The LEAP Student Blog

Keithen Shepard | Union HS: "Road to the Dome"
 4/19/2016

 
Author: Keithen Shephard
Grade: Junior
School: Union High School
Mascot: Titans
League: Greater St. Helens League
Classification: 4A

"Road to the Dome"

For professional players, it’s the NBA Finals. For college players, it’s the Final Four.  For Washington 4A basketball players, it’s the Dome.  The State Tournament is the epitome of basketball’s biggest stage for high school players and what better place to play it in than the Tacoma Dome. 

 
Every year, all the high schools statewide start out with the same chance of reaching this pinnacle.  The cream of the crop soon get sorted out however, as only 8 are able to play under the lights of the Dome.  This year, as well as last, I was fortunate enough to be on a team that made another consecutive trip to Tacoma to play for the trophy.  If any team could win the tournament, the Titans had as good a shot as any.

It started out with a tough gauntlet of non-league games consisting of tournaments in both Spokane and San Diego, California against some of the top teams from Washington, Oregon, California, and even Kentucky.  Then it was onto league, as we rolled to a 12-0 record and a two straight league and district titles.  The crowds were wild and we came to play each game, knocking down threes and slamming in a few dunks as well.  In our first playoff game we were clicking on all cylinders, jumping out to a large lead over a very good team in Bothell.  Never looking back, we knew it was only one more game until we got to the Dome.

And then came the play-in game.  Winner to Tacoma, loser sent home in the elimination game.  Union vs. Gonzaga Prep.  The atmosphere was unlike any high school game I have ever been a part of, as people came from all of Southwest Washington to see this highly anticipated matchup.  As usual, our fans filled the section and even overflowed a little into the parents’ section, everyone decked out in all red.  Titan Nation was ready to go. 

The game was intense, both teams battling and clawing, as we managed to maintain a 10 point lead over Prep entering the 4th quarter.  Then it took a turn for the worse, as the Bullpups went on a quick run led by the state player of the year to cut their deficit to 3 points.  The crowd stood on their feet as the game ticked down its final seconds…30 left…Prep advanced the ball into the half court and set up a play.  Before I knew what had happened they had nailed a three pointer from 23 feet, tying the game with 15 seconds left! 

 
Our goal for the season, everything we had worked for in the offseason, our seniors’ careers, all of it was on the line if we didn’t make a play.  Without taking a timeout Cameron Cranston dribbled up the court.  Waiting until 8 seconds to initiate the play, except it broke down, and all hope seemed lost.  Except it wasn’t.  Cameron flew back into the scene, receiving a perfect pass from Denis Kirichinko and launching a 3 pointer with 3 seconds left. 

Time seemed to freeze.  The whole gym sucked in its breathe as the final shot flew in its arc, carrying the fate of the game with it.  And then it was over, as the ball went in, and the entire student section dog piled our team.  Without a doubt this was the single greatest memory I will likely carry through my high school career, and it helped seal the Union Titans a trip to the state tournament.  Who will persevere in the face of any challenge? Titans will.


 



May 2016


Archives
Baden Sports
Milgard School of Business
New Balance
Snap Raise
Spalding
Local Ford Stores
Washington Army National Guard
Washington State Patrol
Sports Authority
RushTeamApparel
ATI Physical Therapy
Brooks
Northwest Sports Photography
WIAA  |  Washington Interscholastic Activities Association  |  © 2016
Home
 
About Us
    Activities Matter
    Mission & Strategic Plan
    WIAA 101
    WIAA Staff
    Contact
    Member School Directory
    Districts & Leagues
    Classifications 2014-16
    Classifications 2016-2020
    Executive Board
    Partners
Athletics & Activities
    Athletics
    Activities
    Statewide League Standings
    Season Beginning & Ending Dates (2014-2020)
Tournaments
    Brackets
    State Championships Official Ball
    Tournament Central
    State Tournament Schedules
    Ticket Prices
    State Tournament Rosters
    State Tournament History
    State Tournament Regulations
    State Tournament Allocations & Draw Criteria
Programs & Events
    Athlete of the Week
    Clock Hour Clinic Information
    Emerald City Kickoff Classic
    Gareth Giles
        Inductees
        Nominate
    Hall of Fame
        Tickets
    Just Play Fair!
    LEAP
    Online Rules Clinics
    Scholastic Awards Program
    Scholastic Cup
    Smart Choices Scholarship Program
    RTO Program
    Unified Sports
        Unified Recruitment Letter
        Unified State Championships
 
Publications
    Concussion Management Guidelines
    Forms
    Handbook
    Member School Directory
    Newsletter
    Order Materials
    WIAA-WOA Statewide Agreement
    Sudden Cardiac Arrest Guidelines
AD Center
    MyWIAA
    New AD Registration
    New AD Mentorship
    Fall Workshops
    MaxPreps
    Submit Rosters & Photos
    Job Openings
    Games Wanted
    Tournament Registration Instructions
Coaches
    Coaching Standards Program
    MyWIAA
    Coaches School
    MaxPreps
    Job Openings
    Games Wanted
Media
    Media Policies and Procedures
    Media Credential Registration
    Media Broadcast Rights Fees
    State Tournament Rosters
    Media Advisory Committee