"The last time we were in the state tournament, Shealyn was in the first grade, Mykenzie hadn't started yet and Makayla was in preschool," said McGirl. "It's a big deal for our community. I'm just like the head cheerleader, really. Sometimes I'm jumping around and the officials think I'm jumping at them. I'm not, I promise."
"Well, maybe sometimes."
It was a heartwarming sight. We get so used to the same teams winning year in and year out that it's refreshing to see a team like Nicholas County jump out of the water (Summersville Lake?) and take a bite.
Nicholas County, by the way, has a population of 23,233. It has a relatively new, nice arena and convention center that seats 2,000 for a basketball game. And, yes, it's been known to lay the state's worst speed trap.
On Thursday, though, the school's girls hoops team proved to be one of the Class AA's final four. It was time to celebrate.
Next? Well, Bridgeport, which will be heavily favored. But don't tell 5-11 Shafer, a senior.
"With our hearts," she said, "we have a chance. Before each game in the huddle we say the difference between possible and impossible is determination. We're determined."
It's something the hometown of 3,572 will be watching. It's something the town will be cheering.
"We had a pep rally after our regionals," Shafer said. "But we've also had small things, like Facebook posts, text messages, things like that coming in. Little things like that are what keep us going."
Like that neon grizzly bear to U.S. 19 motorists.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.