The Bruins made history Saturday, March 16 by winning the first boys’ basketball state championship. Defeating Christian Brothers College (CBC) High School, the Bruins won the Class 5 Missouri State High School Activities Association state championship game (63-59).
Trailing the CBC Cadets by eight going into the fourth quarter, head coach Jim Scanlon described the game as nerve wracking, but from an audience perspective, a great game to watch and “a state championship game at its finest.”
“I mean I was elated when it was over, but just happy for these guys and everyone in our locker room. We have six seniors that have worked their tails off to be here,” Scanlon said. “Even if we hadn’t won it, we’ve had a great year that I couldn’t have been more proud of, and you can see kids and the team, and the guys that didn’t even play, come out there and join in on the happiness and celebrate.”
With five minutes and 42 seconds left in the game, the Bruin tied the Cadets (47-47), which Scanlon notes as a reason for the team’s added momentum, emotion and energy.
“And then [after we tied,] we held on down the stretch,” Scanlon said. “CBC is a heck of a team, and I’m glad I’m not in their locker room because I’ve been in that situation before and it is not much fun. But they are a good team and could have won it too.”
Senior Dajuan Harris is one of six seniors on the team. Tonight’s game, he said, is years of emotion coming out for this year’s senior class.
“We’ve been playing with each other since like sixth, seventh grade, so we’ve been working hard for this,” Harris said. “We just, super happy to do this, and we made history, too, so, we just happy.”
Last season, the Bruins fell in the semifinal game of the state tournament. Senior Noah Patrick said the experience of the previous year only made the team more hungry.
“You know, losing a hard fought game in the semifinals last year, we just wanted to come back,” Patrick said. “We won a big game last night and we just had to finish it off today, and I feel like we did that.”
Heading into the fourth quarter in hopes of gaining a new rhythm, Harris said it was all about trying to attack and bring the team back in the game. Scanlon, speaking about Harris, simply said he makes things happen for the team.
“I mean he’s the best point guard there is. I mean he just makes things happen that we cannot coach,” Scanlon said. “I mean, he is just a good player. He’s the best point guard there is. Nobody can stop him. We had to have him in the game to win. And the other guys feed off of him. He finds more open players than anybody I have seen. I mean he finds them in the corner, he finds them down low, he found the two dunks, I think, we had. Not many people are going to see that. He’s one in a million.”
Following the game, Scanlon was seen immediately going to his family. Having his entire family present, from his children to his brother, was great, Scanlon said.
“I don’t think anyone was missing,” Scanlon said. “I think we had the whole family here. Six beautiful little granddaughters and they have tears in their eyes. So you know, it makes you feel, and it’s your family. [The players] are one family and my kids are the other.”
Looking forward to next season and the possibility of repeating a state championship title, Scanlon said he is just trying to get through this year right now, describing the basketball season as a “grind.”
“It’s a grind on parents. It’s a grind on families. It’s a grind on [the players]. It’s a grind on me. We just want to enjoy this one,” Scanlon said. “I haven’t even thought about next year, I just wanted to finish this year in the right way with these guys and it doesn’t get much better than this. I’m just proud and happy for them. They’ll always remember this. This feeling will never go away.”
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