By RON MALY
When I was in school many years ago, my mother told me to always believe everything the principal said.
That's still my philosophy.
I listened to Tim Miller, the principal at Valley High School in West Des Moines, say this at a victory celebration late tonight in the school gym:
"There's nothing like winning a state championship!"
Tim Miller is a very wise man.
My mother died at 94 years of age 11 years ago, but I'm glad I still follow her advice.
I believe what the principal says.
An hour or so before Miller talked about the effect of winning a state championship, he and I [plus thousands of other people] were still at Wells Fargo Arena in downtown Des Moines, where Valley's girls' basketball team claimed the school's first class 5-A state title with a 71-59 victory over Cedar Falls.
I expected a closer game between two teams that came into it with identical 23-2 records, but Valley took charge in the second quarter and wound up running away with it with a superb last half.
What a march to glory it's been for Tigers coach Joe Sigrist, who took two previous teams to the state tournament.
One lost to Southeast Polk in the opening round, another was beaten by Waukee in the championship game.
Sigrist and his talented players went for the kill tonight, and they got it.
I asked Joe at the celebration when he thought this team was capable of winning the 5-A title.
"From Day One," he said. "We didn't lose a game after December and our team just kept getting better as the season progressed.
"I feel so good for my players and I'm thrilled that we won this championship for Valley, which has so much athletic tradition,"
The championship trophy was present for all to see in the Bill Coldiron Fieldhouse, where the victory celebration was held.
Sigrist happily posed near the trophy for photographs with sons Drake and Grady.
This was Valley's 12th time in the state tournament. There were no championships in any of the previous 11 trips.
"This is something we'll remember the rest of our lives," said Hannah Fuller, who scored 16 points and had seven rebounds in the title game and was named captain of the all-tournament team.
Fuller and twin sisters Jackie Feldt and Jamie Feldt were members of the Valley team that lost to Waukee in the state title game two years ago.
Valley sophomore Zoe Young, who collected 21 points against Cedar Falls, was also named to the all-tournament team.
I considered it an injustice that Alex Honnold, a freshman who seemingly has a brilliant future ahead of her at Valley, wasn't named to the all-tournament squad after scoring 41 points in three games and hauling down nine rebounds tonight.
Sigrist agreed with me.
Cedar Falls came into the title game after upsetting No. 1-ranked and previously-unbeaten Indianola in the semifinal round. The team entered the state tournament ranked No. 5.