Going to the Class 2A state tournament is a relief for the Smith Center girls basketball team.
Last season, the team suffered just one setback — a 42-39 loss to Republic County — and it came in the sub-state final. After a 22-1 season, the Lady Red fell one game short of state because there are no wild-card berths in Kansas high school athletics.
The team was also a casualty of that rule in 2011 and 2010.
After suffering three years of heartbreaks, Smith Center finally redeemed itself with a win over Ellis in the sub-state final Saturday, securing that elusive spot in the state tournament.
The second-seeded Lady Red (21-2) open up against seventh-seeded Sedan (17-6) Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kan.