Local Fans Watched Skyline Take Third

By: 
Johnie J. Logue
Enterprise Staff
The Skyline Lady Tigers have won the Warsaw girls basketball tournament numerous times, including ten of the last eleven years. They won the state championship six times and have 24 final four appearances. 
So it was not surprising to see several Benton County residents at the state championships in Springfield last week to watch Skyline play. 
On Thursday, Lincoln basketball coaches Tyler Burke, Marlin Hammond, Lincoln Superintendent and MSHSAA Offical Kevin Smith, WHS Hall of Famers Bobby Barnes and Ron Jenkins and several other local fans were among the huge crowd on hand, Skyline lost to Nellyville 63-57.
 On Friday, again with a group of local fans in attendance, Skyline would beat Cario 64-35 for third place. 
Basketball enthusiastic, Denny Henson of Warsaw would comment, “It was sad to see Skyline lose. They have a great program and Kaylee DaMitz is a terrific player. I am glad they came back to take third.”
The previous mentioned Bobby Barnes also commented, “There was a lot of great games and great players. I would love to see Warsaw have a program like Skyline has. I am sorry to see DaMitz graduate. She was fun to watch."
In Neelyville, Skyline ran up against some great athletes. J’Kayla Fowler, who is on her way to Three Rivers Junior College next year, was just a thorn in their side the whole game. She had 17 points but seemed to score every time Skyline put together a rally.
It was the Nightmare on Elm Street in the first half for Skyline although Elm Street was some four blocks away. They were held to just 17 first half points and were 4-23 from the field and were out rebounded 24-12.
Skyline rallied after an 18 point deficit  behind a DaMitz jumper to make it 56-53 with 1:32 remaining but Fowler broke free to put what would be a dagger in the hearts of Skyline fans. DaMitz ended with 28 points and did her best to keep Skyline in the game but Neelyville, the eventual state champion, just had too many weapons on this particular night. 
Friday morning at 11:00 AM, Skyline had a chance to redeem themselves and they did behind DaMitz 20 points on their way to the third place trophy.
Skyline seniors were 116-15 over their four years. DaMitz, the 2017 Class two player of the year, will be a four-time (count them) All- State performer. She would later comment, "It has been an amazing ride and I am glad I was a part of the Skyline tradition.”
Her coach, Kevin Cheek was asked at the press conference if she (DaMitz) was the best player he ever had. He grinned and said “Yes, at her position.” One reporter (Johnie Logue) said, "She was probably the best fundamentally sound freshman Skyline ever had dating back to Jackie Payne.”
Skyline ended up 30-3 on the season and graduates six seniors but they will rebuild around defensive gem and capable scorer, Junior Autumn Garrett. Should be interesting.

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