Recognizing the Wellington-Napoleon Lady Tigers State Basketball Championship

Floor Speech

Date: March 21, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CLEAVER. Madam Speaker, I rise today to commemorate Class 2 State Championship won by the Wellington-Napoleon Lady Tigers basketball team. Such an achievement is the result of strong leadership and years of dedication from players and coaches alike, and it is truly an honor to recognize this exemplary group of athletes from the Fifth District of Missouri.

After falling just 7 points short of a state championship 1 year ago, the motto for the entire team all year long has been ``unfinished business.'' This sense of drive and determination to not only return to the state championship game, but to cut down the nets this time around, was reflected in the team's dominant season, with 28 victories and a mere two losses. Winning their last 19 games in a row, the Lady Tigers earned a reputation a one of the most fiercely competitive teams throughout the State of Missouri. Led by Head Coach Andy Hampton, the Wellington-Napoleon girls basketball team faced off against the Ellington Whippets in a rematch of last year's title game on Saturday, March 12, at the JQH Arena in Springfield, Missouri. This year, however, the Lady Tigers prevailed.

Playing exceptional defense for the duration of the game, Wellington- Napoleon kept the Whippets from scoring a single field goal throughout the third quarter while only allowing three baskets in the entire second half. The Lady Tigers' seven blocks and nine steals were backed up by outstanding offensive performances from Ayden Shannon, Bree Shannon, and Kaylin Ellensohn, who scored 46 of their team's 52 points. Fulfilling their ultimate goal for the season, the Wellington-Napoleon girls basketball team won the Class 2 State Championship in decisive fashion, with a 52-31 victory over Ellington. With the state trophy making its way home to Wellington-Napoleon, it brings me great joy in saying that hard work and dedication has paid off once again. This victory marks the first state championship this program has won, but I have no doubt that more will follow.

The Lady Tigers' tremendous success this season is just one of many achievements to come for the players and the coaching staff. One of the remarkable aspects of competitive athletics is that it opens up a wide range of opportunities in other walks of life. Some of these young women will continue their basketball careers at colleges and universities; all of them will hold and cherish memories from their time at Wellington-Napoleon, where they learned what it meant to work as a team in pursuit of a common goal. Indeed, these life lessons will only prove more valuable as time goes on. I am proud of everyone who made this season possible--from the players and their parents, to the coaches and the loyal fans--and I look forward to seeing where life takes each of these promising student-athletes. I wish all of these young women the best of luck going forward, and once again I want to express how extraordinarily proud I am of this team and their achievements. On behalf of Missouri's Fifth Congressional District, congratulations on such a successful season.

Madam Speaker, please join with me in celebrating the Wellington- Napoleon Lady Tigers basketball team and the State Championship they have brought home. Here's to taking care of business.