MAPLE PARK – Ava Knepper took her turn, then Josie Ness, then Sarah Ness.
One by one, Sandwich’s girls poured a jug of water over coach Chris Johnson by the team bench. His orange button-down shirt drenched, Johnson raised one finger in the air.
Have the girls done this before?
“No,” said Sandwich senior Sarah Ness, “but we’ve never won a regional before, either.”
They have now.
The Indians (32-0) kept their magical season going, and made history in the process. Sandwich fought off the regional host Knights, 39-34, in Friday’s Class 3A Kaneland Regional final, and in the process won the first regional title in the program’s 42-year history.
Johnson, who took over a program two years ago that hadn’t had a winning season since 1992, coached these seniors in middle school.
So he welcomed the postgame shower, with a caveat.
“After the game Wednesday, Ava said, ‘Coach can we give you a Gatorade bath some time?’” Johnson said. “I had my wife sneak in a bag of towels. I didn’t want anyone to see them. I said if we win, pull them out. If we lose, you better sneak them back to the car. I want these girls to enjoy this.”
They sure did, and now move on to play Rock Falls, a 53-47 winner over Sycamore, in a sectional semifinal Tuesday in Rochelle.