REO, Ind. (WEHT) – For South Spencer High School players and their coach, last year brought a disappointing and abrupt end to their season. The South Spencer rebels said they’re extra motivated going into Friday’s sectional semi-finals.

COVID turned the gym lights off last year on the regionals after the Rebels won the sectional. It wasn’t the only team to miss out. So did Reitz, Heritage Hills, and Northeast Dubois. Kentucky’s Sweet 16 also came to a halt.

South Spencer teammates learned their season was over in a group text from Coach Matt Britton.

“To send them that text, it was devastating,” he said.

“We don’t even know we coulda went to state. We don’t even know it was just a heartbreak to end the season right there,” said senior player Byron Burdin.

“We had hopes that we would get to play even though other schools had gotten cancelled,” said senior Charlie Howell.

Now, another shot for regionals could be getting closer. The former juniors last season are now trying to take the title as seniors.

“It’s just like a heartbreak for me and last year’s seniors, because they didn’t get to experience the full season cuz it got cut off by Covid,” said Burdin.

But those class of 2020 seniors showed up for games this season to support this team.

“It means a lot, three outstanding seniors so to have them in the stands rooting them on, said Britton.”

“They were very supportive of us because they still are a part of the team,” said Howell.

Britton says they’ll go into this weekend with confidence and an open mind.

“Our sectional is so good, anyone could beat anyone on any given night. So, you just got to be ready to play every game,” he said.

(This story was originally published on March 3, 2021)