RED BUD — Their current players were either infants or not even born yet the last and only time the Red Bud Muskeeters won a regional championship.
"The first and only regional was in 1995,'' Red Bud coach Janielle Pfiefer said. "I was 9 years old the last time they won a regional.
"When I was took this job -- this is my third year -- I knew it wasn't going to change overnight. It was going to take a lot of hard work and them buying into my system and what I believe. I'm very grateful that they have responded very well to me.''
The Muskeeters (15-10) are the No. 1 seed in the Class 2A Trico Regional this week.
"We got a pretty good draw,'' Pfiefer said. "Usually, we're in there with Nashville. Luckily, they got sent south. I couldn't tell you the last time that Red Bud girls basketball has been the No. 1 seed in a regional.''
The Musketeers have managed to nearly match last year's 17-10 season despite losing five seniors to graduation.
"Starting the beginning of the year with this group, we only had two people who had some legit varsity minutes and we knew that it was going to take some adjusting,'' Pfiefer said.
One of those returners was junior Ali Ringering, who leads the Musketeers in scoring with an average of 19.4 points per game.
Ringering also has a team-leading 92 steals and 65 assists.
"Ali has so seen so many gimmick defenses, whether it is a triangle-and-two or a box-and-one or a matchup zone where somebody is always in her face,'' Pfiefer said. "She somehow finds a way to score, but most importantly she elevates her teammates and their game. She's a special player. She may be a once-in-a-lifetime player for me at Red Bud. She is the definition of when you work hard, good things will happen for you.''
The 5-foot-8 Ringering also has made 89 percent (129 of 145) of her free throws.
"She penetrates unbelievably,'' Pfiefer said. "She can shoot off the dribble, she has a great little pull-back (jumper). She does a really nice job of penetrating and drawing fouls.''
Pfiefer said Ringering is being recruited by some Division I and Division II schools. Pfiefer said Ringering should get some more exposure to college coaches playing for Team Addidas this summer.
The Musketeers also have Grace Richards, Emily Harms, Jenny Oakley and Jessica Otten, who all average around five points per game.
The 6-foot Richards leads the Musketeers in rebounding with an average of 6.2 boards per game.
"The last two weeks a different person has stepped up almost every night, and when that happens with Ali being as talented as she is, we become a very good ballclub,'' Pfiefer said.
The Musketeers entering the playoffs on a two-game losing streak after dropping a 42-28 decision to Class 3A Columbia on Thursday and a 43-39 decision to Class 3A Freeburg on Saturday.
Prior to the that, the Musketeers had won six straight games.
"You never want to lose, but it was kind of good to get that taste back in their mouths of that it is not fun to lose,'' Pfiefer said of the Columbia loss.
Also assigned to the Trico Regional are second-seeded Pinckneyville, third-seeded Trico, fourth-seeded Chester, fifth-seeded Sparta and sixth-seeded Dupo.
The Musketeers beat Trico and Sparta early in the season, but they haven't played Pinckneyville.
"We've scouted them three times,'' Pfiefer said of preparing for a potential matchup with the Panthers (15-13) in the title game of the regional. "I think we have a bit of a size advantage with them, but they're an up-tempo team and they're looking to push the ball. They have a couple of good outside shooters.
"I think it's going be a battle. We're going to have to take care of the basketball. They'll probably try to full-court trap us or press us.''
Contact reporter Steve Korte at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2522.