Cinderella run continues for Battle girls basketball team

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 | 8:29 p.m. CDT; updated 12:44 p.m. CDT, Thursday, March 13, 2014

* A previous version of this story gave the incorrect height for Ellie Johnson.

The Battle High School girls basketball team was the only team with a losing record to make it to Class 4 sectionals.

In fact, the Spartans were the only team with a losing record across all five classes of high school sectional basketball.

On Wednesday night in Hillsboro, the Spartans' upset run continued. Cheyanna Weaver scored 19 points and freshman Maya Mouton added 17 to lead Battle to a 54-45 win over Festus High School (18-10). The Spartans (12-15) advance to the Class 4 quarterfinals.

The Spartans take the court for their quarterfinal game at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Farmington Civic Center.

Each win for the team not only builds its Cinderella story, but it also blazes a historic trail for the first year athletics program.

The five-game losing streak that ended Battle's regular season in February now seems like a distant past. The Spartans have won all four do-or-die games in March.

The Spartans' stiff competition in their regular-season schedule may have toughened and prepared them.

Despite a losing record, Battle only lost to four Class 4 opponents; its other 11 losses came against the 12 Class 5 teams it played. These losses include a 59-26 loss to Hickman High School on Jan. 8 and an 88-21 loss to Rock Bridge on Feb. 27.

The Spartans also lost 38-37 at home against Fr. Tolton Regional Catholic High School on Feb. 11. The Spartans went 0-3 against crosstown rivals.

No seniors attend the first-year high school in northeast Columbia. Six juniors are on the team and no sophomores.

Ellie Johnson is the only Spartan who had starting experience before the 2013-14 season. *The 6-foot-2 junior started for Hickman last year and Fayette High School, a Class 2 school, the year before.

Johnson averages 8.9 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Her former Hickman teammate, Weaver, is the top Spartan scorer at 10.4 points per game.

Mouton averages 9.2 points and a team-high 7.3 rebounds.

Supervising editor is Mark Selig.

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