CRAWFORDSVILLE — The teams huddled around the scoreboards Tuesday night at Crawfordsville Country Club, waiting for the final two scores of the tournament to be put up that would decide the Sagamore Conference title.
If Western Boone’s Emily Depuy or Tri-West’s Jada Ellis scored low enough, their teams could win the title. Ellis’ 111 didn’t change her team’s overall score, and meant Southmont remained in the lead by four shots with a 380.
That just left Western Boone, and if Depuy came in with a 112 or lower, the Stars would win the conference title for the first time in history. And when Depuy’s score of 110 was revealed, the Stars knew they had made history.
Throughout the year, it became evident that the conference title race was wide open and really anyone could win it.
Western Boone, Lebanon, Frankfort, Southmont and Tri-West had all beaten each other throughout the year, so the team race was bound to be close.
“I think all the coaches knew that anybody could win, and if you showed up and played well that was the team that was going to win,” Swisher said. “You have to give credit to all the conference schools and their coaches, for really getting their teams ready for this tournament. I can’t remember a time that this conference was this competitive. Normally there a couple of teams separated at the top. To have all these teams so close made it a lot of fun.”
The final scores proved the coaches right.
Western Boone finished with a 377, with Southmont placing second with a 380. Tri-West placed third with a 384, with Lebanon placing fourth at 385.
The Tigers had won the past five conference titles, and nine of the past 10.
“First off, credit to Western Boone. Those girls have worked hard, and we have had a good relationship with their team, especially their two seniors,” Lebanon head coach Mick Milakovic said. “We didn’t play as well as we wanted. If I had to put my finger on just one thing, and it is never just one thing, it was growing pains of a young team. We are very immature in the game of golf. We had three girls playing in their first conference tournament, and a fourth who played but her score really wasn’t demanded to be counted. There is a lot of pressure there, and I think that got to the them a little bit.”
All teams had to deal with less than ideal circumstances for the tournament.
Originally scheduled for Saturday, the tournament was moved to Monday and Tuesday, with the teams playing nine holes each day. Western Boone, playing with Tri-West and Crawfordsville, started on the easier back-nine Monday, and held an eight-shot lead after day one. Knowing that many of the other challengers were playing the back-nine Tuesday, Swisher said the team just had to focus on what they could control.
“We had to deal with a lot,” Swisher said. “First it was that we weren’t playing Saturday, then it was having to playing nine holes on two different days. We knew we shot good scores Monday, but we were going into the harder side and had to refocus. The one thing it did help us with that the girls who didn’t shoot as well Monday were able to go home and reset to start fresh today. It gave us a little bit of confidence knowing that we were in the lead, and just had to play our game.”
Western Boone seniors Rachel Conyer and Lily Williamson made the most of their final Sagamore Conference Tournament.
Conyer was the overall medalist, winning with an 85. Williamson was second with an 86.
“They are the leaders on our team and are great examples for the younger girls,” Swisher said. “They put in the time, the work and dedication. They are great young ladies, and I am super proud of them. This (championship) is because of them and the work they have done the last four years.”
The Stars also got big performances from Addy Bascom and Depuy.
Bascom’s 96 and Depuy’s 110 were both career-bests and in a tight team race, made a huge difference.
“This was a total team effort,” Swisher said. “Addy came in with a personal best nine yesterday, and then another one today. Then Emily Depuy, playing in her first conference tournament, really came through for us. I know (Nola Dickerson) wasn’t very happy with her score today and struggled a little bit, but she is someone who has come through for us a bunch this year to win dual matches. We were able to pick her up today, and getting personal bests from Addy and Emily was great.”
Lebanon’s Katherine Patterson was named first-team all-conference, tying for second with an 86. It was the third-straight year Patterson earned first-team all-conference honors.
“She is the spiritual and physical leader of our team,” Milakovic said. “It wasn’t the tournament she was hoping for, but she deserves to be on the first team.”
Ella Taylor shot a 95 for Lebanon, with Kate Mayner shooting a 101 and Lauren Gascho shooting a 103.
The fifth player was Brooke Reeves, who shot a 113.
Lebanon will regroup and get ready for the Crawfordsville Sectional Saturday.
“The girls are the ones that have to be motivated, and I can encourage their desires,” Milakovic said. “But it has to come from within them on Saturday.”
With the first conference title out of the way, now the Stars will look for their first sectional title at Crawfordsville Saturday morning.
Tee times start at 8:30 a.m.
“We have to take the momentum from being able to play well in an 18-hole match and shoot good scores,” Swisher said. “We are going to get a practice round on the course Wednesday, but the overall confidence boost this gives us is exactly what we needed heading into sectionals.”