Tyra Buss is the all-time basketball scoring leader among Illinois high school girls and Indiana University women, and No. 1 at IU in several other categories including assists and steals. But by Saturday afternoon she may not be the only person in her extended family who is No. 1.
Bob Buss, the brother of Tyra's dad and Mount Carmel's superintendent Tim Buss, has coached the Wisconsin Dells High School girls basketball team into that state's Division III Final Four in Green Bay's Resch Center.
"I knew we'd be good, what with girls who have been with me since their freshman year, girls who have lifted our program, but I didn't know we'd be this good," said Bob Buss, who like Tim and oldest brother Jeff played sports at Wisconsin Dells.
Having won regional and sectional titles in that order, a la the Illinois prep postseason system, Bob Buss' Lady Chiefs will take a 24-game win streak and a 25-1 record against Madison suburban Marshall at 1:35 p.m. Thursday. Should they win that semifinal, they'll play in Saturday's 1:35 p.m. state championship game against Milwaukee area Thomas Moore.
"Our girls have gone 30-0 in the South Central Conference the past three seasons including this one. Not only do our girls work hard at basketball, they genuinely love being together. When I asked them how they feel about going to state, a couple of them said it's great to get another week together.
"I'll turn 54 on Sept. 5, but our girls are such a great group that I'll keep coaching until I get run out of the job."
Bob was a basketball guard, baseball pitcher and football receiver as a 1982 grad, following 1980 grad Tim. Both continued their athletic careers at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Bob as a pitcher and Tim as a basketball player.
While Tim and wife Kelly Buss settled in Mount Carmel, where Tyra and her brothers Kyle and Tyler were born, Bob assisted with Wisconsin Dells boys but moved to Milwaukee, where he was an assistant with Rufus King High boys who won state championships in 1991, 1995 and 2003.
He returned to Wisconsin Dells to assist brother Jeff with the girls. When Jeff left coaching to go into sales, Bob served six years as boys assistant coach before becoming girls head coach the 2013-14 campaign.
"Two years ago our girls lost the regional final. Last year we won regional but lost the sectional opener," said Buss.
After a first-round bye in the regional, Dells won two games at regional and two games at sectional. The team won its sectional opener, 47-46, over Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau. Dells defeated Hayward, 46-29, to win sectional.
Wisconsin Dells is the No. 4 seed and will take on No. 1 seed Marshall at 1:35 p.m. Thursday afternoon. The second semi-final - scheduled for 3:15 p.m. the same day - is between No. 2 seed Amherst and No. 3 seed Saint Thomas More. The state championship is slated for 2:30 p.m.Saturday afternoon.
"This is the first time Wisconsin Dells basketball [team] has made it to the state tournament,” said Byss. “Just to make it there is something. My first time to state as a head coach. To win state would be fantastic."
Five-five senior point-guard Jenna Meyer leads the Lady Chiefs with 20 points per game, the number she scored in Saturday's sectional title win. Five-ten junior Katelyn Meister averages 19 as the shooting guard. "Jenna will play collegiately at Wisconsin Lutheran,” said Buss. “Katelyn is getting looks from Drake and Eastern Illinois. Jenna and Katelyn are really good players.”
Although Buss says his team has quality players, none are at his niece’s
"I don't talk a lot about Tyra, but our girls watch her on TV quite a bit,” Buss stated. “I saw her in person [at] Minnesota this season and at Wisconsin last year, and I went to Bloomington to see her Senior Day game a couple of weeks ago.
"Our girls not only know about Tyra, they know her because she talked to our team once when she came up here. You can tell that meeting Tyra meant a lot to our girls."
Bob Buss noted that the Lady Chiefs beat Marshall by 10 points last year. He adds the team is guard-oriented. Amherst and Thomas Moore have big girls who are physical.