State tournaments now a Washington County showcase

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One team from Washington County making a state tournament is exciting on its own. Two is extraordinary.

Three? Three is rare to the point of unheard of but that's exactly what the Blair boys and girls basketball teams and the Fort Calhoun basketball team accomplished recently.

All three teams punched their tickets to the NSAA State Basketball Championships in Lincoln in thrilling fashion. Each team traveled three or more hours from home and sacrificed late night arrivals back home for celebrations of an extended season.

For the Blair boys, they secured a back-to-back appearances with a one-point win in McCook. The Blair girls reached state for the first time since 1998 and the Fort Calhoun boys broke a 99-year drought for the tournament.

Those streaks show that each season a team earns a spot in the final showcase of the season, it's reason to celebrate. What all three teams accomplished is worthy of a Washington County takeover of Lincoln beginning Monday.

A trip to state should never be taken for granted by students, families and supporters of a school. If able, everyone should have the opportunity to watch their team compete for a state title. With short trips for both Blair and Fort Calhoun supporters, the stands should be full as their respective teams take the court.

But why not take even further advantage of this unique, maybe once-in-a-lifetime instance of three area teams making the state tournament? Here's a challenge to Blair fans: watch the Fort Calhoun team if you can make it. The challenge to Fort Calhoun fans? Fill the stands for Blair games if you're able. Even casual fans who don't have an allegiance to either school should head on down if they have a couple free hours and a craving for good basketball.

The state tournament is an opportunity for schools to show their pride and their mettle on one of the grandest stages in Nebraska High School athletics. But how many counties outside of the metro areas can say they get to support not one, not two but three teams of local athletes and their quests to capture a state title? Not many.

Washington County students and community members are in a truly rare situation to make noise at a high level and seeing the excitement shown with each celebration of a state berth, they'll make the county proud over the next two weeks.

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