SPRINGVILLE — It’s a script worthy of Hollywood’s attention and someday should be played out on the big screen for the entire world to see.
Springville, one of the smallest schools in the state of Iowa, accomplishing things some of the biggest schools couldn’t even begin to dream of.
Just take a look at these mind-boggling facts.
The Oriole girls basketball program has played in five state championships games in the last 10 years (‘08, ‘09, ‘15, ‘16 and ‘17). If they were to make it to the class 1A state finals again next month, which many prognosticators expect they will, it would be six out of 11.
The overall record of the Springville program during those state tournament years? 125-15.
Oh, and they’re ranked No. 1 in the state and sport an 18-3 overall record this winter as they get ready to make another highly successful post-season run beginning this week.
A trip to the 1A finals would not only mean a chance at a rare three-peat of state championships for the Springville team, but Mikayla Nachazel, Rylee Menster, Madi Wagaman and Alyssa Jaeger would all tie the record for most state tournament games played with 12.
Only Lynnville-Sully, Washington (IA) and Ankeny have made it to four straight state championship games in Iowa girls basketball history.
Just soak all the information in for a second.
The kind of run the Springville girls program has been on just doesn’t happen very often, especially for a school of their size.
Winning is the norm at Springville, and while all of that success has been fun for the Oriole girls during what has been an historic four-year stretch, to them, that’s not what it’s all about.
“Yes, our success has made things special over the last four years, but even without all the winning it would have been special just by being around all my teammates,” said Menster, one of six Oriole seniors (with Nachazel, Wagaman, Jaeger, Sami Johnson and Courtney Boland) looking to making one last run together to the state tournament.
“It’s been the entire journey with all of my teammates that has made this so special, and I’m really going to be sad when it all comes to an end. It’s been a dream come true.”
The six seniors all played tournament team basketball together in elementary school as Menster’s mom Robin and dad Jeff, along with former Oriole star Alison Woods (a member of the state championship game teams in ‘08 and ‘09) started the girls on their hoop paths as youth coaches.
The group went their separate AAU ways in ninth grade, but the foundation that the Menster’s and Woods put into place was set.
“I think a big reason we’ve been so successful is because we’ve played together for so long,” said Menster, as her dad is now also a member of the Oriole girls’ staff.
“We built a special chemistry, and it’s paying off now. It’s also cool looking down the bench and seeing my dad there and my mom right behind sitting with us. It’s just like old times.”
Nachazel also appreciates the relationships she’s made over the years more than anything else.
“There’s more to basketball than just basketball,” she said. “Our goal is to have fun, too. That’s what we’re going to do together one last time during these next few weeks.
“We’ve never worried about the wins and the losses. If we can go out and do what we do and have fun with it, the winning takes care of itself.”
As her basketball career draws to a close, Wagaman also knows what matters most.
“I won’t miss the games so much, but I will miss the team,” she said. “Having that closeness with my teammates all these years is what has made the games fun.
“We’ve worked hard over the years at all the sports we’ve played, and it’s awesome to think of everything that we’ve accomplished and helping the history at our school. But without having that special bond with my teammates, it wouldn’t have been any fun.”
Jaeger, who hit two free throws in the waning seconds to help the Orioles win the title in 2016, just wants to make some more memories.
“We’d love to make another run and win the whole thing again this year, but it’s the memories we’ve made that have been the most important,” she said. “For me it’s been the small things that I’ll remember. Hanging out in the lobby at the hotel, jamming on the bus or all of our pre-game stuff over the years.
“We didn’t do all of this just for the achievements. Having fun has been what we’ve really appreciated.”
Girls, your fans have had fun watching, too.