Students at Tooele High School were all eyes and ears on March 2 when the THS boy’s basketball team was awarded with the 3A State Champion trophy. The excitement was brimming in the gymnasium during the assembly with standing ovations, yelling and cheering.
The basketball team was the underdog going into the Feb. 26 championship game held at the E-Center. The favored Wasatch Wasps believed they could waltz in a win for their third championship in a row. However, a three-pointer by Cody Castle with seconds remaining gave the Buffs the edge and the final score of 38-36. The support given to the boys throughout the entire season and especially the playoffs was incredible and during the assembly the players did not fail to mention how wonderful the fans support was.
“It was good to finally thank all our supporters,” said THS basketball center Alex DeSpain.
This game was perhaps the most exciting and important one Tooele High boy’s basketball had ever played in and the majority of THS students agree that it was amazing how far they really went.
“Good job for them,” said senior Elise Jordan. “They went into this season with no one really believing in them and they proved us wrong, and did better than any other THS basketball team ever!” This enthusiasm was contagious throughout the assembly Wednesday where students and faculty alike were excited to finally see the boy’s basketball team awarded with a state championship trophy.
“I think it’s really cool that they were able to win state since they haven’t in 91 years (since that is when the program was started). They were able to come from an underdog situation and come out and beat Wasatch, the favored team,” said senior Robin Costomiris.
Although the majority of the student body was glad to see the basketball team win, there were some who wish more support would go to other extra curricular activities, not just one sports team.
“It’s wonderful the team won,” said Abree Mattinson a senior, “but there are also other talented students in our school who need recognition for their talents even if they’re not in a sport, like those who worked hard for Sterling Scholar and students who entered artwork into the Springville All- State High School Art Show.”
Most are glad about the championship win but are disappointed in the lack of recognition to other programs that put forth the same amount of effort, yet, do not receive anything from the school in return.
Rowe Harrison, “the voice of Tooele High,” announced all the members of the team along with their numbers at the beginning of the assembly.
The assistant coaches and, of course, Head Coach Gary Alverson were also introduced before Harrison’s voice boomed over the speakers that the Tooele High School boy’s basketball team was the 3A State Champions.
Captains Josh Boucher and Mike Holt presented Alverson with a matted photograph of the team with their signatures penned on the mat.
The players were free to speak into the microphone, telling the anxious crowd about the season and the final game while thanking all those who came out to support them on their journey to the championship.
After the freshman and sophomore coaches spoke, JV coach Danny Medina told perhaps the most tear-jerking story of the assembly. He talked of how Alverson never missed a practice or game while battling lung cancer. The first time he had fluid drained from his lungs and chemotherapy treatment he still showed up to practice. Alverson had not missed a game since he was in junior high and would not miss a practice to break his streak of perfect attendance.
“I admire Coach Alverson for his strength and character,” said DeSpain.
The gymnasium was filled with pride as the school song was sung, proud of the basketball team who overcame so much to battle it out to be number one. Some may say the students of Tooele High do not support each other, but through the course of the up and down basketball season, exciting playoffs, and intense championship game, THS students did not give up on the boys basketball team that gave Tooele it’s first championship trophy.