Oskaloosa A victory in the first round of basketball sub-state had eluded Oskaloosa High for so many years, coach Rod Stottlemire honestly couldn't remember the last time it had happened.
He knows the answer now.
Led by a strong defensive effort and forward Megan Reed, the Bears secured a 46-30 victory over Mission Valley, advancing to Thursday's sub-state semifinals.
"One of our goals for the year was to get a first-round game at home and win it," Stottlemire said, "because we haven't done that here in a while."
Oskaloosa now has, thanks in large part to a stellar performance from Reed.
The junior opened the game with a pair of three-pointers in the first four minutes, giving the Bears an early 8-4 lead, then adjusted her game to the defense.
Facing constant double-teams inside, she found open teammates, finishing with 10 points and six assists.
"If she's rolling, we tend to roll," Stottlemire said. "Teams are going to focus on her wanting to stop her. If she's in a situation where she's drawing the defense and making a good pass, that just makes us a whole lot better."
Mission Valley hung tough throughout the first half before experiencing a back-breaking play. The Vikings turned the ball over with three seconds left in the half, and April Kruse made them pay with a leaning, 25-foot bank shot to beat the halftime buzzer that gave the Bears a 23-13 advantage.
Oskaloosa's lead remained at double figures the rest of the way, with the Bears opening the third quarter with a 9-2 run.
"We played as a team," Reed said, "and we haven't done that at all times this season."
Whitney McGinnis scored a team-high 12 for Oskaloosa, with Jessica Layden adding eight points and 10 rebounds.
Shannon Gosser led Mission Valley with 15 points.
Oskaloosa (10-11) will face top-seeded Osage City or McLouth on Thursday.
Reed said the Bears were prepared for the challenge.
"I'm ready to play (Osage City)," Reed said. "I like to play good teams and see how good we are. That's pretty much what I've been looking forward to. They're ranked big, and it would be a big upset, but we're ready for it."