Two things are certain this weekend when the Purdy Lady Eagles (24-6) travel to Columbia for the Missouri Class 2 state championship tournament.
They will play two games in Columbia and face Clopton in the semi-finals tonight at 8:20 p.m.
What is unclear are the results for these contests. All season long the Lady Eagles have been battled tested. They have faced and beaten schools that have graduating classes that exceed Purdy High School's total enrollment and played a schedule that would make most high school coaches grow old in a hurry.
Purdy has endured much during the course of the current season and for what?
A chance at a coveted state title
"We can't be content with what we have accomplished this season," said Purdy Head Coach Grant Young. "We have spent too many hours practicing, playing our way to the top and countless hours of driving around getting film to study our opponents. We cannot be happy just to make state; we want to win state."
Purdy stands two short steps shy of achieving its ultimate goal. The first step approaches tonight.
Clopton is a tradition rich program. The Lady Hawks (27-3) have qualified for seven of the last nine Class 2 Final Fours and have won at least 20 games each of the last four seasons.
"We peaked at Christmas," said Clopton Head Coach Larry Lagemann. "We really started playing our best ball in districts."
Clopton brings a 16-game winning streak into the match with Purdy.
"We like to get up and down the court," said Lagemann. "We run an inside-out style offense. We feel that our post play gives us an advantage over most of the teams we play. If we can push the ball, we can have success."
The Lady Hawks have four players who score in double figures and are not concerned with the pressure that comes with the big game.
"We just don't have good players; we have good students," added Lagemann. "Every game we have won has led us to this moment. We have seen it all this season and are ready to meet any challenge."
Purdy knows how to win big games as well.
"Our girls are tough, both mentally and physically," said Young. "In each of our playoff games we have had to battle back. We played a schedule during the regular season that has tempered us to the point where we can persevere through anything.
"The keys for us tonight are simple," continued Young. "Stop their inside game, control the boards, run, run, run, run and execute on offense. We have the athletes to accomplish these tasks. We just need to execute and do it."