It took two years, but Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson (Iowa) High finally won another girls basketball games.
After a whopping 32 straight losses, Jefferson got back on the right side of a scoreline, and doing so with gusto. The Yellow Jackets blew out Nebraska City (Neb.) High 46-24, taking the consolation game of the Omaha Mercy Invitational in the process.
That wait was only made more trying by the loss of a teammate to cancer in 2009 season. The Yellow Jackets began fundraising for other cancer patients, beginning a scholarship and helping give gifts to other young patients at the Nebraska Medical Center. You can see the team making one of those dedications in the video above.
"I mean, thank God," Amanda Coffelt, who led the team with 19 points, told the Omaha World Herald. "Me and Mandy were like, ‘So this is what it feels like to win as the time runs off.'
"I think everyone has felt what it is like to win now. We'd get down five points and everybody would put their heads down. Hopefully that won't happen anymore."
It's fitting that Coffelt would help lead the team back to the promised land. The senior was one of only two players on the Yellow Jackets' roster who were members of the team the last time it won a game, in Feb. 2009 against Council Bluffs (Iowa) Abraham Lincoln High, the team's city rival.
Since that win nearly a complete cycle of varsity basketball players have come and gone at Thomas Jefferson, leaving just Coffelt and fellow senior Mandy Ethen to help lead their teammates out of the long losing funk.
No sooner had they achieved that then the team transitioned directly into delirium. The World Herald reported that nearly the entire team skipped and celebrated down the hall en route to the locker room, riding a wave of exhilaration following the victory.
"It's a huge relief," Thomas Jefferson coach Nicole Vetter told the World Herald. "Everybody on the bench was excited tonight. They knew they had a pretty big monkey off their backs.
"They came out fired up and ready to get a victory. It had been a long time."