There's a reason the playoffs, regardless of sport, are often referred to as, The Second Season.

It's a reference to the idea of starting anew. That everyone, every team, is once again playing on level ground no matter what happened previously or what anyone thinks could take place in the time to come.

The North Callaway varsity girls basketball team embraced that idea like a warm fire on a cold night. Even though this squad got off to a rough start, it found its bearings and righted many of its wrongs. Yet, when it came time to clean the slate and start over the Ladybird's, 11-14 overall, could've cared less about things like credit for all their hard work. They didn't need to be patted on the back for overcoming injuries or other adversities. All this group wanted was to keep playing as a group.

Sometimes the best of intentions and high-minded ideals make better memories than reality. Blair Oaks, 20-6 overall, North Callaway's first round opponent at Linn on Monday for Class 3, District 9, wanted the exact same thing, which was to keep its core crew together for as long as it could.

Bailey Rissmiller even drove this point home for the Lady Falcons by posting 12 points on a trio of triples. Daelyn Schmauch did counter that attack with eight points and three assists, but the Ladybird's still lost 56-26.

"Blair Oaks is an excellent team. We couldn't match up with its three six-footers and its guard are excellent shooters," said coach Morgan Beamer. "We'll miss our graduating seniors. Hopefully our younger players will continue working to improve."

Elsewhere in this district on Monday, Fatima, 18-7 overall, lost to Southern Boone 77-72 in overtime and next plays Blair Oaks today in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. The other side of the brackets featured California, 18-7 overall, defeating Linn, 7-18 overall, and South Callaway, 19-6 overall, beat Father Tolton, 11-14 overall, 54-45. The winners square off today at 6 p.m. and the district title game is slated for Saturday at 1 p.m.