SPRINGFIELD – The Springfield Millers girls basketball team finished their perfect league season last week, beating rival Thurston 63-33 and Eagle Point 57-33. After the home rivalry win last Tuesday, the Millers cut the net down off the basket, a long-standing basketball tradition.
“It means a lot. I think it means even more to the ones that were here before me, which is our two seniors Lexi (Morgan) and Kylie (Rankins),” said Joe Williamson, Springfield head coach. “From last place and 3-22 their freshman year, to winning the league championship their senior year, so it’s special for them.”
The wins marked Springfield’s first undefeated league record since the 2015-’16 season. The 12-0 league record also puts Springfield at 20-5 overall on the season, their best overall record since 2018-’19.
Both of those previous seasons were ones where Springfield came in second-place at state. This Millers team knows something about that as well, as they came in second last year. Despite multiple finals appearances, the Millers haven’t won the state title since 2012, when they were led by Springfield legend and current WNBA player Mercedes Russell. This team, currently ranked No. 1 in the state, hopes to change that.
“We set high expectations of ourselves. I don’t think we feel any outside expectations. We expect ourselves to go there and give it our best effort,” Williamson said. “I don’t really focus a lot on winning with them. I just tell them that we need to play our best, be aggressive, work hard, and play as a team. Then I think the results just take care of themselves.”
So far, Williamson’s tactic seems to be working. Springfield has yet to drop a game to anyone in Class 5A. Every single loss has come to a Class 6A team or an out-of-state team. Even some of the wins have come with key injuries, but the Millers are getting healthy at the right time.
“Our depth is great, we have a lot of girls that can play multiple positions,” Williamson said. “Now that we’re healthy I have a lot of different things that I can do with our lineup.”
It’s a testament to the talent of the team, if the effort and togetherness is there the way it’s been all season, the wins come in bunches. Now comes the postseason though, and every game is an elimination game. Williamson believes in this team though, and it’s the talent level that allows him to have such a simple answer to the question of how the Millers will win the state title.
“Our players who have the ability, show it. If we show up and we play to our best abilities, I think we win the state championship,” he said.