Even through adversity, Eureka basketball players come out stronger months after tornado


It has been eight months since an EF-3 tornado tore through Eureka, ripping apart homes, businesses and the athletic facilities at the high school.

But, that hasn’t stopped the athletes from making history.

For the first time in more than 60 years, the Eureka boys basketball team is going to state. 

And for the girls, it’s the first time ever. 

“It’s just been a dream,” said Amanda Mouer, a guard for the girls team. 

“It’s pretty awesome,” said Quinton Phelan, a power forward with the boys team. 

It’s nothing but practice, practice, practice for the teams as they prepare for state.

“A lot of shooting, going over rebounding, and drills,” said Mouer.

This weeks tournament comes after a season of challenges, both on and off the hardwood.

“Our garage got hit and there was a bunch of tools and equipment that my dad used,” said Emilee Escareno, a guard for the Eureka girls team. “It was all blown away, totaled. We had a couple of cars totaled as well.”

The June 26 tornado didn’t just damage homes, it also wiped out the school’s activity center.

“We didn’t have like a gym to really practice in some days,” said Phelan. “So, we had to come here and kind of just make scheduling conflicts.”

Knowing what these players have gone through to get where they are today, girls head coach Shelly Hoyt says they are prepared for anything.

“They worked hard in the off season,” she said. “They’re serving others off the court. And, then we work really hard on the court. So, you have high expectations. This is not going to be any different.”

“Everybody’s had to be really supportive of each other,” said Tanner Wells, a shooting guard for the Eureka boys team. “Kind of coming together in the community to achieve all of this.”

The girls will be facing off against Royal Valley on Wednesday.

And, the boys will be playing Beloit on Thursday.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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