humphrey thanked the basketball boys and coaches for always making her and the girls feel like they were always a part of the team.
Last but not least, Coach Jimmy Goebel spoke about his team and all of their acccomplishments on the season. Goebel first started by thanking the boys, parents, administration, teachers, his wife (Jaime), Mike Jacques (the team’s bus driver and scorekeeper), and the community for their support throughout the year. He bragged about how everyone jumped on board and worked together to make the team feel like “all stars”.
Goebel would then discuss the season and their 26-2 record which is the best he has ever had as a coach. He talked about starting the season with a loss to a team who was playing their fourth game while our team had only had six practices due to the extreme success and a Regional Championship in baseball. He then went on to talk about overcoming adversities and injuries to win the Gallatin County Tournament. This tournament victory would then be followed by winning one of the most difficult tournaments – the Wayne City Holiday Tournament, followed by a Little Greater Egyptian Conference Tournament Championship. These victories would then bring forth post season play in which the Junior Cardinals would win the SIJHSAA Class M Regional Championship in exciting fashion. In each of the four tournaments thus far, the Junior Cardinals would have the uncanny ability to come from behind in one or more games to win them all, bringing forth the State Tournament. This state series would also find challenges for the Jr. Cardinals by being outsized on the court in every position, as well as being the smallest school (enrollment wise) that advanced to this year’s State Tournament. However, that did not keep them from bringing home the SIJHSAA Class M 2nd Place State Championship.
Coach Goebel then brought it to everyone’s attention that this team set several records as a team as well as individually with some of those being the highest field goal percentage, the most three pointers made, most points scored in a game, and highest points scored average. He would then recognize all of the players and talk about each one and their successes on the year. He would also point out that each and every member played a vital role in this year’s success and accomplishments. In addition, Coach Goebel presented individual awards to some players. After the recognition of the players, the team would then return the favor by presenting Coach Goebel with basketball that had the team picture inscribed.